As a special gift to the graduating class of 2013, the Weston Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD) is giving all 210 seniors a smoke/carbon monoxide detector to take with them to their college dorm rooms and apartments. The detectors will be packaged and mailed to the graduates next week.
The detectors are part of an ongoing initiative by the fire department to raise awareness of and prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and invisible gas that comes from the burning of natural gas, oil, charcoal, wood, and other materials. Breathing the gas can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which can result in serious injury or death.
The detectors going to the seniors can detect both smoke and carbon monoxide.
Awareness of the dangers of CO poisoning came to the forefront in Weston in 2008 when the Dempsey family of Weston experienced a personal tragedy. Members of their family, the Lofgrens, died from carbon monoxide poisoning while asleep at a vacation home in Colorado.
In 2009, Weston passed a town ordinance requiring the installation of CO detectors in every residence.
To assist with the ordinance, fire department and EMS volunteers distributed more than 1,000 CO detectors to Weston households.
Weston Fire Chief John Pokorny said providing detectors to graduates is an extension of the department’s efforts. “The detectors are an extra safety precaution for students going off to dorms or off-campus housing. Many buildings aren’t properly equipped with detectors,” he said.
The detectors are being funded by a donation in honor of the Lofgren family.
Volunteers from Weston High School are assisting with the project. “This is a wonderful initiative that has come out of this horrific tragedy,” said Principal Lisa Wolak.
Jack Seigenthaler and Jackson Marvin, co-presidents of the student government executive board, are arranging for student volunteers to prepare the detectors for mailing on July 22.