Potentially Fatal Leak in New York Closes Hudson Valley School
Children were rushed out of their classrooms in the Hudson Valley after a leak that can be fatal was discovered.
On Monday around 11:18 a.m., members from the City of Poughkeepsie fire department were dispatched for an automatic fire alarm at Charles B. Warring Elementary School in Mansion Street in Poughkeepsie.
Upon arrival, it was discovered that the building was evacuated and a manual pull station had been activated due to a haze and there was an alarm sounding, officials say.
The building was checked out with multimeters and a carbon monoxide leak was detected. Exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal, according to the CDC.
"The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you," the CDC states.
The furnaces were shut off at the school and the building was ventilated, officials say.
Students were sent home Monday after the leak but returned to class on Tuesday.
"Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visits the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized," the CDC adds.
The CDC offers the following tips to prevent carbon monoxide leaks.
- Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home. Check or replace the detector’s battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
- If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
- When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
- Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors, as shown below. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.
- Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
- Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO.
- Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
- When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.
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