Written by Dave Burns, WVFD
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 12:06
John Pokorny, fire chief of the Weston Volunteer Fire Department, and Curtis Gunn, fire department president, announced Lou Dempsey is their choice for the WVFD’s President’s Award for 2010.
Mr. Dempsey is this year’s recipient of the prestigious president’s award, based on his tireless efforts to put carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in every home in Weston this past winter, said Chief Pokorny and Mr. Gunn.
The WVFD carbon monoxide detector initiative, spearheaded by Mr. Dempsey, resulted in the distribution of more than 1,600 CO detectors to Weston households.
A committee was initially formed by Mr. Dempsey and other members of the WVFD in response to a carbon monoxide-related tragedy that hit very close to home. Mr. Dempsey’s wife, Maria, lost her sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew from CO poisoning on Thanksgiving night in 2008.
The initiative to distribute CO detectors to households in the community was designed as a pilot program, which other towns throughout the United States may adopt.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning can easily be avoided by monitoring for elevated levels with detectors. We wanted to help other families avoid the devastating loss our family has endured,” Mr. Dempsey said.
He added that the program could not have been possible without the generous support of all the civilian volunteers as well as the members of fire and EMS departments who assisted.
Volunteers helped identify Weston households that were in need of CO detectors and oversaw the distribution and (in many cases) the installation of the units.
Mr. Dempsey also enlisted Kidde (a leading manufacturer of CO detectors), which generously supported the program by allowing the WVFD to purchase the detectors at a big discount.
“This project was a huge undertaking,” said Mr. Gunn. “Many hundreds of Weston residents are significantly safer in their homes as a direct result of Lou’s efforts.”
Chief Pokorny would like town residents to know that the WVFD still has some detectors available. “Our goal is 100% participation and compliance. Please let us know if you are in need and we’ll drop a detector off at your home.”
In addition to Mr. Dempsey’s CO detector initiative, he is also an active certified firefighter, and serves on the department’s executive committee as its purchasing agent.
He has been a member of the WVFD since 2003, joining shortly after moving here from Greenwich with Maria and their sons, Jack and Luke.
“My participation in the Weston Fire Department has been very important to me,” Mr. Dempsey said. “Helping your neighbors in need with a great group of firefighters is about as rewarding as it gets!”
Mr. Dempsey holds an undergraduate degree from Providence College, and is working toward his master’s degree in environmental policy and management.
For more information on getting a CO detector, or advice on where and how to set it up, contact the Weston Volunteer Fire Department at 203-222-2644.