Collin’s Challenge is an initiative by the Acushnet Police, Fire and School Departments started in response to the accidental carbon monoxide deaths of nine-year-old Collin Lopes and his father Joseph “JP” Lopes, 41, in December. In response to the tragedy, the three departments contacted all families to distribute carbon monoxide detectors.
The alarms were donated by local residents, businesses and Eversource. Collection boxes were set up throughout town and were decorated by Collin’s fourth-grade classmates.
The campaign ended on January 31, which would have been Collin’s 10th birthday, but residents are still encouraged to contact the fire or police department.
In a Facebook statement, Acushnet Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher said that 187 carbon monoxide detectors were contributed by residents; 47 were dropped off at the schools. Firefighters have installed 70 CO detectors in Acushnet homes.
“We installed detectors in 16 homes that previously had none. Many detectors that were replaced were well beyond their life expectancy,” wrote Chief Gallagher. “One family who contacted us through the outreach efforts of the school lived in a home with school aged children that had no carbon monoxide detectors. To make them compliant with the code we installed five units. That one visit was all we needed to know that our goal was achieved and that a difference was made.”
The department has also received $1,000 in cash donations and $2,500 from Eversource to purchase more CO detectors. The donations will allow the department to expand the program to include seniors and other families in need.
“We are not done,” reads the statement. “The success of this program has convinced us of the ongoing need to make detectors not only available but actually installed in order to provide protection from the hazards of carbon monoxide. Friends of Collin’s’ family have indicated that they will continue with their CO awareness efforts in his memory, and so will we!
“Collin’s Challenge will be continued until Acushnet moves even closer to ‘saying NO to CO.’
“This joint effort worked to the benefit of our residents. It doesn’t take away the pain of losing two members of our community, but it does feel good to know that from tragedy came something positive.”
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