Weston resident Maria Dempsey lost her sister, Caroline Lofgren, to carbon monoxide poisoning in 2008. Lofgren and her family were vacationing in Aspen when their rooms filled with the deadly gas due to a faulty heating system. Had the home been equipped with a carbon monoxide (CO) detector, their lives could have been saved.
Dempsey and her husband, Lou, responded quickly to the tragedy. Lou, a volunteer firefighter in Weston, knew about fire prevention. The two set out on an ambitious mission to equip each and every home in Weston with a CO detector.
With help from the Weston Volunteer Fire Department and Weston Emergency Services, the couple distributed 1,600 CO detectors to Weston residents. The pair were recently recognized as Red Cross Heroes for 2011.
Their two-year effort was boosted in 2009 by a town ordinance which mandated that every home have a CO detector. Volunteers surveyed the town to determine who needed the device.
But it doesn't stop in Weston. Lou has said that this program is a pilot, and that he will work with localities throughout the country to provide the same level of service for their citizens.
The Connecticut Region of the American Red Cross will honor the Dempseys and other community leaders at a Heroes Breakfast on March 31 at the Trumbull Marriott.
Do you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home?