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Winter Weather Warning: Safeguarding Against the Invisible Killer (CO Poisoning)

Using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home and poison the people and animals inside. Learn to recognize the most common symptoms of CO poisoning, and keep you and your family safe from this "invisible killer"...

When power outages occur after severe weather (such as ice storms), using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home and poison the people and animals inside.

Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires. Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. If you don't have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector, buy one soon.
CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.

If you're considering using a gasoline-powered portable generator to temporarily power appliances and heaters to cook and stay warm, you need to know these five facts.

FACT #1:
The exhaust from portable generators contains poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) which can kill you and your family in minutes.

FACT #2:
NEVER use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Run the generator OUTSIDE ONLY, at least 20 feet from the house and away from your home’s windows and vents to keep those harmful fumes away.

FACT #3:
Carbon monoxide is an “invisible killer.” You cannot see or smell it. It can quickly incapacitate and kill you.

FACT #4:
Have working CO alarms in your home. There should be a CO alarm outside each sleeping area and on each level of your home.

FACT #5:
If a CO alarm goes off, DO NOT ignore it. Get everyone out of the house and then call 911 and let firefighters handle it.

How to Recognize CO Poisoning
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms.

CO Poisoning Prevention Tips
  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
  • Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
  • Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
  • If conditions are too hot or too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.
  • If CO poisoning is suspected, consult a health care professional right away.

Stay Safe This Valentine's Day!

Candles on Valentine's Day can be as romantic as they are dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), candles are responsible for more than 15,000 fires in the United States each year. Check out our important Valentine's Day FIre Safety tips...

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), candles are responsible for more than 15,000 fires in the United States each year, and cause more than 1,200 injuries, 136 civilian deaths, and $450 million in property damage. Research shows that the bulk of candle fire incidents are due to consumer inattention to basic fire safety or to the misuse of candles.

This Valentine's Day, please remember:

  • Don't leave candles burning when you are not there or going to sleep.
  • Keep burning candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can catch fire. For added insurance, place your candles on a dinner plate. If real candles are a hazard, use the battery-powered flameless ones instead!
  • Don't leave candles burning in a room unattended. Extinguish them before leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Never use a candle as a night light.
  • Use sturdy candle holders that will not tip or burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Keep all open flames - including candles - away from flammable liquids (according to the NFPA, more than half of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left, or came too close to a candle).
  • Place burning candles at least three inches apart to ensures they won't melt each other, or create drafts that can cause the candles to flare.

Main-Transit Fire Department elects officers for 2015

Main-Transit Fire Department elects officers for 2015

Firematic officers are:
Chief, William Riley; first assistant chief, Daniel Hooper; second assistant chief, Brad Sprague; senior captain, Marc Gravelle; captains, Andrew Mazurek, Adam Karl, Nicholas Cino and Andrew Fischer.

To be appointed Janurary 2015

Administrative officers include:
President, Brian Rusin; vice president, Scott Saxer; Secretary, Andrew Zippirolli; treasurer, Carol Jackson, and sergeant-at-arms, John Roach.

Directors are:
James Lawida, DJ Graff and Michael Karl.

Main-Transit Fire Department maintains Station One at 6777 Main St., Station Two at 5560 Sheridan Drive and more than 12 pieces of fire apparatus. The department is responsible for 5.2 square miles in the Town of Amherst, a protection area consisting of 16,000 residents and  $2.1 billion in property value.




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