CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
– AN UPDATE
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas found in combustion
fumes, such as those emanating from heating systems, vehicle
exhausts, lanterns and gas and wood ranges. A build-up of
carbon monoxide can occur in an enclosed or semi-enclosed
space, often without warning. When the gas is inhaled and
replaces oxygen in the bloodstream, it can cause many symptoms
including headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, chest pain
and convulsions. High levels of ingestion can cause loss
of consciousness or death. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention report that carbon monoxide poisoning is
the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths, which
often occur because people are sleeping and are thus unaware
of the initial symptoms.
To protect the public, the State of New York passed legislation
last year amending the State’s Uniform Fire Prevention
and Building Code to require that carbon monoxide detectors
be installed in all houses, cooperatives and condominiums
as they are sold. Draft regulations for the implementation
of this law went into effect on December 31, 2002. Final
regulations are expected to be adopted in March.
Please note that this law does NOT currently apply in New
York City. Section 383 of the New York State Executive Law
specifically acknowledges that the city has its own building
code and is therefore not subject to the Uniform State Law,
provided that the city enacts its own laws which are equally
stringent or more so. Accordingly, Speaker Gifford Miller
has recently introduced in the City Council legislation
to address carbon monoxide detectors. CNYC will monitor
the progress of the city legislation and will advise members
of its passage and the requirements it will impose.
Meanwhile, carbon monoxide detectors are a sensible addition
to the protections in our homes. Detectors can be purchased
at most hardware stores for about $30. Your building may
want to investigate opportunities for bulk purchase and
encourage installation in every apartment. At this point
in time, however, New York City cooperatives and condominiums
have no need to monitor sales to ensure that apartments
have carbon monoxide detectors.
APARTMENT HOUSE SECURITY
Security has always been a concern of the boards and residents
of New York cooperatives and condominiums. We strive to
ensure that our buildings will be safe, that no stranger
can easily enter, that machinery functions properly, that
equipment to deal with emergencies is available and that
staff members understand its use. As required by law, we
developed Fire Safety Plans and circulated them annually
to all residents.
Subsequent to the tragic events of 9/11, we began to think
about evacuation procedures and about storing food and water
to prepare for an eventual need to "shelter in place".
We’ve made lists of residents with special needs.
We’ve armed ourselves and our children will flashlights.
We’ve encouraged building residents to rehearse family
evacuation plans and to select a contact person (far from
home) with whom to check in if an emergency separates family
In recent weeks, we’ve even been instructed in ways
to cope with the possibility of biological or chemical invasions.
It is difficult to process all of this (sometimes conflicting)
advice and to decide how best to ensure the security of
the buildings that are our homes. Fortunately, several sources
of help are available:
Do you find the task of managing your building to be overwhelming?
Are you concerned about missing important deadlines because
you are not even aware they exist? Do you worry that you
are not treating your building’s finances the way
you would treat any normal business? Are you looking for
a more efficient way to operate? These were some of the
motivations that brought participants at CNYC’s 22nd
annual Housing Conference last November to the workshop
on Self-Management. There, insightful leaders worked with
board members of small buildings to help them acquire the
tools needed to effectively carry out the important task
of running their buildings.
Participants were happy to learn and to share ‘war
stories’ with the group. All too soon, the seminar
came to an end. They clamored for more. In response, Mitch
Levine and Rebecca Poole have developed a three-course seminar
that they are introducing this spring, entitled "Self-Management
Three intensive seminars, at intervals of several weeks,
will cover the many facets of self-management responsibilities.
Homework assignments will help participants apply the classes
to their own buildings and to come up with questions to
ask at the next session.
A “DOT COOP”
WEBSITE FOR YOUR COOPERATIVE
The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) was
successful in 2000 in obtaining approval of an Internet
domain for cooperatives. The domain, .coop, was selected
by ICANN on November 16, 2000, as one of only seven new
domains to join .com, .org and .net on the Internet. DOT
COOP was launched on January 30, 2002. This new Internet
domain is available only to cooperative businesses; it gives
co-ops an opportunity to assert their uniqueness, and often
allows cooperatives to finally get the names they wanted
but couldn't buy under .com.
CNYC’s own website has been up an running since October
of 1995; at that time it had been easy to acquire the CNYC.com
site. However, we were quick to acquire CNYC.coop and to
emblazon it on our letterhead and business cards.
Many of CNYC’s member cooperatives have similarly
"branded" their home pages. Co-ops interested
in name reservation should contact firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call toll-free 1-866-288-3154. $160 purchases a dot coop
domain name for two years.
Last year’s budget cuts curtailed the NYC recycling
program. After more than a decade of training city residents
to recycle many materials, now the city no longer picks
up glass or plastic for recycling.
There have recently been reports in the press about reinstating
these recycling projects, but there is little likelihood
of this taking place before 2004. In the interim, many New
Yorkers are distressed at having to return glass and plastic
to the waste stream. Now there is a way to continue to recycle
WE CAN is a not-for-profit organization that operates a
container redemption center, where poor and homeless people
who collect cans and bottles can redeem them for cash. In
its 13-year history, WE CAN has diverted 70,000 tons of
solid waste away from the city’s landfills, while
also helping the poor to survive in the city.
WE CAN now invites buildings to donate their deposit bottles
and cans to support the homeless and the environment. For
a $5 weekly service fee, buildings of more than 30 units
can arrange with WE CAN for a weekly pickup of recyclables,
including all metals plus all redeemable plastic soda bottles.
If you also wish to put glass into the recycling bags, WE
CAN will accept the glass at an additional charge of $10
per week plus $5 per 100 apartments.
WE CAN provides a sticker for each building, indicating
that it recycles through WE CAN. This deters scavengers
from searching through black trash bags, since they know
that all redeemable bottles will be saved for WE CAN. This
limits slit black bags and litter strewn on the sidewalk.
Fewer recyclables mixed into trash also results in fewer
fines from the Department of Sanitation. And the recycling
bags do not need to be left on the street; they can be brought
out when WE CAN’s truck arrives to collect them.
To enlist in the WE CAN program or ask questions about
it, contact Rick Dreizen at 646-729-9521.
An innovative partnership between Sustainable South Bronx
and Per Scholas, the E-Waste Recovery Program will recover
Electronic Waste (desktop computer systems and non-wooden
console televisions) from the residential waste stream.
Late model computers will then be refurbished and resold
to low income families, and older computers, televisions
and VCRs will be processed to facilitate the recycling of
Since opening its doors last year, Sustainable South Bronx
has developed a reputation as an effective grassroots organization
with a strong track record for implementing development
projects that are both environmentally- and community-friendly.
Per Scholas has been reconditioning and recycling E-Waste
in ever-increasing volumes since 1999. Per Scholas’
target audience has most recently been large companies and
institutions. To date, Per Scholas has not tapped into the
residential waste stream of E-Waste, but the facility has
the capacity to process much more than currently collected.
In order to facilitate collection of large amounts of E-Waste,
SSB and Per Scholas will work with large apartment buildings
in the five boroughs of New York City, as well as coordinate
special events and pilot drop off projects. Educational
materials will be available at all collection events. The
joint effort has a goal of recovering up to 3,000 computer
systems, 3,000 TVs from residential buildings and 600 printers.
The combined weight of these materials is estimated to 150
tons of materials that will not have to go to landfills.
Buildings are needed to make this program succeed. An environmental
waste coordinator will work with you to design a program
that best suits your building’s needs. For more information,
or to set up a collection event, contact Sustainable South
Bronx at 718-617-4668.
A TOOL KIT FOR ADVOCACY
More and more often, occasions arise when we need to lobby
for improvements in our homes, our neighborhoods, or our
city. Effective organization is a key to success. For 25
years, the Joint Public Affairs Committee (JPAC) of JASA
has been organizing older adults throughout metropolitan
New York to become active advocates working effectively
for senior and community needs. In the spring of 1994, JPAC
established a unique 10-week leadership training program
called the Institute for Senior Action. The course sharpens
the skills of long-time activists, and serves as a vehicle
for recent retirees and others to become more involved in
civic affairs and social action.
The program was so successful that JPAC was asked to provide
a blueprint for its replication. The result is a succinct
118-page manual called the Tool Kit for Advocacy. It provides
a step-by-step guide for initiating a training program and
for enhancing advocacy skills, including material on How
to Run an Effective Meeting, Social Action, Public Speaking,
Persuasive Writing, Conflict Resolution, the Legislative
Process, and much more. It is suitable for advocates and
potential advocates of all ages. To order copies of the
Tool Kit and/or learn more about the programs of the Institute
for Senior Action, visit www.jpac.org
, contact Ronit Yaish at (212) 273-5261, or send e-mail