When students return to class in January, their school buildings will be required to have carbon monoxide alarms. A new law goes into effect Jan. 1.
The odorless gas can be deadly. State Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat fr0m Bunker Hill, says he was surprised to learn the state had no rules for carbon monoxide detectors in schools:
"Where kids spend 7 to 8 hours a day should be equipped with the most strict safety requirements," he said.
Manar became aware of the issue when around 150 kids and staff at a school in his district became ill due to a faulty furnace. No alarms were in place at North Mac Intermediate when that happened. They have since been installed.
Manar says he tried to balance the financial impact on schools with protecting students. The law requires existing schools to at least install battery powered detectors. New buildings will need hardwired electrical units.
Recently, more than 100 people inside a Chicago school became ill because of a carbon monoxide leak. The school already had detectors, which allowed students and staff to get out of the building before being seriously hurt.