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March 13, 2016 - 6:27pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, Easter, news.


Even the Easter Bunny needs helpers.

About two dozen of them gathered at the Le Roy Moose Family Center on Saturday morning, to prepare for the upcoming community Easter Egg Hunt.

The free event draws hundreds of children every year. But before the hunting, comes the stuffing.

And so about 6,600 multicolored plastic eggs were filled with candy on Saturday.

The roster of helpers once again included Marlene McMahon — who has participated every Easter season for 20 years — as well as representatives of the Moose, Le Roy Business Council, Knights of Columbus, American Legion and Rotary Club of Le Roy; and students from Le Roy and Notre Dame high schools.

Oatka Fish and Game Club and Northwoods Sportsman Club helped pay for candy. Nearly 20,000 pieces were placed in the eggs.

The Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for 1 p.m. March 26 and will include an appearance by the Easter Bunny, hot dogs, prizes and more. The event is for children 12 and under, who are divided by age group.

There is no charge. Everything — from eggs and candy, to food and labor — is provided by volunteers.

“They make it happen,” said Bob Bennett, president of the Business Council, which coordinates the event.


Marlene McMahon has helped prepare for Le Roy's Easter Egg Hunt ever year for 20 years.


March 13, 2016 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Town of Batavia Fire, fire services, batavia, news.


Patrick Spear received the Firefighter of the Year award from Deputy Chief Dan Coffey on Saturday night during the Town of Batavia Fire Department's annual banquet at the Clarion Hotel.

The department responded to 317 calls in 2015. An average of 10.8 volunteers responded to each call and total man hours spent on calls exceeded 25,000. The volunteers also attended 76 training sessions.

"I think those are some pretty impressive numbers when you think about how we all have jobs, we all have families, we all have other obligations to attend to," Coffey said. "I truly want to give you guys a round of applause. We wouldn't be successful without that dedication."


Gary Diegelman​ was recognized for his 40 years of service to the department.


William Zipfel was recognized for his 45 years of service to the department.


March 13, 2016 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, news, Pavilion.


Doug Yeomans took this picture. It's of the metal dragon sculpture on Transit Road in Bethany, Pavilion sunrise, yesterday morning.

CORRECTION: A reader, admittedly being nitpicky, wrote to say this dragon actually sits on the Pavilion side of Transit Road, not the Bethany side.


March 12, 2016 - 8:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, east pembroke, news.


A person is reportedly lost in the woods and may be suffering from hypothermia in the area of 3094 W. Main Street Road (Route 5), Town of Batavia. East Pembroke Fire Department (it's in their fire district) is on scene, along with Sheriff's deputies, and Alexander fire's Gator is called to respond along with Mercy medics. The person is on the south side of a creek. Mercy Flight is on standby.

UPDATE 938 p.m.: Two men were in a raft on the creek when one fell in the water and became submerged. The other man tried to help him out of the water using an oar/paddle, but this proved difficult and he called for help. The guy who fell in the water was transported to the hospital for evaluation. The other was a sign off.


March 12, 2016 - 8:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, crime, news.

Le Roy Police officers have detained two white males estimated to be about 18 years old in connection with a criminal mischief complaint about a half hour ago. A caller reported that two teenaged boys on BMX-style bikes rode by a business on Myrtle Main Street and threw rocks, which broke a window. The suspects were apprehended on Main Street within minutes and are said to be well known to local law enforcement. Authorities have contacted a representative of Municipal Solutions, a management consulting service in the Village, to make the person aware of damages. One of the youths is wanted by Attica PD, which has been contacted and a meeting is being arranged for them to pick up that person.

UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION: The two teens were juveniles and will not be charged criminally.  The incident occurred on Main Street, not Myrtle. There was no warrant and there was no meet up with Attica PD.

March 12, 2016 - 1:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in UMMC, flu, batavia, news.

Press release:

With the continued increase in the number of influenza cases at United Memorial Medical Center and in the community, the Hospital will be strictly following established visitor guidelines and implementing restrictions in order to safeguard the health of our patients.

Effective March 10, patients at United Memorial will be allowed only two (2) visitors at one time. No visitors under the age of 14 years will be allowed. Individuals with a sore throat, runny nose, fever, or other influenza type symptoms should not visit patients.

As an organization we understand the importance of loved ones and friends in the healing process. Exceptions to the visitor policy must be approved by the unit manager or nursing supervisor prior to the visitor’s arrival at the hospital. These restrictions have been put into place to protect those with weakened or fragile immune systems and those who care for them, from harm during the influenza outbreak.

Everyone should remember to use appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to prevent the spread of influenza. Symptoms may include fever, muscle aches, sore throat, cough or nasal congestion. Individuals with fever over 100.5˚F and any of the symptoms listed are urged to stay home, seek medical advice as necessary and limit the number of people exposed. Individuals with influenza are contagious for 24 hours prior to exhibiting symptoms.

The hospital is located at 127 North St. in the City of Batavia.

March 12, 2016 - 1:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, tech wars, news.

Press release:

When the Tech Wars come to Genesee Community College next week, more than 600 students from 18 regional middle and high schools will literally "commandeer" the campus. From the Regatta held in the swimming pool to the SUMO Bots, Catapults and Bridge Designs in the Forum; the Robotic Tractor Pull in the gym; the Rube Goldberg competition in the Cafeteria; and the Sculpture event in the Student Union-GCC loves hosting the Tech Wars!

The event so dominates the College's Batavia Campus that it must be scheduled during GCC's academic Spring Break to allow Tech Wars ample space for the all the hands-on learning competitions that are both fun and fascinating.

The exciting Tech Wars is happening Thursday, March 17, and is hosted by the College's ACE (Accelerated College Enrollment) Program for students in the GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties) region. This will be the ninth year that the event brings area middle and high school students to GCC's Batavia campus where teams of students work collaboratively to demonstrate their technical expertise through innovative, mind-expanding competitions.

The students arrive on GCC's Batavia Campus at 8:30 a.m., with the competitions scheduled to run from 9:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m., followed by the awards ceremony luncheon from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

Students participate in a variety of challenges, generally in groups of two or more. Some of the competitions involve bringing projects they've been working on to campus. New this year is VEX Robotics Company providing a demonstration in tandem VRC Tournament (www.RobotEvents.com), a global competition involving students from colleges and universities around the world, which future students may want to participate in.

"Each year, organizers try to introduce new technology and new problem solving challenges, and this year is no different," Debbie Dunlevy, GCC Career Pathways director, said. "We are definitely covering some new ground by giving students the broadest perspective for their interests and efforts. Tech Wars help students understand what it takes to collaborate successfully and also sheds light on the types of careers paths they might pursue in the not too distant future."

With 30 different events, students will be challenged in an array of technologies. The 2016 Middle School events include: Bridge Design, Catapult Design, CO2 Car and Truck Race, the walk-in Design Challenge, Tech Wars Logo Design, Mousetrap Car, Mystery Project, Rube Goldberg and Sculpture Event designing an amusement ride. The 2016 High School events Bridge Design, Architectural Design in CAD, CO2 Car and Truck Challenge, DDP Manual Drafting, King of the Hill, Logo, Mystery Project, On Site CAD Project, Regatta, Reverse Engineered CAD Drawing, Robotic Tractor Pull, Sculpture Event, SUMO Bots and Trebuchet, which must launch a projectile at a given target 40 feet away.

For the rules and details on all these competitions, go to http://www.techwarsgcc.org/.

The event would not be possible without significant sponsorships. At the $500 (or more) level are Amada Machine Tools America, Inc., Graham Corporation, Liberty Pumps and Northeast Technologies, Inc. Other sponsors include DWB Enterprises, Inc., Lee Schuknecht & Sons, and the Varysburg Lions Club.

"The support of these businesses is essential to creating a successful event for all participants," Dunlevy said. "We thank them for their investment, and for supporting what could be their future employees."

The ACE Program's Career Pathways helps students explore career options and make a smooth transition from high school to college and ultimately to professional careers. Tech Wars is among several dynamic programs giving students the opportunity to learn hands-on, often in business settings and with industry professionals.

For more information, please contact Debbie Dunlevy, Genesee Community College Career Pathways program director at 585-343-0055, ext. 6316 or [email protected].

March 12, 2016 - 1:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Urgent Care, GCC, batavia, news, business.

Press release:

Distance barriers and transportation issues are no longer obstacles for Genesee Community College students at the Batavia Campus Center seeking access to medical services. With its partnership through Genesee Urgent Care, the College’s Health Services is pleased to now offer telemedicine, technology that provides clinical health care at a distance.

Through the use of video exchange, telemedicine provides patients with access to a licensed medical professional in real time, regardless of where they are located. Developments in telemedicine technology have opened the doors of possibilities, adding tools such as a stethoscope and ophthalmoscope that integrate simply through a USB port. These tools allow patients to be seen for low level and primary care, as well as interface capabilities with specialists. Telemedicine can share X-ray images with orthopedics and electrocardiograms with cardiologists. These advancements not only improve access, but also reduce costs and improve quality.

“While access to the Telemedicine Network is currently only available to students at the Batavia campus, the intent is to grow this to GCC’s other campus centers as well,” said Genesee Urgent Care President Melissa Marsocci.

Students interested in being covered under the telemedicine technology through Genesee Urgent Care will need to purchase one of two available plans. A basic plan, costing $60 per semester, covers a student with unlimited telemedicine access to a licensed medical provider for illnesses including cold and cough, flu, sinus infection, sore throat, urinary tract infection, rash and poison ivy, pink eye, sexually transmitted diseases, mono and bee stings. The plan also includes diagnostic tests through lab work. Lab tests that are covered include pregnancy, mono spot, rapid strep, RSV and influenza. Any additional lab testing would have to be sent out, and the student would be billed for the cost.

An additional plan is available starting at $300 and includes the same coverage as the basic plan, in addition to injuries such as fractures, dislocations, minor eye problems, sprains and strains, cuts and lacerations and burns. The plan also includes additional diagnostic tests, providing lab work, X-ray and EKG.   

Covered students in need of medical services that utilize the telemedicine technology will need to check in with Health Services at the Batavia Campus in room B109. The technology, a Polycom device known as an HDX4500, is used to “call” the urgent care center where the patient and attending nurse can see and hear the urgent care staff. In instances where prescriptions are necessary, providers from the urgent care center can e-script the medication to the student’s pharmacy of choice. Some pharmacies include the option of delivery service, providing students a full medical experience without ever having to leave campus.

For additional information on Genesee Urgent Care, telemedicine and coverage plans available to GCC students, visit http://www.geneseeurgent.com/gcc-plans.html.

March 12, 2016 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 4-H, Tractor Safety, batavia, news.


Students participating in the 4-H Club's annual tractor safety course were tested today on their hands-on knowledge at Empire Tractor.

Above, Christian Gerold steers through an obstacle course, and below, Tim Zipfel attached a combine to the back of a tractor while instructor Tim Adams scores his effort. Zipfel passed.



March 12, 2016 - 1:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, bergen, Le Roy, news.

Steven Paul Diveronica, 47, of Richmond Avenue, Batavia, is charged with aggravated DWI and DWI. On Friday at 10:44 p.m. Diveronica was arrested following an investigation into a vehicle pulled over on the side of Richmond Avenue. It is alleged that Diveronica was the driver and that he appeared intoxicated on alcohol. After submitting to standard field sobriety tests, he was arrested. A chemical test subsequently resulted, allegedly, in a BAC of .21 percent. He was released with appearance tickets to return later in City of Batavia Court. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Honour Haley Myers, 27, of York Road, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Myers was arrested on Clinton Street Road in Bergen at 8:26 p.m. on Friday following a domestic incident. She allegedly possessed marijuana in the trunk of her car. She was issued an appearance ticket to be in Town of Bergen Court on April 6. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute, assisted by Deputy Chad Cummings.

March 12, 2016 - 1:14pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, St Joseph, Penny Carnival, news.


St. Joe’s Catholic School in Batavia is holding its annual Penny Carnival today until 4 p.m. There is family fun for all with bounce houses, a cake walk, Chinese auction and games for the kids. There is also food and St. Joe’s famous waffles. 







March 11, 2016 - 7:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, news, sports.


Press release:

On March 4, the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong Hospital received a check for $1,277 to help combat head and neck cancer. The money was raised by the Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School’s girls’ soccer team. The team, led by Coach Wayne Hill, hosted a fundraising event in October. This is the second year the team has focused their efforts on head and neck cancer. Teammate Karson Richenberg’s mother, Toni, has throat cancer.

Many local businesses supported the school’s fundraiser, including Sloat Tire Shop in Batavia, Fullerino’s Pizzeria, and NAPA Auto Parts in Bergen. They donated products and services to fill baskets that were raffled during halftime at one of the team’s games.

“We are very grateful to the many individuals and businesses in the community who donated,” said Jr./Sr. High School Interim Principal Patrick McGee. “We are so proud that our students are learning that they have the power to drive change in the world and give back to their community.”

The Byron-Bergen girls’ soccer team is no stranger to fundraising to beat cancer. Earlier years’ efforts supported breast cancer awareness. The girls' soccer team plans to expand their endeavors next year by encouraging additional athletic teams to participate.

Photo: Representatives from the Byron-Bergen girls’ soccer team presented a check for $1,277 to the doctors and medical team at Strong Hospital’s Wilmot Cancer Center. Center, holding check, is junior Karson Richenberg. Then (l-r) Toni Richenberg, junior Olivia Audsley, senior Alex Rosse, Interim Principal Patrick McGee and (far right) Coach Wayne Hill.

March 11, 2016 - 7:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STOP-DWI, news.

Press release:

Genesee County STOP DWI coordinator Matthew Landers announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy Police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on March 17th and will end on March 20th. St. Patrick’s Day Weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving due to the number of drivers on the road. New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force in this across the board effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths.

Undersheriff William Sheron reminds us: “Don’t count on the luck of the Irish, arrange for a designated driver.”

The STOP-DWI St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association and funded by local STOP-DWI programs as well as the STOP-DWI Foundation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. This partnership has allowed local programs to significantly increase their enforcement and public awareness efforts. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

March 11, 2016 - 1:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, batavia, news, Women of Distinction.
Press release:
YWCA of Genesee County is still accepting nominations for 2016 Women of Distinction awards.

Recipients will be honored during the nonprofit's annual Women of Distinction Awards Celebration June 18 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road.

These awards are one way to publicly acknowledge the good works of others that have ultimately contributed to the well being of the Genesee County population, Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

The selection committee is looking for nominations of women, companies and organizations that have gone above and beyond in the following categories:
  • Racial Justice: Supporting diversity through one's initiatives, philosophies and/or programs. This may include service in a leadership role, with commitment to racial justice and a high standard of courage, integrity and commitment to YWCA's mission to empower women and eliminate racism.
  • Economic Empowerment: Helping women to face the challenge of economic inequality or hardship. This is done with programs or initiatives that create opportunities for women to lift themselves from their current circumstances and gain more options to improve their lives.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Making a continuous effort to recruit, develop and promote a diverse work force and foster an inclusive  environment where women leaders thrive.
  • Military/Veteran: A veteran or related agency that has worked on behalf of veterans and continues to serve through civic, personal and/or professional improvements.
  • Advocacy/Civic Engagement: Working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. Promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.
  • Peace: Striving to make the world a better place by emphasizing the importance of kindness, compassion and peace.
Nominations may be e-mailed to: [email protected] or sent to YWCA of Genesee County, 301 North St., Batavia, NY, 14020. Please include your name and contact information, the award category, name of nominee, some background and your reasons for nominating this person, organization or business.
For more information, call (585) 343-5808.
March 11, 2016 - 9:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Duty E. Caswell, 24, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with dog at large. Caswell's canine was allegedly involved in a series of biting incidents at 3:01 p.m., Monday. The dog reportedly broke loose from its chain and attacked an individual in front of its residence on Hutchins Place. The dog then ran down the street and attacked another person near State Street. Both people suffered injuries. Police believe the dog also bit a neighbor's dog. The dog was seized by police and taken to the Animal Shelter. The same dog was allegedly involved in a biting incident in late January. (Previous report)

Bonnie L. Cortright, 28, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Cortright is accused of stealing 28 handcrafted items from the artisan shop at the YWCA.

Nicholas F. DiFillippo II, 50, of Kingsbury Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test and speeding. DiFillippo was stopped at 12:36 a.m., March 4, on West Main Street by Officer Eric Foels.

Bailey Loren Gavenda, 19, of Shepard Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Gavenda is accused of stealing $77.46 in clothing from Kohl's Department Store.

March 11, 2016 - 7:14am
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, le roy central schools, news.

Le Roy Junior-Senior High will be closed today, “due to ongoing issues in the boiler room,” Superintendent Kim Cox said in an automated message to parents.

The school was evacuated and closed Thursday morning after a possible natural gas leak was reported.

The message from Cox was sent to parents at 6:24 a.m. today.

Programs at BOCES are not affected by the closing in Le Roy. Students who attend BOCES in the morning, will be picked up on the morning school bus run as usual, Cox said.

Students who attend afternoon classes at BOCES are asked to report to the Junior-Senior High School bus loop by 11:20 a.m. Students who need a ride to school are advised to contact the Transportation Department 768-8640 by 9 a.m. today, and one will be arranged, Cox said.

High School Principal Tim McArdle will send a follow-up message later today, to let students and staff know how they can pick up any materials at the school they need for the weekend, Cox said.

Wolcott Street School, which houses students in prekindergarten through sixth grade, was closed Tuesday morning after a venting problem caused an odor in the building. Classes resumed Thursday and will continue as scheduled today, Cox said.

March 10, 2016 - 9:27pm
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, Le Roy Zoning Board, news.

The Le Roy Town Board on Thursday voted to create a three-member town Zoning Board of Appeals.

In effect, the action abolishes the joint town/village ZBA. Members of the new town ZBA will serve three-year terms.

The measure was approved, 4-1, after a 15-minute public hearing in the town courtroom. John Duyssen, who was elected to the board in November, cast the dissenting vote.

Seven people spoke during the hearing. Most opposed breaking up the existing joint ZBA.

The law — officially, Local Law No. 1 of 2016 — will become effective upon its filing with the state Secretary of State. That is required within 20 days.

The Town Board voted this past November to withdraw from the 2004 intermunicipal agreement that established the town/village ZBA. A public hearing had been planned for December.

Those actions came before the joint ZBA could comply with a court order for it to rule on the legal status of Frost Ridge Campground. Interim Supreme Court Judge Robert Noonan subsequently ordered the town to cancel its public hearing, and for the ZBA to conduct a hearing on Frost Ridge by Dec. 18, 2015.

The current ZBA ruled in favor of Frost Ridge on Feb. 17.

Following its approval to create a town ZBA, the board voted unanimously on several related matters:

— The board agreed to the appointment of John Rider as town ZBA chairman, with a three-year term to expire Dec. 31, 2018; and Robert Uberty to serve as member for a four-term term to expire Dec. 31, 2019. (The seat held by Uberty would subsequently be for a three-year term.) Matthew Gilligan was appointed to serve as alternate, and Debbi Jackett — who chairs the current joint ZBA — would continue as a member of the town ZBA.

— The town ZBA would be prohibited from spending any funds beyond its allocated budget, without the prior approval of the Town Board.

— The town ZBA would be required to use the services of the town attorney and town engineer. The town attorney may waive that requirement if in the “best interest” of the town.

March 10, 2016 - 4:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, politics, news.

Press release:

Albany’s apathy toward Western New York’s needs has gone on far too long. Entrenched career politicians continue to expand social spending and feed New York City’s bottomless hole of infrastructure and Medicaid desires at the expense of hard-working, middle-class families in our community. Year after year, frustration mounts as billions of dollars are funneled Downstate in exchange for political allegiance and Upstate roads and bridges continue to crumble.

Although we have made progress for farmers and successfully courted valuable new businesses, my main focuses this year are restoring parity to infrastructure funding, restoring the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) funds taken from our schools in 2010, and aiding our struggling small businesses.

Infrastructure funding is a matter of life and death. With some predicting that the upstate-downstate infrastructure funding gap will increase to $4 billion this year, a recent Rochester area story exacerbated the issue by demonstrating the desperate state of our community’s roads and bridges. Furthermore, the Lake Ontario Parkway and multitude of canal bridges in my district are in dire condition and cause significant automobile damage and safety concerns. In addition, limited access to this road prevent tourists from accessing Oak Orchard Creek, named the best fishing spot in the United Sttes for Monster NY Brown Trout in 2013. Join me in this fight and tell Gov. Cuomo and Albany’s elite that we are part of New York, too, and deserve our fair share.

An investment in our children is an investment in us all. Unfortunately, New York City politicians do not agree. They slashed billions from the state education budget in 2010 and have since ignored pleas from the education community to return what is rightfully theirs. I have led the charge to restore the GEA and this year is no different. I sponsor multiple bills to end these unfair cuts that limit our students’ opportunities and threaten inspiring teachers and after-school programs. This has to be the year we fully fund our schools.

As a small-business owner for over four decades, I know firsthand what it takes to create jobs and grow New York’s economy. Raising the minimum wage is not the answer. A $15 minimum wage will undoubtedly cause businesses to leave the state and, according to the Empire Center, would ultimately cost the state 200,000 jobs. What we need are large-scale tax and regulatory cuts for businesses instead of pay-to-play scenarios and “buying votes” with these bizarre gimmicks. Cutting business taxes will create jobs and provide greater incentives for business owners to stay in New York and keep profits local. I will fight for the mom-and-pop business owners in this year’s budget because they are the lifeblood of our economy.

March 10, 2016 - 3:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, fire safety, time change.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department is joining nearly 6,000 fire departments nationwide in promoting the annual "Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries" campaign on Sunday, March 13.

Fire Prevention Officer Lt. Jeff Whitcombe encourages all residents to adopt the simple, life-saving habit of changing smoke alarm and CO detector batteries when they change their clocks back from daylight savings time to standard time.

“It’s an easy, inexpensive and proven way to protect your family and your home,” Lt. Whitcombe said.

Since 1987, the International Association of Fire Chiefs has joined forces with Energizer batteries to spread the message that non-working smoke alarms are responsible for needless death and injuries. Now 25 years later, thanks to the Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries campaign, home fire deaths continue to decline.

Recent surveys conducted for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Consumer Products Safety Commission found that 96 percent of all home have at least one smoke alarm, but only 75 percent have at least one working smoke alarm. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing or dead batteries or disconnected wires.

The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most families are sleeping. A working smoke alarm can provide the critical extra seconds needed to get people out safely.

According to the NFPA, the maximum life cycle of a smoke alarm is 10 years from the date of manufacture, not the date of installation. Beginning in 2002, all smoke detectors must have a manufacture date marked on the outside of the smoke alarm. If your smoke alarm does not have a manufacture date, then it is older than 10 years and must be replaced. The City of Batavia Fire Department recommends purchasing smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries. All smoke alarms should be tested monthly.

Families should also practice "Exit Drills in the Home" (E.D.I.T.H.) and have a meeting place outside the home to quickly account for all the occupants during an emergency. The meeting place should be something that is not mobile like a tree or mailbox by the street.

A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the carbon monoxide (CO) gas in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is a colorless and odorless compound produced by incomplete combustion. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it is virtually undetectable without using detection technology. Elevated levels of CO can be dangerous to humans depending on the amount present and length of exposure. Smaller concentrations can be harmful over longer periods of time while increasing concentrations require diminishing exposure times to be harmful.

CO detectors are designed to measure CO levels over time and sound an alarm before dangerous levels of CO accumulate in an environment, giving people adequate warning to safely ventilate the area or evacuate. All CO detectors should also be tested monthly. Remember, if your CO detector alarms, you should evacuate the structure and dial 9-1-1. The fire department will respond and investigate the cause of the alarm.

The City of Batavia Fire Department has a free smoke alarm and battery installation program.

According to Lt. Whitcombe, “We have installed hundreds of smoke alarms and batteries over the past 20 years and will continue to do so until everyone who needs them has them.”

For information about the free smoke alarm and battery installation program, City of Batavia residents should contact the City of Batavia Fire Department at (585) 345-6375.

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