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Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! Campaign opens up opportunities for gas workers

A new campaign warning of the dangers of carbon monoxide is being backed by local authorities across the country, and is set to open up a range of new opportunities for gas fitters.

The Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! Campaign is aiming to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by carbon monoxide in the UK each year. It is being run by Energy UK on behalf of British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, ScottishPower and SSE, in partnership with the Dominic Rodgers Trust, and is urging people to take safety measures to ensure that they are protected against the potentially deadly gas, which can leach from appliances including ill fitted or old and inefficient boilers.

It is crucial that homeowners and tenants ensure that all gas appliances, including gas fires, boilers and cookers, are checked on a regular basis by a qualified engineer who is registered with Gas Safe.

Epping Forest District Council has confirmed that carbon monoxide can be produced by any fuel-burning appliance, and, as a result of its lack of colour, smell or taste, is difficult to identify until it is too late.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can affect people’s mental ability before they are aware that there is a problem and, without adequate ventilation, people breathing in the gas can be seriously injured or killed by the toxic gas. According to figures from the Department of Health, 50 people die in the UK every year from carbon monoxide poisoning, while another 4,000 are treated in hospital.

The campaign is keen to encourage homeowners and tenants to install carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, as recent research has shown that many households are currently without one.

Dr Rob Hicks, who is supporting the campaign, said: “At high levels, carbon monoxide can kill you in a matter of minutes. At lower levels, it can cause a range of serious and long-term health problems. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very hard to recognise, even for doctors, as they are similar to many common illnesses like flu and food poisoning.

“This makes it very easy to miss the warning signs, with life-threatening consequences. Don’t take the risk. Most people wouldn’t dream of not having a smoke alarm – it should be the same with carbon monoxide alarms. Make sure you have an audible carbon monoxide alarm, and that it works,” added Mr Hicks.