Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Family continues to sound the alarm about the dangers of carbon monoxide

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Buffalo: Family continues to sound the alarm about the dangers of carbon monoxide
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Safety is at the forefront, as Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies believe carbon monoxide poisoning claimed the life of a man and sickened his wife. YNN's Antoinette DelBel has more on carbon monoxide safety tips and one family who's pushing for a nationwide law to mandate detectors in every home.

WEST SENECA, N.Y. — Thursday marks the four-year anniversary of the death of Amanda Hansen. The 16-year-old passed away in 2009 after being exposed to carbon monoxide at her friend's house.

"It gets harder every day. It never gets easy. It's always a struggle. We're trying to keep the foundation going and working. It's pretty much what keeps me going right now," said Ken Hansen, Amanda's father.

About a year after his daughter passed away, Ken and his wife Kim started the Amanda Hansen Foundation. They provide carbon monoxide detectors to anyone who may not have one and educate them about the gas' dangers.

Right now, his garage is filled with hundreds of detectors, ready to be given away.

"We're coming up on a milestone of passing out 10,000 CO detectors. To us, that's just an amazing accomplishment."

In 2011, New York State made it a law to have at least one working CO detector in a home. Officials say it's important for the detector to be on the lower level of the residence, and to check all gas appliances.

"Have your furnace checked yearly. Make sure your hot-water tank is vented properly, the furnace is vented properly. That ensures the carbon monoxide isn't leaking into the house," said James LaMacchia, Buffalo Fire Health & Safety.

Chief LaMacchia says during the winter, there's usually a spike in 911 calls for CO detector alarms set off from gas-fired furnaces. And he says although the odorless gas is known as the "silent killer," there's some signs you can look for if you've been exposed.

"It starts out with flu-like symptoms, general lethargy, feeling ill."

Pretty much all carbon monoxide detectors are only made to last about five years, but Hansen says, now there's even some that you can get to last seven years.

"We want to make sure every home is safe and we don't ever want to see another kid pass away from this," Hansen said.

The Hansen's are taking their cause even further. A bill has just been drafted to introduce Amanda's Law on the federal level, which would require every home across the country to have a carbon monoxide detector.

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