“Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” by Harry J. Oster

This is the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) official theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week, which kicks-off on Sunday, October 3rd.  The 2010 campaign is designed to educate people about the importance of smoke alarms and encourages everyone to take the necessary steps to update and maintain their home’s smoke alarm protection.

According to the NFPA, smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. Their statistics show that smoke alarms reduce the chance of dying in a fire by half. But, they must be working properly to do so. The association’s data show that many homes have smoke alarms that aren’t working or maintained properly, usually because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. Roughly two-thirds of all home fire deaths occur in homes where smoke alarms are absent or non-functional.

Columbia University EH&S and the NFPA suggest the following to ensure that your smoke alarms are maintained and working properly:

  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows the sound emitted from the smoke alarm.
  • If a smoke alarm “chirps,” the battery is low - replace the battery right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries, when they are 10 years old, or immediately if they do not respond properly when tested.
  • Never remove or disable a smoke alarm battery or the smoke alarm itself.

Remember: fire is fast, dark and deadly. A fire can happen at any moment. Practice fire safety 365 days a year. For additional fire safety information, please visit the NFPA’s Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org.

Smoke Alarm


Welcome new EH&S Team Members! by Lauren Kelly

It is with great pleasure that we welcome two new EH&S team members.  Rebecca Lonergan joined us as the Sr. Hazardous Materials Officer on May 17th.  She will oversee all hazardous waste operations at all Columbia University campuses.  Rebecca has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry from the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry and is currently working on completing her Master’s of Science at Hunter College.

On June 1st, Keith Bottum joined our team as a Hazardous Materials Officer at CUMC.  He will oversee hazardous waste daily operations at the Medical Center campus.  He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of North Carolina.  Rebecca and Keith will be a great asset to our already successful Environmental team in leading the hazardous waste program at all of our campuses. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming them to our team.

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