18 April 2011

Recent news about the hidden reality of carbon monoxide deaths should put even more pressure on the industry to recognise and combat the causes of CO poisoning believes Sean Keleher, Quality and Training Manager at Alpha Heating Innovation.

“There have been reports in the national press about official figures relating to injuries and fatalities from carbon monoxide poisoning. Research by The Gas Safety Trust uncovered 83 people in one year just in the London area who were suffering from the effects of CO poisoning. This figure is startling compared to the official reported 86 illnesses in the whole of the UK from 2008-2009.

“Although the danger of CO is something the industry has been aware of and working to educate installers and the public on for some time, this report highlights a potentially worrying lack of awareness.

“There is the possibility that end users are not servicing their appliances regularly due to the worry of increased costs, but installers really need to ensure their customers are fully up to speed on the reality of carbon monoxide poisoning and the steps they can take to reduce the risk.

“The industry has a duty to really hammer home the seriousness of carbon monoxide, the figures from The Gas Safety Trust demonstrate that we’ve still got a way to go.”

Advice from Gas Safe Register

For the safety of you and your family, it is advisable to fit a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in your home.  Just like a smoke alarm which alerts you to the presence of smoke, a carbon monoxide detector will alert you to the presence of CO.

The difference with CO is that it is invisible and has no smell or taste, so you might not realise it is there.

Smoke alarms do not detect carbon monoxide.

What alarm should I fit?
Gas Safe Register recommends the use of audible carbon monoxide alarms marked with British Standard EN 50291. It should also have a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. CO alarms usually have a battery life of up to 5 years.

Fit an alarm in each room with a gas appliance. Read the manufacturer’s instructions before installing it.

Do not use the ‘black spot’ detectors that change colour when carbon monoxide is present, they don’t make a sound. It is important to choose an alarm that will wake you up if you’re asleep, or you may not be aware of early CO symptoms until it is too late.

Where can I get an alarm?
Carbon monoxide alarms are available from DIY retailers and cost around £20. They are usually found in the home security section.

Ask your Gas Safe registered engineer if you are not sure which alarm to buy or how to fit it – your engineer will be able to advise you.

A carbon monoxide alarm is no substitute for correct installation and servicing of your gas appliances. Make sure you get your appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Information coutesy of Gas Safe Register