Doing the Right Thing Includes Putting Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Schools

With Fire Chief George Farrell at left, Mayor David N. Cicilline urges residents to install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. Met School ninth-grade classmates of Ryan Aleman, 14, look on.

Journal photo / Andrew Dickerman Thu, Jan 10, 2008 Providence Journal

Too bad the people in Peace Dale, RI weren't there to hear what they said in Providence. The dangers of carbon monoxide are still not brought forcibly enough to public awareness. Superintendent Robert Hicks found out this for himself and decided to make some changes. Look at this excerpt from the The Narragansett Times by Aimee Coutree on January 28,2009:

"PEACE DALE - Carbon monoxide detectors aren't mandatory in schools, but after high levels of the lethal gas caused the evacuation of Peace Dale Elementary School, that might change, Superintendent Robert Hicks said Thursday. Tuesday morning, 520 students were taken to the high school when a heating exhaust vent that was clogged with snow backed high carbon monoxide levels into the school...

"Around 10 am Tuesday, the Union Fire District was called to the school after a smell (not carbon monoxide, which is odorless) was detected emanating from a vent in one of the first floor classrooms. Students were brought upstairs, Hicks said, and then to the gymnasium while the firemen tested for the carbon monoxide levels. Officials evacuated the school after high levels of the odorless, colorless, tasteless gas were found. When inhaled, the gas can cause lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, and is lethal if the victim is not assisted."

It's been nearly a year and a half, and we're curious here at Incident Commander if the Peace Dale Elementary School now has carbon monoxide detectors. Many resolutions are talked about and proposed after an incident such as this, but they're usually forgotten after the fear dies down.

"No one became ill, according to Hicks, but some students and teachers did complain of headaches, which were alleviated once they stepped outside for fresh air...."

Everything okay again? We'll find out. Every school needs a carbon monoxide detector. They're cheap and they save lives. Ask any fireman or policeman.

So this week I'll call over to Peace Dale and see if they now have carbon monoxide detectors in place and let you know what I find out by the end of the week. I'm hoping for the best. If they don't have any, I'll offer to find some for them.