SCHUMER INTRODUCES SENATE RESOLUTION THAT, IF PASSED, WOULD PROCLAIM FEBRUARY 2015 AS NATIONAL CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING AWARENESS MONTH IN MEMORY OF WNY CHILD, AMANDA HANSEN, WHO TRAGICALLY LOST HER LIFE TO CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month Would Shed Light On Importance of Preventing Deaths From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Amanda’s Birthday is February 27 & Winter Months Are Timely Reminder to Safeguard Against Oil & Gas Heaters That Produce Deadly Gas That Can Kill
Schumer Has Fought For National Legislation to Encourage Other States to Adopt Protections Like New York’s “Amanda’s Law,” Which Encourages Use of CO Detectors – In 2013, Schumer Introduced Bill That Would Allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to Provide Support for Public Safety Education and Installment of Safe and Reliable Carbon Monoxide Detectors Across the Country
Schumer: Raising Awareness To Prevent Further Tragedies Would Be Fitting Tribute to Amanda Hansen & Her Family
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he has introduced a resolution in the Senate that would proclaim February 2015 as National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month. Schumer said that this action would be in memory of Amanda J. Hansen, a Buffalo teenager born in the month of February, who tragically lost her life in 2009 to carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced whenever any fuel such as natural gas, propane, gasoline, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. Schumer said that many devices that are used in everyday activities, and particularly during the winter months, produce carbon monoxide, including cars, boats, gasoline engines, stoves and heating systems.
Amanda was a junior at West Seneca Senior High School and a member of the swim team, and the light of her parents' life. On January 17, 2009, Amanda Hansen tragically succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning after sleeping near a malfunctioning basement boiler during a sleepover party. Schumer is introducing this resolution to recognize the importance of educating the public about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the need to raise awareness in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning is an indiscriminant and stealthy killer, and we cannot remain silent about the danger it poses, especially when winter rolls in and oil and gas heaters are more heavily in use,” said Schumer. “That is why I am pushing for the Senate to pass a resolution that would name February 2015 Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month, in memory of Amanda Hansen, who tragically lost her life much too soon due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This will serve as timely reminder during the winter months that the carbon monoxide risk is real and we must do everything we can to prevent it. Amanda Hansen’s family and friends have worked hard to bring something positive out of this tragedy, and I am honored to now help them continue that effort at the federal level.”
"More people are either hospitalized or killed due to Carbon Monoxide poisoning during the months of December, January and February than any other months," said Ken Hansen, Amanda's father. "Declaring February as carbon monoxide awareness month nationally in memory of Amanda will help us toward our goal of never losing another life to this silent killer. We are so grateful to Senator Schumer for his ongoing efforts to protect children and families, and for his support of our cause."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 400 deaths and 20,000 emergency room visits as a result of CO poisoning each year and the highest percentage of CO exposures occurs during the winter months of December, January, and February. Especially dangerous in places like Upstate New York is the risk of poisoning associated with running an automobile engine in an attached garage or burning charcoal in the house.
Amanda Hansen passed away at the age of 16 from carbon monoxide poisoning while at a friend's house for a sleepover. In her memory, her family formed the Amanda Hansen Foundation which worked to pass “Amanda’s Law” in New York State, requiring that all homes have at least one CO detector. In order to bring something positive out of this tragedy, her parents, Ken and Kim Hansen, established the Amanda J. Hansen Foundation in honor of their daughter to raise money for a scholarship fund and to promote awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide, as well as the importance of using detectors in residences. Schumer has since been working with her family to implement national legislation that could support and expand upon New York’s Amanda’s Law. In addition New York State declared January 2013 as Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Month.
The Amanda Hansen Foundation, and by extension Mr. and Mrs. Hansen, work with organizations around the country in an effort to ensure CO detectors are affordable, accessible, and used properly in every home. The foundation even raises money for the purchase of detectors for families who otherwise might not be able to afford them. To date, 17,000 have been given away nationwide. Amanda’s family fought for passage of New York State’s “Amanda’s Law” in 2010, which mandated that CO detectors be installed in new and existing residences that have fuel burning appliances. The law also mandated that these CO detectors be replaced every 5 years. In addition, the Amanda Hansen Foundation works with local lawmakers and communities to educate the public on the dangers of CO poisoning, as New York State estimates approximately 200 people are hospitalized each year due to CO poisoning. Finally, the foundation has paid to replace furnaces around the Buffalo area with units that are safer and more energy efficient to diminish the risk of accidental CO poisoning for residents.
Schumer said that, as winter sets in, it is important to help families across New York State and the country prevent deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. His legislation would allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to provide support for public safety education and encourage installation of safe and reliable carbon monoxide detectors. The legislation would require the CPSC to establish a grant program to provide assistance to states and local governments to implement such changes. Schumer said this legislation is critical to ensuring families around the country will never have to go through the tragic loss of a loved one like Amanda Hansen’s family. Amanda also loved Spanish and was a member of her school’s Spanish honor society. Amanda wanted to teach Spanish and attend the University of North Carolina following her high school graduation.
The text of the Senate Resolution appears below:
Resolution Establishing February as National Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Month
Designating February 2015 as ‘‘National Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Month’’.
Whereas carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced whenever any fuel, such as natural gas, propane, gasoline, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal, is burned;
Whereas devices that produce carbon monoxide include cars, boats, gasoline engines, stoves, and heating systems, and carbon monoxide produced from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces;
Whereas carbon monoxide is often referred to as the ‘‘silent killer’’ because it is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non- irritating, and ignoring early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning may cause unconsciousness and continual exposure to danger;
Whereas according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, carbon mon- oxide poisoning kills more than 400 individuals and sends approximately 20,000 individuals to emergency rooms;
Whereas when people breathe in carbon monoxide, the poisonous gas enters the bloodstream and prevents adequate intake of oxygen, which can damage tissues and result in death;
Whereas given their common preexisting medical conditions, individuals older than age 65 are particularly vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning;
Whereas for most individuals who suffer from carbon mon- oxide poisoning, the early signs of exposure to low concentrations of carbon monoxide include mild headaches and breathlessness upon moderate exercise;
Whereas sustained or increased exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to flu-like symptoms, including severe head- aches, dizziness, tiredness, nausea, confusion, irritability, and impaired judgment, memory, and coordination;
Whereas breathing in low concentrations of carbon monoxide can cause long-term health damage, even after exposure to the gas ends;
Whereas most cases of carbon monoxide exposure occur during the winter months of December, January, and February when oil and gas heaters are more heavily in use;
Whereas on January 17, 2009, Amanda J. Hansen, a junior and member of the swim team at West Seneca West High School, in West Seneca, New York, passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping near a faulty basement boiler during a sleepover party;
Whereas Amanda J. Hansen loved Spanish, was a member of the Spanish Honor Society at West Seneca West High School, and wanted to eventually teach Spanish;
Whereas Amanda J. Hansen hoped to attend college at the University of North Carolina;
Whereas responding to tragedy, Ken and Kim Hansen established the Amanda Hansen Foundation to honor their daughter by raising money for a scholarship fund and spreading awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the importance of taking safety measures, such as using carbon monoxide detectors in residences;
Whereas the Amanda Hansen Foundation works with lawmakers and local communities to educate the public on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning;
Whereas the Amanda Hansen Foundation raises money for purchasing carbon monoxide detectors for individuals who cannot afford them and has given away 17,000 carbon monoxide detectors;
Whereas the Amanda Hansen Foundation and Ken and Kim Hansen through their work with the Foundation collaborate with other national organizations to ensure that carbon monoxide detectors are as ubiquitous as possible;
Whereas the Hansen family fought in 2010 for the passage of “Amanda’s Law,” a law that mandates the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in new and existing residences with fuel burning appliances and the replacement of such detectors every 5 years;
Whereas the Amanda Hansen foundation has paid to replace furnaces in the Buffalo, New York area with furnaces that are safer and more energy efficient; and
Whereas in memory of their daughter, the Hansen family has worked tirelessly to make New York and the rest of the United States a safer place: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate designates February 2015 as “National Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Month”.