The recent purchase and installation of the detectors was spurred by a carbon monoxide leak in an Atlanta school that hospitalized 40
students and five adults earlier this month.
Currently, state law does not require carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in schools. Over the last few weeks however, the State Board of Education has urged school systems to reevaluate their policies in light of the Atlanta incident.
Carbon monoxide is a common industrial hazard resulting from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal or wood.
It is harmful when breathed because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen.
“Schools that are all electric like Youngs Grove Elementary don’t need detectors,” explained Tom Reilly, director of facilities for Polk School District. “Schools that have gas or oil-fired equipment are at risk of producing and exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.”
Nine of the district’s ten schools use gas or oil-fired equipment.
Reilly said the district’s facility maintenance funds were used to purchase and install 21 detectors.
Prior to the purchase, there was only one carbon monoxide detector in the Polk School District, Reilly said.
The new detectors were installed in gyms, common areas, hallways and lunchrooms of the county's schools that operate gas heat systems,
“We may install additional detectors as soon as we figure out the best locations and ways to integrate them with current alarm systems,” Reilly said.
School receiving the detectors include Cedartown High School, Rockmart High School, Cedartown Middle School, Rockmart Middle School, Westside Elementary, Cherokee Elementary, Northside Elementary, Van Wert
Elementary and Eastside Elementary.