This was another case of a safety programs working after a carbon monoxide exposure incident at a Reno County, KS, manufacturing plant last Monday.

It all started when employees at SYT USA were suffering from carbon monoxide exposure as a result of a leak in a gas heater. So, as part of their program, they evacuated the facility.

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That is when Reno County Area Transit (Rcat) got the call to assist in transporting 16 of the 21 exposed SYT USA employees to the hospital, said Emergency Management Director Adam Weishaar. Two employees ended up transported by private vehicle.

Just 30 minutes passed from the time Rcat got the call and they were transporting patients to the hospital.

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Haven EMS treated all but three patients, who refused treatment, before they went to Hutchinson Regional Medical Center.

That is when the third element in an overall safety plan came into play with the hospital doing well with handling 18 patients, Weishaar said. The incident helped the hospital practice what it calls a “patient surge.”

Everyone ended up treated and released from the hospital Monday. They were told to visit the hospital before returning to work Tuesday.

When first responders were initially dispatched to 1601 E. Wasp Road for an unknown chemical mixture in the air, they were told people inside the plant were vomiting and defecating, Weishaar said.

Firefighters must wear respirators and gear when carbon monoxide levels are over 35 parts per million. Measurements inside the plant when firefighters first arrived topped 120 parts per million, Weishaar said.

SYT USA Chief Executive Alex Birkenfeldt said at noon a few employees knew something was wrong when they started complaining of headaches. They started to open a few large side doors, and a couple of hours later they all evacuated.

SYT USA makes fiberglass parts and composite parts.

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