Put Carbon Monoxide Detectors Where People Are

By Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.


The carbon monoxide poisoning event at Prussing Elementary School in Chicago demonstrates a big problem on going cheap on carbon monoxide detectors: the detectors need to be placed where the people are, not just in furnace rooms. Putting one detector in a boiler room gives the illusion of safety but it may not do the job. It is like putting a football helmet on only the quarterback. If there is only one carbon monoxide detector, not only is there no redundancy, often times the detector may not be heard in the part of the building where the people are.

Placement of Carbon Monoxide Detectors will Impact Effectiveness

Not only should all schools have carbon monoxide detectors, but they should all have carbon monoxide detectors in each classroom. The same holds true for hotels. Carbon monoxide detectors should be in every hotel room. It is especially true for hotels because the most dangerous time of day in a hotel is at night, because those exposed may never awake from the poisoning. Yet at night, most hotels are only staffed by one person and in most hotels, that one person sits far away from where the fuel burning appliances are located. Making having only one carbon monoxide detector even more hazardous is that furnace rooms are fire safe rooms and are likely to be fairly sound proof. Thus, the annoying noise of the battery warning detector going off may go unnoticed and the alarm itself may not be heard.

More is Better on Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors can likely be bought in bulk for not much over $10. Time to spend the money and save not only lives, but the brains of those who may survive the poisoning. If detectors would have gone off in any of these school poisonings, the children would have been evacuated with little or no risk of permanent problems. But when the children remain in the toxic environment for 90 minutes to two hours, the chances of long term symptoms escalates.

Prussing Elementary School Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide in Schools

Prussing Elementary Announcement

Still Time for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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