Gas Safety Week 2019 – How aware are you of the dangers from carbon monoxide?

How aware are you of the dangers poorly maintained gas appliances pose to you and your loved ones? This year Gas Safety Week (16th – 22nd September) has a particular focus around the most vulnerable of us, ensuring that everybody is aware of the importance of gas safety and looking at ways to protect every member of our society.

Badly maintained gas appliances can have a devastating effect, causing fires, explosions, gas leaks, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that is produced from poorly combusted gas and it can kill within a few breaths. There are no warning signs, you can’t see, smell or taste it! The only way to detect CO is with a carbon monoxide alarm.

Do you know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

With over 50 deaths from CO poisoning every year in the UK and thousands of recorded cases of CO poisoning it is important to know what to look out for.

There are 8 symptoms to be aware of:

Having persistent dull headaches and tension type headaches.

Persistent Headaches

Having waves of dizziness or feeling light headed and off balance.

Dizziness

Feeling like you need to be sick (nausea) and actually being sick (vomiting)

Nausea / Vomiting

Pains in your stomach or lower abdomen, sometimes accompanied by diarrhoea.

Stomach Pains

Sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (dyspnoea)

Difficulty Breathing

Having no energy or feeling tired, sleepy, lethargic and sluggish.

Tiredness

Sudden collapse, seizures or loss of consciousness.

Sudden Collapse

Confusion, difficulty concentrating and becoming easily irritated.

Confusion

If you, or someone you know, has any of these symptoms, which improve when they leave the house, the chances are that carbon monoxide is present in their home.

What to do if you suspect there is a carbon monoxide leak

If you think there is carbon monoxide leaking into your home you should:

  • Open doors and windows to let fresh air in and turn off your gas appliances before leaving the building
  • Call your gas provider or a Gas Safe Registered Engineer
  • Inform your neighbours, CO can penetrate walls and seep into adjoining properties
  • Seek medical advice
  • DO NOT ENTER your property until you have been told it is safe to do so
  • Install a CO alarm for an early warning signal that the deadly gas is present

How to stay safe

Ensure that gas appliances are well maintained and checked at least once a year by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. Once you had an appliance serviced it is important to regularly check that it continues to work correctly, for example, gas cooker nozzles may become partially blocked by food, causing the gas not to burn correctly. If you notice any of the following signs, then your gas appliance may not be working correctly.

  • Dull yellow or orange flames
  • Black marks on your appliance or on walls near them
  • A pilot light that frequently goes out
  • Higher than normal amounts of condensation in the room where the appliance is

While thinking about your own gas appliances and how safe they are, have you thought about checking the safety of elderly relatives, too? With deterioration in eyesight and an increased chance of having a disease that affects memory, such as dementia, elderly people are particularly vulnerable. Gas cookers and gas fires can accidentally be left on and an elderly person may not notice that their gas appliance has an orange flame.

Fit a carbon monoxide alarm for peace of mind. The alarm will sound and give early warning sign that CO is present, enabling early evacuation and repair of appliances. Alarms such as the Kidde 5DCO have a digital display, which will display the CO concentration even if there are only very low levels of CO, giving you advanced warning of CO before the levels become dangerously high. If the CO gas levels rise to a dangerous level, the 5DCO will sound the full alarm.

If you would like further advice please call our customer care team on 0800 612 6537.

Gas Emergency Services: 0800 111 999

Angie Dewick-Eisele

Angie Dewick-Eisele

Marketing Manager

Angie has been our marketing manager since joining in 2002. She also has a keen interest in H&S issues.

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Do I need a Carbon Monoxide alarm?

All homes that have a fuel burning appliance, such as gas powered boilers, heaters, ovens, stoves and open fire places, should have at least one carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. As reported in a recent ITV news article, carbon monoxide kills around 50 people every year in England and Wales. (The NHS website estimates this figure to be even higher at around 60 fatalities each year). The article quotes the UK Fire Services that incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning have risen by 32% over the last five years. Campaigners on the dangers of carbon monoxide state that over 40 million Britons are at risk. But you don’t have to be one of the statistics.

Known as the Silent Killer, carbon monoxide is created from the inefficient burning of gas and solid fuel. Having your appliances properly serviced, maintained and tested is essential to ensure it is properly working, but this is not a guarantee that you will be safe. Faults can and do develop between inspections.

Even if your home is supplied and heated only with electrical appliances there are still risks. Carbon monoxide can seep through seemingly impermeable walls and can enter your home from a faulty appliance of your neighbour as well as from adjoining garages that house vehicles and petrol-fuelled equipment such as lawnmowers.

Carbon monoxide alarms are now more affordable, more reliable and more discreet than ever before. Every one of our CO alarm range is certified to BS EN 50291 Part 1 which defines the standard that CO alarms must be made to for use in the home. We even stock a range that are suitable for camping, caravans and travel when gas cookers and heaters are commonly used (these alarms are certified to BS EN50291-2).

For greater peace of mind an alarm with digital display, like the Kidde 5DCO carbon monoxide alarm, will enable you to see exactly what levels of CO are in your home, so you can check your appliances before CO levels become dangerously high.

For further advice or to discuss our wider range of carbon monoxide alarms, call today on 0800 612 6537.

See our full range of CO alarms
Our full range of CO alarms covers every need for every home
John Reetham

John Reetham

Product Administrator

John is one of our product administrators. He has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to fire extinguishers and evacuation equipment.

Carbon monoxide likely cause of fishermen’s deaths

boatTwo young fishermen have been found dead on a trawler moored in Whitby Harbour, North Yorkshire. Early reports suggest the men suffered carbon monoxide poisoning, having left an oven ring burning throughout the night to provide heat.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas – often dubbed the ‘Silent Killer’ – and can kill quickly if inhaled in high concentrations.

Following a similar incident in April 2013, when  a mother and her 10 year old daughter died on Lake Windermere, MP Barry Sheerman, chairman of the All-party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG), urged boaters to safeguard against the noxious gas by following Boat Safety Scheme advice.

This advice can be found in a booklet Safelincs produced in conjunction with Boat Safety Scheme and CoGDEM  (The Council of Gas Detection and Carbon Monoxide Monitoring).

Printed copies are available free of charge from Safelincs.

Everybody – home owners and caravan owners as well as boat owners – should have a carbon monoxide alarm, but these are not a substitute for the good installation, regular servicing and proper maintenance of fuel burning appliances and engines.

Safelincs works with brain injury charity

Safelincs has formed a relationship with brain injury charity Headway to increase the awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, to raise funds for the charity and to emphasise the importance of installing a CO alarm.

HeadwayLogoSafelincs has created a Headway branded subsite selling CO alarms linked to directly from the Headway main site. We fulfil the orders and for every alarm sold we donate £2 to the charity.

Headway was formed in 1979 to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and to provide information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their families and carers.

CO exposure can lead to anoxic brain injury because it binds very tightly to haemoglobin in the red blood cells and so reduces the amount of oxygen which can be carried in the bloodstream.

Carbon Monoxide is produced if there is not enough oxygen during the combustion process. It is commonly produced in appliances fuelled by Liquefied Petroleum Gas, natural gas, oil, petrol, wood or coal that have been badly fitted, are damaged, badly repaired or poorly maintained.

It is important that appliances are regularly maintained and to have a CO alarm installed. Fatalities have even been known to occur where the deadly gas has leaked from an adjoining property.

Safelincs also offers a dedicated information website to inform about carbon monoxide poisoning.

Don´t Forget to be CO Aware in the Festive Season

A lot of homes are now fitted with central heating and are so well insulated that open fires are only lit on special occasions to create a cosy ambience. For many, Christmas may be the only time they light their fire. Having open fires that are not regularly maintained could put your life at risk.

It is essential that before the festive season begins you ensure that your chimneys have been swept. This ensures that the coal and wood smoke will be expelled properly and will significantly reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is also strongly recommended that you have a co alarm in every room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance; this can include kitchens with gas ovens, boiler rooms or living areas with gas or solid fuel fires.

The symptoms of co poisoning are very similar to that of flu and are therefore often overlooked. One major difference is that the symptoms, including headache, lethargy and nausea, improve when you go outside. Should you suffer from any symptoms related to carbon monoxide poisoning, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. For more information about the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning or to find out more on how to protect yourself, the Carbon Monoxide Info website is full of relevant information.

Safelincs help promote CO awareness with CAPT

Safelincs has entered into an agreement with the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) to help it promote Carbon Monoxide awareness.
CAPT is the UK’s leading charity working to reduce the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents.

Two of the carbon monoxide alarms supplied by Safelincs will have £1 donated to CAPT for each sale.

Safelincs involvement with CAPT comes at a time when the charity is developing a DVD for parents, carers and other interested parties, focusing on the dangers of all types of poisoning. Safelincs is working with the charity to help ensure that CO poisoning is particularly highlighted and will help promote the DVD and other materials when they become available.
To help promote these important messages we have also created an information portal about carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide Issue to be Addressed in Coronation Street

Producers of Coronation Street have been taking advice from the Gas Safe Register about how to realistically portray  the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. The story line of character Fiz Brown being found in a coma due to carbon monoxide poisoning is due to be screened in December.

The show´s bosses want to ensure that this story line is as realistic as possible. They believe that thousands of their viewers may not be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide and hope that this story will not only have them on the edge of their seats but that it will help to spread the awareness of the dangers of this silent killer.

Installing a carbon monoxide alarm could save your life. They are not expensive and easy to install. If you are unsure what carbon monoxide is or how it could affect you, visit this information site

Another tragic death due to carbon monoxide

This weekend the tragic death of a teenager occurred whilst she was camping with her family in Shropshire. The cause is thought to have been carbon monoxide poisoning. The other family members were found unconscious in the tent and taken to hospital.

The carbon monoxide poisoning is believed to have originated from the smouldering embers of a disposable BBQ, which was seen in the porch of their tent. Carbon monoxide can not be seen or smelt. It is paramount that in order to prevent tragic deaths like this, campers are made aware of the dangers of taking cooking equipment into tents for either cooking food or for warmth.

Camping in the UK is slowly changing, as the temperatures are remaining low longer and dropping at night. Anyone planning a camping holiday at this time of year should ensure that they have adequate bedding to keep warm at night and hat they have some form of outside cover to enable them to use BBQs and cookers a safe distance away from the tent, even when it is raining.

Taking a BBQ or cooker into a tent can cause the carbon monoxide to accumulate and linger even once the appliance has been removed. This can then render the occupants unconscious or even cause their death once they go to bed.

Our safety tips are simple: NEVER take a cooker or BBQ into your tent to cook food or as a source of warmth. ALWAYS cook a safe distance away from your tent to prevent any CO from being blown into your tent space.

Be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and irregular heart rate. If you or any person in your tent has these symptoms, seek medical advice.

For more information about carbon monoxide visit www.carbonmonoxideinfo.co.uk

CO alarms in caravans

As we are getting closer to the caravan season starting again it is worthwhile thinking about how to protect yourself against carbon monoxide poisoning. Early in the camping year the temperatures at night are still chilly and there is a temptation to heat the caravan with the remaining ambers of the BBQ enjoyed earlier or to use the rings of your gas cooker to keep you warm. Both can be lethal. The BBQ, especially at low temperatures, produces large amounts of carbon monoxide which cannot be smelled or tasted. The CO gas renders you quickly unconscious and death can be the consequence.

Heating with your gas rings can also be dangerous. Kidde and one of the UK’s caravan manufacturers did some trials with cookers and partly blocked vents. While normal cooking activity with good ventilation only rose the CO levels in the caravan slightly, badly performing gas jets used in conjunction with oversize pans and and standard ventilation raised CO levels to over 100ppm!!!

When the ventilation was blocked the CO levels rose to 400ppm and the trials had to be abandoned for safety reasons!

Never take a BBQ into a caravan, do not heat your caravan with the gas cooker and always use correctly sized pans with correctly adjusted flames when cooking. Also make sure that your ventilation is working well when cooking with gas.

You should also install a CO alarm. It is important to install smoke alarms and CO alarms that have removable batteries fitted. This ensures that through the winter months when caravans are stored and the temperatures are low the batteries can be removed to prevent them from getting damaged and possibly leaking, causing the alarm to require replacement.

However, special care must be taken to place fresh batteries in the alarms at the start of the next season. Wrap your caravan keys in an envelope with a reminder to take new batteries with you!

The Kidde 900-0233 and 900-0230 CO alarms are good CO alarms that can be used in caravans. They have a 7 year warranty.

The alarm will sound if carbon monoxide is detected however, if you charge your car/caravan batteries inside the caravan, the hydrogen coming off the battery will set off the CO alarms, as the hydrogen behaves similar to CO! Never assume that when the alarm goes off it is a false alarm, always take precautions to investigate the cause and ventilate the caravan.

 

 

 

Carbon monoxide loan scheme

Last year we were shocked and deeply saddened when several campers died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.  Many people still do not really know how carbon monoxide can affect them and also how and where it occurs. To help reduce the risk to campers we have launched our Safelincs Campers Carbon Monoxide Campaign.

This campaign focuses on introducing CO alarms on camping sites. We invite camp site owners to get involved by joining our CO alarm loan scheme. We will provide  them with a number of FREE carbon monoxide alarms which they can use to loan to their campers who are concerned about carbon monoxide. We are also providing information leaflets to raise awareness and are hoping to contribute to the reduction in the number of deaths from this silent killer.

The carbon monoxide alarms provided are portable and battery operated.

If you are interested in joining our carbon monoxide loan scheme or would like some information leaflets, please contact us either by e-mail: angie@safelincs.co.uk or phone 01507 464 154.