RI lawmaker seeks to require carbon monoxide detectors in schools

Learn More: Carbon Monoxide Safety Guide

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A week after Gov. Gina Raimondo reaffirmed her call for $1 billion in funding to improve school infrastructure in her State of the State address, a state lawmaker has introduced legislation to improve health and safety in Rhode Island schools.

Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-District 19, chairperson of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, is sponsoring a bill that would require all school buildings to have carbon monoxide detectors.

In a news release Tuesday, McNamara said the proposal would mandate the detectors be “installed and maintained,” as well as “authorize the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review to promulgate rules and regulations to enforce the provisions of the requirement.”

Rhode Island is one of 27 states that requires carbon monoxide detectors in homes. Currently California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine and Maryland are the only states to currently require the detectors in schools.

McNamara said the issue came to his attention when a Cranston woman contacted him after her daughter was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning. She believes her daughter was exposed to the compound at her school.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an average of 430 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year.

McNamara’s bill is expected to be heard by the House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare on Wednesday, Jan. 24.