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Erie County Legislator Patrick B. Burke (7th District) was joined by Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, Board President of the Amanda Hansen Foundation Ken Hansen, and representatives from participating Erie County agencies as he announced the Lighting Up Purple campaign, an initiative aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide. Regional landmarks including the Peace Bridge, Niagara Falls, the Electric Tower, and One Canalside will be bathed in purple light at sundown on Saturday, January 17th to bring colorful attention to the issue.

“Ken and Kim Hansen have fought tirelessly to raise awareness about the silent killer, carbon monoxide.  It is because of their hard work and dedication to the memory of their daughter that many hundreds of others have been saved through the use of carbon monoxide detectors,” said Legislator Patrick B. Burke.  “It has been my pleasure to work with the sponsors of the Lighting Up Purple campaign, to raise awareness about this danger in our homes.”

The Amanda Hansen Foundation, named for the late daughter of Ken and Kim Hansen who passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2009, is a non-profit organization focused on public education on the dangers of carbon monoxide along with identifying resources to provide carbon monoxide detectors to the public.  The Foundation also advocates for legislation mandating that all buildings, both public and private, be equipped with CO detectors.

“As we remember our smart, smiling, loving, funny, wonderful daughter many areas of Western New York are lit up today in purple – her color.  Thanks to Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke, the Falls, Peace Bridge, Canalside, Philips Lytel Building, the Electric Tower, the Rath Building, and other area landmarks will be lit up in purple in memory of Amanda,” said Ken Hansen, “We will never forget this evening.”

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that CO detectors should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound. Alarms should be tested at least once a month, and replaced if necessary. If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.

“I thank Legislator Burke for joining with the Hansen Foundation to spread the word on the dangers of carbon monoxide. No family should have to endure the loss of a loved one to carbon monoxide, and as we pause to ‘Light Up Purple’  I encourage residents to check their CO detectors to ensure that they and their families are protected throughout the year,” said County Executive Poloncarz.

Often called “the invisible killer”, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. In the home, heating equipment such as furnaces or cooking equipment can be a source of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.  CO enters the body through breathing, and a person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time. CO poisoning can be fatal but can also be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches.