Parents concerned to learn carbon monoxide alarms not in schools -, GA News Weather & Sports

Some parents concerned to learn carbon monoxide alarms not in schools


Parents throughout Georgia are still in shock after more than 500 students and staff were evacuated Monday from an Atlanta elementary school because of extremely high levels of carbon monoxide.

Now, some local parents are asking if something similar could ever happen closer to home.

The images of first responders carrying students out of their Atlanta elementary school on Monday after being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide is a scene that has Columbus mother Angela Royal worried especially since according to officials the state of Georgia does not require schools to install carbon monoxide detectors.

"It is a real concern and it something that I think that they should come up with and get something done about it," said Royal.

Valerie Fuller with the Muscogee County School District says they do not have carbon monoxide detectors in any of the schools.

"However, there is a crisis response plan for every single school and every single building in the Muscogee County School District. Included in that response plan is of course, our evacuation plans in reference to gas leaks and in reference to any type of emergency," said Fuller.

According to the national conference of state legislatures, only two states, Connecticut and Maryland, require carbon monoxide detectors inside schools.

Fuller says this is a time for districts to make sure they will be ready when an emergency happens.

"When an incident like that occurs, I think it gives every school district and every office an opportunity to look at where any needs improvement areas are in reference to anything related to a crisis response plan," said Fuller.

She said school officials could look at installing detector devices soon.

In Phenix City, school Superintendent Larry DiChiara says they also do not have carbon monoxide detectors in the schools, but he says because of the type of equipment in the schools, there is no need for them.

"You typically need those if you have a school that uses coal to heat the school. There are a lot of old furnaces in a lot of older schools. We don't have any of those in Phenix City. All of ours are electric," said DiChiara.

He says he spent much of the day on Tuesday making calls to ensure that the schools are up to code.

"I spoke to the local fire chief, I spoke to state department of education, and I also spoke to an architect and wanted to make sure that we are meeting all the codes here," said DiChiara.

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