Over 12 million households at risk of CO poisoning in their homes

Less than half of the nation’s families protect themselves from carbon monoxide (CO)

Ahead of this year’s Gas Safety Week (18-24 September), Gas Safe Register and the Fire and Rescue Service are issuing a safety alert to raise awareness about the number of homes that do not have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm to help defend themselves against CO poisoning, which can be fatal.

Nearly half (46%) of the nation’s homes currently don’t have a CO alarm, which could leave more than 12 million households across the UK at risk from CO poisoning.

When it comes to staying safe at home, three-quarters of people agree that they worry about safety, and spend time ensuring that their home is as safe as it can be, but British families are more likely to fit a smoke alarm (83%), double glazing (76%) or window locks (70%) than have a CO alarm (54%). CO poisoning is known as the ‘silent killer’ as you cannot see, taste or smell it. A CO alarm can alert you to the presence of CO, which you may not be aware of.

Ahead of this year’s Gas Safety Week, Gas Safe Register is therefore reminding families of best practice when it comes to ensuring gas appliances are safe.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said:

“We are encouraging families to ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to check that their gas appliances are safe and sound as a first line of defence from potential CO poisoning. Worryingly, nearly half (46%) of the people we asked didn’t know the signs of dangerous gas appliances – a key cause of CO poisoning. The signs that your gas appliance isn’t working safely are: a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame, soot or staining on or around the appliance, or excess condensation in the room.”

Gary Oakford, Carbon Monoxide Lead for Prevention Coordination Committee, The National Fire Chiefs Council, said:

“The National Fire Chiefs Council supports Gas Safety Week 2017 and its aim to raise awareness of gas safety. We have seen the immense value of improving public safety by raising people’s awareness of fire safety and having working smoke alarms in their homes.

“It is for this reason that we welcome the work by Gas Safe Register to ensure that the same approach is adopted for those with gas appliances in their homes by having working carbon monoxide detectors and getting an annual safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer.”

Gas Safe Register is providing three tips to help keep families gas safe at home:

  1. Check appliances annually – an annual gas safety check reminder service can be found via StayGasSafe.co.uk. Currently only 54% people get annual gas checks.
  2. Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – although carbon monoxide (CO) has no smell, taste or colour, symptoms of poisoning include: headaches; dizziness; nausea; breathlessness; collapse and loss of consciousness – all of which can be mistaken for something else.
  3. Only employ a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer – you can find a local registered engineer to carry out gas work in your home by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting GasSafeRegister.co.uk.

Gas Safety Week 2017 is taking place from 18 September.

To find out about dangers in your area visit StayGasSafe.co.uk and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer call 0800 408 5500 or visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk.