How Schools Protect Children against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va -- Heather Weatherholtz picked up Addison, her daughter, from school on Thursday, but had never thought about the threat of carbon monoxide her daughter may experience during the day.

“Really, nothing, especially for the school, I wouldn't have thought of mentioning that,” said Weatherholtz.

Rockingham County uses a fresh-air system to flush outdoor air inside and Harrisonburg City Schools has detectors in its heating and air-conditioning system.

“I think it should be done in all schools, in my opinion. If you're going to put it in some, why not all of them?”

Mike Armstrong, with Augusta County Fire and Rescue, said having no detectors in schools is a gamble on student's health.

“If there's no detectors present, then they'd have no way of knowing that they have a gas leak or something like that until the children or the teachers, or whomever, are overcome with carbon monoxide symptoms that simulate flu systems,” said Armstrong.

He recommended putting detectors in wherever there is a smoke detector, like where Addison goes to school.

“Oh, I feel happy,” said Weatherholtz, “I think that's great, even though that's something that didn't cross my mind, now that I think about it, thumbs up that they already have it, so that's great.

Weatherholtz said detectors give her peace of mind when she sends her daughter to school every day.

“That just is another thing that makes me think I made a good decision putting her here.”

A WHSV reporter also spoke with a representative from Waynesboro City Schools and they are in the process of installing a carbon monoxide system. They do regular air checks to keep air clean.

Staunton schools use hand-held detectors to periodically check the air quality.

No one with in the Augusta County school system could tell a WHSV reporter if their schools had detectors.

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