Carbon monoxide – the silent killer
What is silent, invisible and deadly?
RoSPA Product Code: HS234
A RoSPA publication giving advice on the dangers of carbon monoxide - the symptoms of poisoning and how to prevent it. Sold in packs of 100. Available in the RoSPA Webshop.
Carbon monoxide and you - On August 3, 2010, Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson, both 18, died from carbon monoxide poisoning at a holiday flat in Castlerock, Co Derry. The families pf the teenagers kindly agreed to work with RoSPA to produce this short film, which contains their personal accounts of the tragedy.
Reduce the risk of being poisoned by the deadly gas carbon monoxide, with these simple tips.
There are approximately 50 accidental deaths per year in the UK from CO poisoning, and over 1,100 cases of recorded admissions to hospital - which can often lead to lasting neurological damage. Many more people are likely to suffer unknowingly from CO poisoning, and the impact on health may well be underestimated. Those most at risk are the under 14s and the over 65s, with these age groups accounting for 31% and 25% of these hospital admissions respectively. Many more people are likely to suffer unknowingly from CO poisoning, and the impact on health may well be underestimated.
Such cases are caused by faulty or badly-serviced gas and other fossil fuel-burning appliances and systems. Carbon monoxide (sometimes referred to by its chemical symbol CO) is known as the silent killer because you can’t see it, hear it, smell it or taste it. With a potentially cold winter ahead, there are concerns that there may be more deaths resulting from poorly-maintained heating systems.
Carbon monoxide can be given off by all fossil fuels. You need to look out for:
- Boiler pilot light flames burning orange, instead of blue
- Sooty stains on or near appliances
- Excessive condensation in the room
- Coal or wood fires that burn slowly or go out
- Families suffering prolonged flu-like symptoms.
Take a few simple precautions to reduce your risk:
- Have your gas appliances serviced annually by a gas engineer who is registered with Gas Safe Register
- Use professionals to service any other fossil-fuel burning appliances such as oil or coal burning stoves annually
- Fix carbon monoxide detectors in your home; these can be purchased from most DIY-type stores
- Ensure that such detectors are maintained and replaced according to packaging instructions.
In 2006 RoSPA and CORGI joined forces to produce five hard-hitting short films, which feature people who have lost relatives, or who have themselves been poisoned.
On April 1, 2009, the Gas Safe Register replaced CORGI as the scheme under which anyone carrying out domestic and commercial gas work must be registered in Great Britain and the Isle of Man. Click here to find out more [Press Office] or visit: www.gassaferegister.co.uk. A film about the change in arrangements can be viewed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyI-j8uGjks
RoSPA's "What is Silent, Invisible and Deadly?" publication is available in the RoSPA Webshop. Call +44 (0)121 248 2233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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