Thursday, March 21, 2013

Assembly Education Committee Passes Weber’s Bill Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detectors in California Schools

SACRAMENTO, CA- Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber’s (D-San Diego) AB 56 which would require carbon monoxide detectors in new and modernized school buildings, passed the Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 with a 6-0 bipartisan vote.

Sponsored by the California State Firefighters Association, AB 56 requires all California K-12 public and private schools built on or after January 1, 2014 that have fossil fuel burning furnaces, to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. The bill also encourages public and private schools constructed before January 1, 2014 to install carbon monoxide detectors.

“The Legislature has recognized the necessity for carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in apartments, hotels, and new home developments,” said Assemblymember Weber. “We have to do everything in our power to be sure that we are creating the safest and healthiest environment in our schools for children. Installing carbon monoxide detectors in our schools is a no-brainer,” she said.
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 will 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.

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.

AB 56 is supported by the California State Firefighters Association; California Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and California School Employees Association. The legislation will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the month of April.

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