New safety features aim to protect students in Utah schools

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MIDVALE — After a natural gas explosion at a school in Minnesota, KSL looked into what one Utah school district is doing to keep our kids safe.

Midvale Middle School is a brand new school in the Canyons District. The school opens to students Aug. 23.

Last Wednesday, KSL met up with district risk management coordinator Kevin Ray, who was conducting an inspection.

“We did about a two-hour walk-through this morning with the principal and vice principal,” he said. “No real problems.”

He gave KSL a brief tour of the 200,000-square-foot building, pointing out the various safety features that new and renovated schools are now implementing.

Various monitoring devices are placed in certain areas of the school so that if there is some sort of dangerous leak, it’ll be quickly detected.

“We will be monitoring carbon monoxide; any gas fire appliance will have a detector near. And if we do pick up carbon monoxide, it'll alert our alarm company and they will notify us that we have a problem, and that's 24-7," Ray said.

A few years ago, several dozen children were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning at a school in Montezuma Creek. Back then, most schools did not have detectors installed and that ultimately led to a law requiring all schools to install them.

“That's something that the Canyons and all the districts are working on currently,” Ray said, “to bring all the older buildings up to code and install all of the carbon monoxide detection equipment.”

Other safety features at Midvale Middle School are that in the event of an intruder at the school, a security card swipe at a panel will lock all the doors, or lock down certain sections of the school.

Ray can also do that when he’s not on school property from a laptop in his truck.

“And if we have a situation in the building where police need to get in and move around the building, I'll be able to lock or unlock any door in the building from the cab of my truck.”

One major safety feature at Midvale Middle School deals with “line-of-sight.” The building has been designed so that administrators or law enforcement officers can see from one end of the building to the other. That could be key in an emergency situation. “Yeah, it kind of takes out all those nooks and crannies that people can hide in,” Ray said.

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Keith McCord


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