One morning as I walked into the kitchen to make breakfast I noticed our carbon monoxide (CO) detector showed high levels of CO being given out by our boiler. It had a reading of 600 on the digital detector. I ran to wake my partner Dan as I knew we had to get out of the house.
I knew only too well the devastation that carbon monoxide could cause as just three years earlier my best friend, Katie Haines, died following a similar CO leak. Katie and her husband Richard had just returned from their honeymoon in South America when a faulty boiler released a fatal amount of carbon monoxide. Katie lost consciousness and banged her head, causing her to fall in the bath and drown.
"If we didn't have an alarm we would've been dead within three hours."
Had it not been for Katie's death there's no way we would have installed a carbon monoxide alarm. It just wouldn't have crossed our minds that it could happen to us. I believe she saved my life that day. Because of what happened to her, I knew exactly what to do.
As soon as I saw the reading on the alarm, we opened the windows, evacuated the house and sat in the car while we waited for help. When the engineer arrived he confirmed our worst fears; if we didn't have an alarm we would have been dead within three hours.
We were lucky, but many others won't be. Millions of people in our country do not have a CO detector and are putting themselves and their families at risk. More than 4,000 people are hospitalised each year – that's more than 10 a day. CO alarms should be mandatory. I've seen firsthand the misery carbon monoxide poisoning can cause.
I was devastated when Katie passed away. She was bright, beautiful and brilliant – everything you could ask for in a friend. Her friends and family were determined her death wouldn't be in vain and so set up The Katie Haines Memorial Trust, which aims to save lives across the UK by campaigning for mandatory carbon monoxide alarms.
For more advice on how to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide, also known as the silent killer, visit our advice page here.
Posted: 3/10/2016 12:31:14 PM