ADT Recognizes First Responders’ Efforts in Helping Family Avert CO Disaster

A dozen family members escaped potential catastrophe after a monitored carbon monoxide detector led to police dispatch.

BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Representatives from ADT took part in special ceremony here on Tuesday to recognize local police officers and emergency responders for their efforts in helping 12 family members avert a catastrophe after a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm was triggered in their home. 

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Azim and Madhavi Saifee and their two daughters were hosting several out-of-state relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend when they were awakened at 6 a.m. on Nov. 30 by the piercing sound of alarms, The Bernardsville News reports.

Before long, the police chief was knocking on their door, emergency response crews were in their driveway and firefighters soon discovered that the house had dangerously high levels of CO, a potentially deadly gas.

A utility crew arrived to address the problem, and disaster was averted.

As part of the special recognition, ADT officials presented the township emergency response groups with three checks totaling $15,000.

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“Thanks to all these great folks, we are still here,” said Madhavi Saifee during the morning press conference.

The emergency response to the Saifee residence was described during the event. Following is the newspaper’s account:

At ADT’s monitoring center in Texas, an emergency dispatcher received the home’s CO signal and immediately called Somerset County 911 for help. The ADT dispatcher repeatedly sought to contact the Saifee home and called their cell phone numbers but got no answer.

At 6:25 p.m., Police Chief Brian Bobowicz took it upon himself to go to the house and knock on the door. The chief, who is typically at police headquarters by 6 a.m., occasionally takes calls as the midnight night shift is wrapping up.

“When I found out how many people were here, it was scary,” Bobowicz said.

Upon entering the home, he opened all the windows and had all the occupants awakened, including grandparents who were sleeping in the basement. Minutes later, the Liberty Corner Fire Company arrived and used hand-held devices that revealed dangerous levels of CO. The firefighters advised everyone to get outside until the gas company arrived.

In the meantime, members of the Liberty Corner First Aid Squad were on the scene to treat an 11-year-old girl who complained of dizziness, but no one was hospitalized.

Gas company workers found that the CO was caused by a gas powered furnace and water heater enclosed behind a solid door in the home’s basement.

“We all had our pajamas on and put on our coats” to go outside and sit in cars, Madhavi Saifee recalled. She said the workers were in the house for about two hours before everyone was able to return inside.

Although prior owners of the home had had CO detectors installed, she said she and her husband had ADT upgrade the alarms only two weeks before the Nov. 30 incident.

When the alarms went off, “I thought it might have had something to do with the upgrade until the chief showed up,” she said. “Thank goodness for ADT and for the first responders for reacting so quickly.”

At Tuesday’s ceremony, ADT President Alan Ferber presented life-saving awards to the ADT dispatcher and two company technicians who installed the alarm upgrade.

In a dramatic moment, an ADT vehicle arrived in the midst of the ceremony carrying the dispatcher, Krista Brandenburg of Texas, who walked up the driveway to applause and greeted Mr. and Mrs. Saifee with hugs.

“At ADT, we take our mission very seriously about saving lives,” said Ferber.

He said ADT also recognizes the importance of local responders, and he proceeded to hand out three $5,000 checks that were accepted by Chief Bobowicz, Liberty Corner Fire Chief Peter Aprahamian and Liberty Corner First Aid Squad President Mark Rosenblum.

“We got here in time to ensure a potential emergency stayed just that – a potential emergency,” Rosenblum said.

Known as the silent killer, CO is an odorless and colorless gas that is produced by stoves, gas ranges and heating systems. According to the ADT Web site, each year CO poisoning kills 400 people and hospitalizes another 4,000.

“It’s a positive holiday message and a good learning message to have carbon monoxide alarms because it is a deadly gas,” said Bobowicz.

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