Annual Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2016

With this week being the annual Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, what better time to reiterate the dangers of this "Silent Killer". Carbon Monoxide poisoning still affects over 4000 people each year. We could all be susceptible to the dangers of carbon monoxide leaks, so it is very important to be aware of how poisoning can occur, and how to prevent it.

So, what is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide is a gas formed from one carbon atom and one oxygen atom, it is formed as a result of partial oxidation of carbon based materials such as coal, oil, wood or gas.

It has no odour, colour or taste, this is why is is often referred to as the silent killer, as it is very difficult to detect.

What are the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

There are six main symptoms to look out for:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Collapsing
  • Loss of consciousness

Unfortunately, these symptoms are very similar to other illnesses such as flue or food poisoning, there fore it is very common for people to mistake these symptoms for something else.

What should i check for?

The following points could be a sign that there is a CO leak in your home:

  • Flames of a yellow or orange colour on your gas hob, instead of the usual blue flame.
  • Dark staining on or around your appliances.
  • A pilot light that continues to blow out.
  • Increased condensation on your windows.

Why should I have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?

This life saving piece of equipment will alert you to the presence of CO in your home.  Although this is not a substitute for ensuring your gas appliances are kept serviced and in good working order, it is a great second line of defence.

You can purchase a CO alarm from most DIY stores and even supermarkets, from as little as £12.  Ensure that the alarm has EN 50291 and also the British Standards kitemark.

We advise to fit an alarm in every room in your home that has a gas appliance.

What should i do if i suspect CO poisoning?

Get fresh air immediately.  Turn off all gas appliances and open windows and doors and leave the house.

Go to the doctors or the hospital and let them know that you suspect you have been exposed to Carbon Monoxide.

Call the gas emergency line on 0800 111 999.

Ask a gas safe registered engineer to check all your gas appliances and flues to see if there is anything dangerous.

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