Yesterday, 72 children and 10 adults were emergently transferred to the hospital after a carbon monoxide leak was discovered at a daycare facility. Among all the small children, five were clearly more affected by headaches and vomiting. The authorities advised that the leak at “Les Petits Explorateurs” daycare in Quebec was contained and thankfully a tragedy had been avoided. The investigation continues as to how the leak had occurred the first place.
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs after inhalation of carbon monoxide, a toxic, odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas. Minimal exposure can affect a person in many ways, including fatigue, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. If carbon monoxide poisoning is prolonged over a significant period of time, severe symptoms and health risks will occur such as losing consciousness, permanent brain damage, and death.
In 2008, a Florida law finally passed with the help of Ira H Leesfield, which requires that every building for which a building permit is issued for new construction on or after July 1, 2008, and having a fossil-fuel-burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, or an attached garage shall have an approved operational carbon monoxide alarm installed within 10 feet of each room used for sleeping purposes. (Fla. Stat. § 553.885)
The law was passed soon after the fatal carbon monoxide incident which occurred in a large hotel in Key West, Florida, where a young man and his father were found unresponsive in their hotel room. The room shared a wall with one of the hotel’s boiler room. The investigation led by the authorities and different bodies of agency found that the boiler had been operated without the proper permits and had failed to be inspected after several repairs had been done in-house. The young man was fatally poisoned while the father survived.
Despite many states now espousing the same approach than the Florida legislator, fatalities attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning continue to increase:
The avoided-tragedy in Quebec yesterday is a reminder that carbon monoxide poisoning can occur anywhere and can affect family through no fault of their own. The responsibility to prevent such incidents rests on property owners and members of the public to demand safe premises, especially when the members of their family are small children.