January 18, 2019 12:45 pm
Updated: January 18, 2019 7:27 pm

Carbon monoxide detectors to be mandatory in all Quebec schools: Education Minister

WATCH: After 43 students and teachers at a LaSalle elementary school were hospitalized due to monoxide poisoning, Quebec’s education minister announced that carbon monoxide detectors will become mandatory in all schools. As Global's Billy Shields explains, schools have until Jan. 22 to either inspect existing detectors or have CO detectors installed.

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Carbon monoxide detectors will be mandatory in all educational institutes, announced Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge Friday.

This comes four days after a gas leak at Des Découvreurs Elementary School in Montreal’s LaSalle borough that sent at least 35 children and eight adults to hospital.

READ MORE: Some parents keep kids out of LaSalle school as questions mount over carbon monoxide leak

“I am wholeheartedly with the families and the staff at Des Découvreurs Elementary. An event of this kind should never happen and I hope that this does not happen again,” he said.

“I am asking that all educational institutions acquire a carbon monoxide detector as soon as possible.”

Roberge said all schools and school boards will also be expected to conduct annual inspections to ensure the devices are working.

Serina Sicurella, a student at Des Découvreurs elementary school in Montreal LaSalle borough undergoes hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Source: Angelina Sicurella.

Angelina Sicurella

The minister said he will be asking the administrative body of all educational institutions to make sure their buildings have carbon monoxide detectors, as well as perform air quality checks and inspect the fuel-burning systems as soon as possible.

WATCH BELOW: At least a dozen angry parents showed up to Des Découvreurs elementary school in Montreal’s LaSalle borough without their children, insisting that they are not satisfied with the school’s safety checks.

READ MORE: Montreal public health physician calls for mandatory carbon monoxide detectors in schools

The incident Monday sent dozens to hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning after several children, aged six to 13, and adults started presenting with nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

WATCH BELOW: Montreal mother says school never called to say her child was in hospital after carbon monoxide leak


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Twelve children were taken to Sacré-Coeur Hospital to receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy; nine of them had lost consciousness at the school.

Several students were also taken to the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Sainte-Justine Hospital.

READ MORE: At least 43 children, adults in hospital after carbon monoxide leak at a Montreal school

Montreal fire department chief of operations Francis Leduc explained there had been a malfunction in the school’s gas-powered heating system.

He said the gas was getting caught in the chimney and leaking back into the building.

WATCH BELOW: LBPSB doing safety checks after gas leak

Fire officials tell Global News the levels of carbon monoxide in the school’s heating room were at 900 ppm and 175 to 200 ppm in the hallways.

Provincial government norms allow for 35 ppm in a workplace environment and 10 ppm in homes for adults.

READ MORE: Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board to check all carbon monoxide detectors after dozens of children hospitalized

“Those are levels for a human adult. These are for people that are five foot seven, 170 pounds — adult people,” said Ian Ritchie of the Montreal fire department.

“The exposure levels or something they could withstand is much, much different.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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