EFD: Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms, Test Monthly

Colorless, Odorless Gas is an Invisible Killer

Elkins, W. Va., February 12, 2021: The Elkins Fire Department is reminding area residents of the importance of installing carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in the home and testing them once a month. CO alarms provide an early warning of the presence of deadly CO gas, and monthly tests are vital to ensure they are working properly.

“Carbon monoxide is the invisible killer,” says Elkins Fire Department Chief Tom Meader. “It’s an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. Inside the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles running in an attached garage or a generator running inside a home or attached garage can also produce dangerous levels. The only way to detect CO is with a working CO alarm.”

According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2016, fire departments responded to about 80,000 non-fire CO calls per year, almost all in the home. More than 400 people die each year, on average, from unintentional CO poisoning from consumer appliances, motor vehicles, and other sources, according to the CDC.

“CO monitors can cost as little as $5,” says Meader. “That’s well worth it when you consider you might be saving a life.”

The Elkins Fire Department, NFPA, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advise residents to take certain steps to ensure that their household is safe from CO.

“First, never ignore an alarming CO alarm,” says Meader. “It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard.  If the alarm signal sounds, do not try to find the source of the CO. Immediately move outside to fresh air and then call 911.”

Next, ensure your CO alarm is working properly by following the steps below:

  • Test CO alarms once a month using the test button, and replace CO alarms if they fail to respond correctly when tested.
  • Make sure you have CO alarms in your home outside each separate sleeping area, on every level and in other locations as required by laws, codes or standards.
  • Replace the CO alarm according to manufacturer’s instructions or when the end-of-life signal sounds.
  • Know the difference between the sound of the CO alarm and the smoke alarm and their low-battery signals. If the audible low-battery signal sounds, replace the batteries, or replace the device.
  • Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one CO alarm sounds, they all sound.

Area residents with questions or concerns about CO alarm testing and alarm requirements may contact the Elkins Fire Department at (304) 636-3433. Information is also available here: www.cdc.gov/co.

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Elkins Launching Two Infrastructure Projects Monday

Elkins, W. Va., January 28, 2021: On Monday, City of Elkins contractors will kick off two major infrastructure projects. Bear Contracting will begin Phase II of the city’s sewer/stormwater separation project, and Newman Plumbing will begin replacing remote-read water meters for all city water utility customers.

The sewer/stormwater separation project is the second phase of sewer-system improvements Elkins is required to implement under a 2011 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The goal of this project is to reduce the number of combined sewer/stormwater pipes in Elkins, so that sudden downpours are less likely to overwhelm the sewer system’s capacity and cause overflows of untreated sewage to the Tygart Valley River.

In the phase of the sewer/stormwater project commencing Monday, crews will eventually excavate sections of 15 city streets and alleys in the neighborhood west of Wimer Field to install new, dedicated stormwater lines and related infrastructure components, such as manholes and catch basins.

The first street that will be excavated is Railroad Avenue, starting where it dead ends against the south bank of the Tygart Valley River, near Kelly Foundry.

This project, which is funded by a $4.9 million bond issue, will not result in any additional increase in sewer rates. More information about this project, including a list and map of the affected streets, can be found here: www.bit.ly/Phase2Sewer.

The water-meter project will replace the remote-read meters currently in use by the city’s approximately 4,200 water customers. These water meters are five years past warranty coverage, and about 1,300 have already failed. The opportunity to replace these water meters arose when aggressive costsaving measures during the 2016 water plant construction project spared the necessary $1.5 million. As a result, this project will not result in any increase in water rates. More information about this project can be found here: www.bit.ly/ElkinsWaterMeters

The impact of the water-meter replacement project, which must be completed by September, is projected by the contractor to be minor for most customers, involving only about 15 minutes’ disruption of water service per meter. The impacts of the sewer/stormwater separation project will vary by street but can be expected to include changes to traffic and parking patterns and the presence of heavy equipment; this project is not projected to disrupt any customer’s sewer service, however.

To stay current on information about these and other projects, as well as city news and safety alerts, please follow City of Elkins on one or more of the following communication channels:

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Elkins Garbage Collection Disrupted Due to Quarantined Employees

Elkins, W. Va., January 4, 2021: Garbage pickup in Elkins may be delayed or disrupted over the next few weeks due to personnel shortages resulting in part from exposures to the COVID-19 virus, City of Elkins Operations Manager Bob Pingley announced today. Four of the department’s five drivers are in quarantine, and the department is three short of its normal complement of loaders.

“To maintain our regular level of service, I’ve pulled employees from three other departments to work as drivers and loaders,” said Pingley. “These are some of our best employees and will do all that they can, but unfortunately they just do not know these routes like our regular drivers do.”

As a result, Pingley says, not all garbage may be collected on time or as usual.

“We’ll do our best to get all garbage picked up on schedule, but there are inevitably going to be some hiccups as we go along. We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through this unprecedented situation.”

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Elkins Council Returns to Virtual Meetings

Elkins, W. Va., December 9, 2020: In response to high coronavirus infection rates in Randolph County and statewide, as well as Governor Jim Justice’s recommendation on Monday that West Virginians 65 and older should self-isolate for the next several weeks, Elkins Mayor Van Broughton has ordered a return to virtual council and committee meetings for at least the month of December. (more…)

Elkins Council Adopts New City Charter

First Changes Since 1901 Become Effective April 1, 2021

Elkins Mayor Van Broughton signs Ordinance 276, which makes changes to the city charter for the first time since 1901.

Elkins, W. Va., November 27, 2020: Last week, Elkins Common Council approved an ordinance making changes to the city’s charter. A city charter is the establishing document of a municipality and lays out the structure, authority, and basic operating rules of the city government.

The changes made last week, which council approved 9-1 and become effective April 1, are the first since the adoption of the current charter in 1901. (more…)

Elkins Demolishes Fire-Damaged Structure on South Randolph

Elkins, W. Va., November 20, 2020: On Wednesday, a demolition crew contracted by City of Elkins tore down a derelict structure at 506 South Randolph Avenue in Elkins. The demolition was authorized by a Randolph County Circuit Court order. The city does not have title to the property and so cannot auction it, but a city lien against it seeks to recoup approximately $40,000 in demolition costs at the time of any future sale. (more…)

Elkins Adding GIS Technician to Operations Department

Elkins, W. Va., November 19, 2020: As city governments across the nation increasingly integrate digital technology into their administration and operations, it is becoming more and more common to find Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists among the ranks of municipal employees. City of Elkins is about to take this step as well. The city is advertising for its first GIS technician and hopes to bring a qualified candidate aboard within the next several months. (more…)

Governor Orders Masks at All Times in Public Buildings

Warns noncompliance could result in criminal charges, additional shutdowns

Elkins, W. Va., November 13, 2020: At today’s coronavirus briefing, Governor Jim Justice made mask-wearing mandatary “at all times” in businesses and other public buildings, ordered state public schools to offer remote instruction only Dec. 1-3, and postponed the start of the winter sports season. (His executive order is here.)

Observing that the state has recently set records for daily hospitalizations and use of ICU beds, Justice warned that people who refuse to wear masks and businesses who fail to require masks risk triggering another shutdown of non-essential businesses. He also said that people who fail to comply with his executive orders could be charged with obstruction of justice. (more…)

Elkins to Auction 3 Residential Properties Friday

Elkins, W. Va., November 10, 2020: At 10 a.m. this Friday, the City of Elkins will offer three residential properties for sale by auction, as-is, in the lobby of Elkins City Hall. Winning bidders will need to immediately remit 10 percent of their winning bids in the form of cash or a certified check and must pay the remaining balance within 30 days. (more…)

Elkins Council to Hold Charter Hearing

Elkins, W. Va., October 31, 2020: City officials are hoping for robust participation at a public hearing concerning Elkins Common Council’s proposed new city charter at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9. Council released its draft charter on Oct. 10, when it commenced the process laid out in W.Va. Code § 8-4-8 for amending a city charter via ordinance. (more…)

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