Continuous monitoring of natural gas, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in schools
Potential gas hazards in a school include natural gas, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Natural gas sources include fuel burning equipment or appliances such as an oil or gas furnace, water heaters and gas stoves or ovens. These sources can be found in the furnace room, science labs and kitchens where equipment can potentially leak natural gas. A leak not only wastes expensive fuel but could result in an explosion causing loss of life and structural damage.
When natural gas doesn’t combust properly, carbon monoxide is produced. If equipment is not properly maintained, malfunctions, wears out or if something just goes wrong, CO levels can quickly rise to hazardous level as the gas easily travels around through the air and can migrate to other areas of the building through vents, ducts and other openings.
Another potential gas hazard is the build up of carbon dioxide. CO2 displaces oxygen. Every person exhales CO2 and levels can become unhealthy quickly without proper ventilation. The health risk increases with crowded classrooms, indoor gym classes and large gatherings in auditoriums.
The design of a building’s heating system, including the location of additional natural gas heaters in more frequently occupied areas such as classrooms, can vary widely. Determining all the sources of potential leaks and what gas detection system components to install to ensure the safety of the occupants and property is important to health and safety.
NFPA and/or local building codes may require that the gas detection system have the ability to shut off the boiler in the event of a CO alarm.