CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – State lawmakers are considering legislation to require carbon monoxide detectors in all schools.
Under state law, school districts only receive funding to install carbon monoxide detectors in new buildings. Massachusetts fire chiefs told state officials, older schools need them too.
Numerous Massachusetts schools have no detection systems for carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas, which can kill you. Chicopee High School and Stefanik Elementary School have CO detectors, but six other Chicopee schools don’t have them.
Chicopee High School is still relatively new, it was built in 2004 so it had the state funds to install carbon monoxide detectors. There are some schools in Chicopee that don’t have them but under state law, it’s not a requirement.
Massachusetts law does not require older buildings to have carbon monoxide detectors because students don’t sleep there overnight. State. Rep Paul Brodeur proposed a bill to create a $7.5 million trust fund to help school districts pay for installing CO detectors.
“We would like all the schools to be protected with carbon monoxide detection but there is a significant cost that comes with installing them in all schools,” said Lieutenant Katie Collins-Kalbaugh of the Chicopee Fire Department. ‘So ideally pending legislation would provide funding and not put the burden on school systems.”
The Chicopee Public School District set a goal to install carbon monoxide detectors in all their schools within the next year.
“We knew this was an issue so we created a state plan to install them in all of our boiler and mechanical rooms, areas that could produce carbon monoxide,” said Scott Chapdelaine, director of facilities for the City of Chicopee.
Only Connecticut, California, Maryland, South Carolina, and Utah require CO detection in their schools.
The Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts said fire departments are called to about 40 carbon monoxide incidents at schools across the state every year.