It’s been deemed “the silent killer”, and for a very good reason. You can’t smell it, see it or taste it, and yet more than 25 people each year are killed in carbon monoxide-related incidents.
Not only that, but thousands more attend A&E with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, and last year, 264 were hospitalised.
Every year, we hear harrowing stories from the families and friends of those who have died or are hospitalised due to this deadly gas, such as those of Katie and Lucy, and Dominic.
Yet there are very simple steps that we can take to stop this from happening – not least, we can have carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in all homes.
Today, Eddie Hughes MP spoke in the House of Commons on this very important issue, having secured a Ten Minute Rule Motion.
He is calling for CO alarms to be mandatory in all new-build properties, and all rented properties whether in the public or private-rented sector.
He is also asking for fire authorities to be prescribed duties to promote CO safety.
We absolutely agree that these measures will help to prevent future deaths and ease the growing burden on our health services. RoSPA is currently working with partners through the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) in Parliament to seek to achieve these aims.
However, it may be some way down the line before these actions are enshrined into law.
In the meantime, there are actions that every family can take to ensure they are preventing CO from occurring in their own homes, or are prepared for it should it happen:
- Have your gas appliances serviced annually by a gas engineer who is registered with the Gas Safe Register
- Use professionals to service any other fossil-fuel burning appliances such as oil or coal burning stoves annually
- Fit 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.
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.
For more information, see www.rospa.com/home-safety/advice/carbon-monoxide-safety/
Sheila Merrill, public health adviser
Posted: 9/13/2017 2:39:44 PM