Gas safety is important all year round but it’s not always a households top priority. Gas Safety Week encourages everybody to focus on gas safety in their homes.
In 2021 to date there have been 58 calls to Control involving carbon monoxide. Of these 41 were false alarms. 17 were incidents where carbon monoxide was present. There were 5 people who received medical treatment at these incidents.
What is carbon monoxide poisoning?
Carbon Monoxide is a poisonous gas that is produced when fuel does not burn properly, usually from badly fitted or poorly maintained appliances. Common sources of CO are gas and oil boilers, gas hobs and fires, log burners, open fires and barbecues.
Known as the Silent Killer
You cannot taste, see or smell Carbon monoxide; in fact, you can’t tell if there is CO using your human senses, however, it can kill in minutes.
Common symptoms of CO poisoning include dizziness, tiredness, headaches, nausea and generally feeling unwell. It is often mistaken for something else such as a hangover, a common cold, flu and now Covid-19. The elderly and the very young are particularly vulnerable.
Top tips – To keep you safe and warm at home;
- Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service your appliances. You can find these by visiting www.gassaferegister.co.uk or by calling 0800 408 5500.
- When they visit, check both sides of your engineers Gas Safe Register ID card. Make sure they are qualified for the work you need doing – this information will be on the back of the card.
- Ensure you gas appliances are regularly serviced and have a yearly safety check carried out. If you rent your home, ask for a copy of the current Gas Safety Record.
- Know the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse, and loss of consciousness. Unsafe gas appliances can put you at risk of CO poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions.
- Check your gas appliances for warning signs that they are not working properly e.g. a lazy yellow flame rather than a crisp blue flame, black marks or stains around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.
- Fit a carbon monoxide alarm – the alarm will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home, test it regularly and familiarise yourself with the alarm sound so that you are aware and can act quickly.
- Keep vents and chimneys clear. Make sure you don’t block any vents as they are vital to ensure gas appliances burn properly. Chimneys burning gas need to be cleaned and checked at least once a year.
- Only use gas appliances for their intended purpose. Don’t use them for something they aren’t meant to do e.g. using a gas cooker to heat a room.
- Know what to do in an emergency – familarise yourself with the Gas Safe emergency procedure which can be found here: Gas Leaks and Emergencies Contacts. Stay Safe in Gas Emergencies – Gas Safe Register
Remember! Always follow the manufacturer’s guidance when fitting and using a carbon monoxide alarm. Make sure everyone in the home or premises can hear the alarm and if they can’t fit more. Finally spread the word, make sure friends, family and neighbours know the vital gas safety information above.
Did you know?
Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue service Crews and Prevention team personnel will supply and fit carbon monoxide alarms to all properties occupied by persons 65 and over as a combination visit with Fire and wellness or post incident; including, additionally, where circumstances deem appropriate.
Want to know if you can get your alarm fitted?
To see if we can offer you a free Fire and Wellness visit please email your name, address, phone number and concern to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01296 744477