BREWER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Fire drills are a common occurrence for kids in schools, but what about Carbon Monoxide drills? Well those aren't as common because only two states in the entire U.S. even require schools to install the safety device that detects the gas.
Carbon Monoxide, or CO, is a bi-product of combustion that is made when fossil fuels burn such as oil, propane, and even wood. It's colorless, odorless and tasteless. The only way that it can be detected according to Capt. Chris Dore, with the Brewer Fire Department, is with a Carbon Monoxide detector. I think everyone should have a Carbon Monoxide detector," says Capt. Dore. "Homes, businesses, schools certainly, nursing homes. Anybody that's burning oil, natural gas, propane they certainly should have one."
Maryland and Connecticut are the only two states that require schools to have Carbon Monoxide detectors in their schools, which surprised everyone we talked to today. "If I had kids in the school system it's something I would be very concerned about and it's something I think the legislature should do something about it Maine," says Tim Malikowski of Bangor. Orono resident Leah Bilyk assumed that it was already a requirement in schools. "I just assumed that it just came along with fire detectors and they all came in a bundle," says Bilyk.
When CO is inhaled the effects are usually flue like such as a head ache or nausea. But when large amounts are released in the air in an enclosed space, the result is often death. According to a report done by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 170 people die in the U.S. each year from Carbon Monoxide related incidents.