OPINION: Checking CO monitors could have prevented emergency-room visits

Originally published in the Lindenwood ‘Legacy’ newspaper, Jan. 17, 2017
Photo from Google Images

The Lindenwood Ice Arena was closed after women’s hockey players reported symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Eighteen players from Lindenwood’s team and one from the University of Wisconsin reported feeling ill following the game and were treated at a local hospital.

According to Lindenwood athletic director Brad Wachler, the levels of carbon monoxide in the arena were at 200 parts per million, which officials have stated is “higher than normal.”

Scott Queen, Lindenwood Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, Public Relations, stated that it is standard practice for fire departments to clear buildings when the carbon monoxide levels reach 50ppm.

While I am glad that the Lindenwood and Wisconsin players were treated for their symptoms, their prolonged level of exposure is unsettling. In areas such as ice arenas, the ice resurfacing machines and ventilation systems increase the likelihood of carbon monoxide being released in the air.

That being said, the Lindenwood arena should have had carbon-monoxide detectors. The fire department went to check the building after the players reported symptoms. If the detectors had been in place, they would have been triggered long before the levels hit 200ppm.

According to Lindenwood President Michael Shonrock, Diane Moore, director of facilities, is in the process of doing a check to determine if there are carbon-monoxide detectors in every building, and if they have them, are in good shape.

I think that Lindenwood should not be checking these detectors just because one incident happened. Carbon-monoxide detectors should be replaced every five to seven years. These detectors should be checked often, especially in the ice arena.

This issue should not have escalated the way it did. Carbon-monoxide exposure can lead to serious illness and even death if left unnoticed.

Luckily, these hockey players were treated of their symptoms, and we aren’t discussing a fatality of a Lindenwood athlete.