Today, the Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! Campaign has published worrying new research that shows that at least 35 million people across Great Britain are still at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Despite 81% of people knowing that carbon monoxide can kill, just 4 in 10 (39%) say they have carbon monoxide alarms in their homes.
This figure is low, but research suggests the real figure may be even lower – with some studies putting the number of homes with alarms at just 1 in 10*.
As carbon monoxide has no taste, smell or colour, the only way to detect it is with an audible alarm, that sounds when the gas is present. The research also uncovered a concerning amount of confusion over which alarms to use – with 42% of those without carbon monoxide alarms saying this is because they have a smoke alarm in their homes.
* In a study, published by Liverpool John Moores University in May 2012, fire fighters conducted checks at 22,182 properties across Merseyside. 90.2% of the properties did not have carbon monoxide alarms.
Five steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
- Fit a carbon monoxide alarm in your home that sounds when the gas is present. This will only take a few minutes and should be done in a central location in the house. The alarm can be fixed to the wall at head height or placed on a table, bookshelf or shelf. Further details are at: www.co-bealarmed.co.uk
- Have fuel-burning appliances serviced annually by a qualified and registered engineer.
- Don’t block ventilation and have chimneys swept at least once a year.
- Know the main symptoms: headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapsing and loss of consciousness. Keys signs are if symptoms clear up when you are away from home and come back when you return, or if other people in your household experience similar symptoms.
- Watch out for soot or yellow/brown staining on or around your appliance, a lazy yellow / orange coloured gas flame rather than a sharp blue one or pilot lights which blow out frequently.