Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Weber Introduces Bill to Require Carbon Monoxide Monitors in California Schools

SACRAMENTO, CA- Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) introduced Assembly Bill 56, which requires California public and private schools built or modernized after January 1, 2014 to install carbon monoxide detectors.

“Keeping students safe in our schools is my top priority,” said Weber. “It is common sense to protect our children’s safety and ensure they have a healthy learning environment.”  “Installing carbon monoxide detectors in our schools is a no-brainer.”

On December 3, 2012, 43 students and 10 adults from Finch Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia were evacuated and taken to the local hospital after firefighters discovered a carbon monoxide leak from the school’s furnace, causing it to work overtime and leak high levels of CO into the public areas and classrooms.

Assemblymember Weber hopes the proposal would protect California students from the deadly effects of carbon monoxide gas, known as the “silent killer,” and prevent an incident such as the one in Atlanta from happening here.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.  Each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

AB 56 requires all California public and private schools, grades k-12, that are built or modernized on or after January 1, 2014 to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and encourages public and private schools constructed before January 1, 2014 to install carbon monoxide detectors.  The bill also requires that the carbon monoxide device be installed in close proximity to each furnace located within the school building.

Currently, only the states of Connecticut and Maryland require schools to have carbon monoxide detectors.  The states of Georgia and New Jersey are pursuing similar measures.

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