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  • Writer's pictureNikki James Zellner

If your carbon monoxide alarm is beeping, what should you do?

Hint: Your first thought should not be "How do I turn this off?"

Even if you're not experiencing symptoms of any kind, your first thought should be – "My CO alarm is beeping for a reason, and I need to exit the property and assist others to do the same. Once I'm outside, I should call for help."

Now how would you do that ... in a daycare? In a K-12 public school? In a college dorm?

Are you expecting the beeping there, too? Is the beeping carbon monoxide alarm even there?

The reality is many educational facilities in the U.S. today are not required to have carbon monoxide detection on-site due to gaps in codes and laws.

Instead, they are alerted to carbon monoxide exposure in school when a medical emergency arises, health is in jeopardy, and first responders are called to assist.

But for those schools that do have carbon monoxide detection, it's important for all occupants' to know the following:

  1. What does this school's CO alarm sound like?

  2. What kind, how, and where is this school's detection installed?

  3. Who and where does this school's carbon monoxide detection alert?

  4. What is this school's CO evacuation plan?

  5. Is every faculty and staff member in this school trained to know the symptoms of CO?

CO awareness is more than a PSA on the symptoms. It's more than a once-a-year volunteer training. CO safety and awareness should be top-of-mind for any campus that has CO-producing sources, or one that allows them onsite.

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