Carbon Monoxide Evacuates Georgia School

Carbon Monoxide Evacuates Georgia School

News Dec 03, 2012

ATLANTA (AP) — Potentially lethal carbon monoxide levels in an Atlanta elementary school sent 42 students and six adults to hospitals Monday amid the evacuation of about 500 students, authorities said.

A teacher and a cafeteria worker were among patients treated after firefighters responded to Finch Elementary School shortly after 8 a.m., Atlanta fire Capt. Marian McDaniel told The Associated Press.

Firefighters were initially told people were unconscious at the school, but none were when fire crews arrived. All the patients were conscious and alert as they were being taken to hospitals, McDaniel said.

News footage showed young children strapped to gurneys with oxygen masks on their faces and emergency officials carrying others in their arms.

Firefighters detected high and unsafe levels of carbon monoxide near a furnace at the school, which is on the city's southwest side, McDaniel said. She called the reading — 1,700 parts per million — extremely high.

"It was one of the highest we've seen," she said.

The colorless, odorless gas can be deadly at that level, one expert said.

"Seventeen hundred parts per million is potentially lethal if exposed to it for a period of time," said Stephanie Hon, assistant director of the Georgia Poison Center.

Children could be affected faster than adults and are generally affected at lower parts per million, Hon said.

She said it's easy for initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning to be confused with the flu since both include malaise, headache, nausea and vomiting. A few key differences: Carbon monoxide poisoning generally does not cause a fever and generally a person starts feeling better once he or she is moved to an area with fresh air, Hon said.

Continue Reading

Hon said it was fortunate the children do not appear to have suffered severe symptoms and said that was likely due to a short exposure time and perhaps the location of the leak being some distance from where the children were.

"The good news is that they sound like mild to moderate symptoms," Hon said. "Luckily those kinds of exposures do not carry significant long-term health risks, especially with the children involved."

It was not immediately known if the school had a carbon monoxide detector. If it didn't, Hon said, "A carbon monoxide detector, if appropriately used and installed and checked often, could have very well been a warning for this school system."

An Atlanta Public Schools spokesman did not return calls for comment. A district news conference was planned for Monday afternoon.

Bridgette Berry, a grandmother of two students at the school, said the children — ages 6 and 7 — were checked out at the hospital. The family was given a form instructing them to keep a close eye on the children and alert medical officials if they exhibit any symptoms such as a headache, Berry said.

If the school did not have a carbon monoxide detector, Berry said school officials must take action.

"They're not going back unless they get them," Berry said.

Her son and the children's father, Marquis Berry, said the family feels fortunate the situation wasn't worse and frustrated about what he called a lack of communication from the school.

"I had to find out about it on the news," he said.

A total of 42 students and six adults were taken to hospitals, Atlanta Public Schools said on its official Twitter site.

Other students from the school were taken to Brown Middle School for the rest of the day, and were being released to their parents.

Meanwhile, fire officials said they were ventilating the school in an attempt to reduce the amount of carbon monoxide.

In Baltimore last year, school officials vowed to put carbon monoxide detectors in all of the school system's approximately 200 schools after two carbon monoxide leaks within a week's time at one of the schools.

City officials in Baltimore said the battery-powered detectors cost $15 each wholesale.

----

Associated Press writer Christina Almeida contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source
Associated Press
JEFF MARTIN
NHTSA's new video follows EMS data from its collection through its use to improve future care.
First Priority Global, one of the country's leading suppliers of public safety, emergency response and clean transportation solutions, announces the opening of a new facility in Flanders, NJ.
Christopher Wimmer was sentenced to jail time and probation for taking photos with 41 unconscious patients in a selfie competition he was in with another paramedic.
Students say the mock DUI accident was a very realistic learning experience, especially when firefighters, EMTs and police arrived at the scene.
The Columbia County EMS provider oversees emergency efforts from Lake City EOC during the latest storm.
EMTs, firefighters and police officers dealt with a car accident causing the release of sulfur dioxide and an active shooter in a hospital.
Search and rescue teams from all over the world traveled to Mexico City to help find survivors trapped in the rubble since Tuesday's 7.1 magnitude earthquake.
Residents who register with the program provide important details about health conditions and even bedroom locations so rescue workers spend less time searching for victims.
As soon as a runway can be cleared for their arrival, the 27-member Task Force 1 FEMA Urban Response Team is ready to take off for search and rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria's destruction of Puerto Rico.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council today recognized first responders for their commitment and dedication to delivering quality medical-care in the field during emergency situations.
Dr. Vincent Duron from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York received a $100,000 research grant to enhance standard pediatric trauma care.
The award-winning video features a series of stunning training courses driven by groundbreaking video demonstrations of the most commonly encountered fire ground evolutions.

A  7.1-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday leveled buildings, homes, and government centers across the city. At one partially flattened school, the hunt for dozens of missing children captivated the nation.

At least nine people have died, structural damage is extensive, and flooding coupled with 155mph winds has left the entire island without power.
The Volunteer First Responder Housing Act aims to recruit and retain volunteers in the community by providing discounts on house prices to eligible citizens.