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  • McNamara Bill Requiring CO Detectors in Schools Passes House

    The Rhode Island General Assembly has passed legislation introduced by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) and Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) that would make provisions for in-state tuition for members of the military on active duty.

    [CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The RI State House.

    STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would effectively require the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all schools.

    The bill (2018-H 7041) would require all school buildings where students are in attendance to have carbon monoxide detectors installed and maintained. The act would also authorize the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review to promulgate rules and regulations to enforce the provisions of the requirement.

    “More than 500 Americans die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Representative McNamara. “And more than 10,000 seek medical treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning. And while 27 states, including Rhode Island require detectors in homes, only California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine and Maryland require them in school buildings.”

    Carbon monoxide is a gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, and can be fatal when breathed. The symptoms that occur with carbon monoxide poisoning, such as a headache, can be similar to those of common illnesses. These similarities often lead to an incorrect diagnosis, such as flu, allergies, migraine headache or stroke.

    The issue was brought to the attention of Representative McNamara by a Cranston woman, whose daughter was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning that she believes her daughter suffered at school.

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    “The fact that the school administration building has carbon monoxide detectors, but the schools that are filled with children do not is appalling to me,” said Pauline Belal, who testified in favor of the bill at a meeting of the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee.

    The measure now moves to the Senate, where it will most likely be assigned to the Senate Committee on Education, chaired by Sen. Hanna Gallo. Similar legislation (2018-S 2179) introduced by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28. Cranston, Providence) has already been assigned to that committee.

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