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Photo of BCVFA 2016 check presentation.Baltimore County's volunteer firefighters will receive about $8.1 million in county aid during the next year to assist with the cost of preventative maintenance, fuel, utilities and peak demand operational expenses.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz presented a ceremonial check at the September 17 annual meeting of the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen's Association (BCVFA).

Baltimore County has a joint fire service that includes 25 career stations and 32 volunteer fire, rescue and EMS companies, as well as two volunteer-run canteen companies that supply food and drink to responders during strenuous incidents.

The volunteer companies are independent corporations that raise most of the money needed for their operations through carnivals, bingo, fundraising drives and other activities. In addition, each year Baltimore County provides millions of dollars in support to the volunteers.

This year, the County enhanced its commitment to the volunteers. A letter from County Executive Kamenetz to volunteer companies, sent last spring, agreed to cover all approved BCVFA member expenses.

The $8.1 million awarded this year includes $2.3 million paid out over the course of the year to the 21 companies that provide medic service. This represents an increase of about $350,000 over last year.

New BCVFA Officers

The meeting also saw the election of new officers for 2016-2017. They are:

President: Glenn Resnick
Senior Vice President: Craig Coleman
Vice President, Finance: James Cahn
Vice President, Operations: Tom Ludwig
Vice President, Administration: Kathy Walker
Secretary: Robert Frank
Treasurer: William Kern
Financial Secretary: Donna Kern
Chaplain: Rev. Timothy Feaser

District Representatives

Eastern A: William Pearson
Eastern B: John Alban, III
Northern A: Larry Gribble
Northern B: Open
Western A: Doug Brinkley
Western B: Jeff Wickline

The threat of carbon monoxide buildup in homes and businesses escalates during periods of severe cold.

Produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid or gaseous fuels such as oil, kerosene, natural gas and wood, carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that robs the body of oxygen. It is especially dangerous because it is invisible and odorless. CO can make you sick – or even kill you -- without your knowing it is there.

During the winter months, first responders often see CO buildup related to improperly maintained fireplaces, furnaces and wood stoves; ranges and stoves used as supplemental heating devices; and especially to the improper use of portable generators.

"This information is extremely important and can be a matter of life and death," said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.  "I hope that everyone will read this carefully and share it with family and friends."

Use of CO Alarms

The easiest and most effective tool to prevent CO poisoning is use of CO alarms, which sound an alert based on exposure to the gas over time. (CO, measured in parts per million, is a cumulative gas; at high levels, it can kill quickly, and at low levels it can gradually sicken.) The device will go off before the average adult would experience symptoms of CO exposure, allowing people to get out of the house and take steps to correct the source of the problem.

In two separate incidents one day last month, 10 county residents were taken to local hospitals after carbon monoxide leaks related to faulty home furnaces. Significantly, neither household had a single carbon monoxide detector.

“CO alarms save lives,” said Fire Chief John Hohman. “Every home that includes a fuel-burning appliance has the potential to generate carbon monoxide, and every home should have alarms to detect carbon monoxide.”

Emergencies involving CO have resulted in important state and local regulations regarding CO and CO detectors, including a Baltimore County law requiring carbon monoxide alarms in all rental housing. There has been one fatal incident in Baltimore County since this law was enacted several years ago, and none since 2010. 

Mike Mohler, Chief Administrator of Permits, Inspections and Approvals, said the current cold snap is a good time to remind all tenants and landlords in Baltimore County that, under county law, all units with a fuel-burning appliance or heating system, including a fire place, must have installed a fully functioning CO detector."

If your alarm sounds, dial 911 and get out of the house. First responders will try to identify the source of the problem and will mitigate the emergency by ventilating the home and, if possible, shutting off the source of the CO. If the problem involves a plumbing or appliance repair, the homeowner or landlord must contact a licensed contractor.

Additional information about carbon monoxide is available on our fact sheet.

About Portable Generators

Portable generators have become popular tools for dealing with power outages. Data from the National Fire Protection Association shows that, nationwide, CO illnesses and deaths related to the use of generators have risen along with generator sales.

 Generators emit far higher levels of CO than an automobile. Opening doors and window or using fans will not prevent CO build-up in the home.

Never operate a generator indoors - including in a basement or garage or in areas with ventilation. Operate generators at least 15 feet from windows, doors and vents that could allow CO to enter your home.

For additional information, see our fact sheet on portable generator use.


Revised September 27, 2016