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Thursday May 28th, 2015 6:02AM

Hall Co. Fire Chief emphasizes dangers of carbon monoxide

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - After a carbon monoxide leak prompted the evacuation of an elementary school in Atlanta this week, suddenly there's an increased awareness of the danger of this colorless, odorless gas.

Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell appeared Tuesday afternoon on WDUN's Afternoon News with Katie B. Davis. He said he recommends installing carbon monoxide detectors in homes, businesses and even on boats.

"We've had a couple of incidents in the past, and actually one this year, where we transported 10 from a houseboat that were overcome with carbon monoxide," said Kimbrell.

Kimbrell told the radio audience that so much attention is placed on smoke detectors and fire safety that installation of carbon monoxide detectors is often overlooked.

State guidelines do not require schools to have carbon monoxide detectors, a fact that came to light after nearly 50 students, faculty and staff fell ill when high levels of carbon monoxide permeated Finch Elementary School in southwest Atlanta Monday morning.

State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens told Atlanta TV media after the incident he will talk with legislators about making a change in state regulations during the upcoming legislative session.

Gainesville Schools Superintendent Merriane Dyer said in an e-mail Tuesday that after the scare at Finch Elementary, school officials did a check of all Gainesville City Schools.

"We did an inventory of where we did not have them, are getting prices today, and then will install so that all of the school buildings will have them," she wrote.

Damon Gibbs, Hall County Schools' Director of Facilities and Construction, said in an e-mail, "Our current systems do not detect carbon monoxide. The larger units detect fire, which is a requirement."

Kimbrell noted in the radio interview that carbon monoxide can leak from any carbon-fueled source, including appliances, furnaces and fireplaces. He warned those who live in homes powered with electricity not to be complacent, however.

"There's no danger of carbon monoxide, except for a car in a garage."

Kimbrell said making the investment in carbon monoxide detectors is well worth peace of mind. He said they typically are available at hardware stores or any big box stores.


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