It's tasteless, odorless and colorless, and it can kill you.

That's why the Fire Department, along with Mayor Nutter and City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, yesterday announced enactment of the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Law, which forces all newly built residences and current multifamily dwellings to have carbon-monoxide detectors.

"This is an important bill," said Miller, the prime sponsor and in whose house, coincidentally, carbon monoxide, or CO, was recently detected.

"We have to educate the community. It's important to note that even if you're extra careful in your house, the CO detector is the most important object."

Fire-detection company Kidde has donated 1,000 CO alarms to the department, and philanthropist Kal Rudman has donated $5,000 to buy additional alarms.

Also, the city Health Department has kicked in 570 alarms, all to be distributed for free to the neediest families.

Home Depot, Lowe's and Shop n Bag are all participating in a discount program for shoppers who buy a detector from one of these outlets. The detectors range in cost from $20 for a simple, battery-operated unit to $51 for a hard-wired unit with battery back-up.

The cost is also $51 for units that are hard-wired into new homes.

"There have been 110 CO incidents this year," with one fatality, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said.

"With technology, the fire code and action plan . . . we're working toward a better quality of life for the citizens of Philadelphia." *