Legislator Kennedy: Tragedy Is A Call For Action

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Kennedy introduced legislation to increase the use of carbon monoxide detectors following the tragic death of an employee at Legal Sea Foods of Huntington Station.

Huntington Station, NY - February 24, 2014 - “Shocked!” That was the only word Suffolk County Legislator John M. Kennedy, Jr., Chairman of the Republican Caucus, could utter, when first told of the tragic death of Legal Seafood Manager Steven Nelson. Having been overcome by a concentration of carbon monoxide built up as a result of a faulty hot water heater, Mr. Nelson succumbed to the deadly odorless gas. In addition, more than 20 other restaurant patrons and responders also suffered symptoms of nausea and dizziness. 
 
Realizing the ongoing element of risk that state fire codes have allowed to occur, Legislator Kennedy (12th L.D., Nesconset) has directed that two new resolutions be prepared, that will address the lack of carbon monoxide detectors in retail and commercial space throughout Suffolk County. 
 
Carbon monoxide poisoning is an issue that concerns all of the residents of Suffolk County. As witnessed this past Saturday, as a community we mourn the loss of Mr. Nelson, and he, his family and those also injured or affected by this tragedy will be in our thoughts and prayers. But we were lucky that this tragedy did not result in further loss of life and we must take action. 
 
Currently, commercial buildings are not required to have carbon monoxide detectors or alarms under state building codes, while the town of Huntington only requires detectors in hotels and nursing homes. We can address the issue of carbon monoxide, but it will require cooperative action by local public safety officials and the owners of commercial property. “Today, I have put forward two resolutions dealing with carbon monoxide, in an effort to prevent future tragedies from occurring,” said Legislator Kennedy. The first resolution shall direct the Suffolk County Commissioner of Public Works to immediately install and then make it mandatory for all Suffolk County Municipal and College buildings to have and maintain workingcarbon monoxide detectors. 
 
Further, the second resolution shall assemble a Task Force comprised of State, County, Town and Village Fire Safety personnel to discuss changes and make recommendations for a requirement to have all commercial and business establishments to install carbon monoxide detection equipment throughout Suffolk County, and throughout New York State. Bills will be laid on the table at the Suffolk County Legislative General Meeting on March 9, 2014 in Riverhead. “Our paramount function as a government is to safeguard the public and we must work together to protect the health and safety of county residents,” concluded Kennedy. 
 
For more information on what you can do to help safeguard your home or workplace please contact your local fire department, and if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, immediately leave your premises and dial 911. For more information please contact Legislator Kennedy’s Office at (631) 854-3735. 
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