Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are supporting National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (23-29 November 2020), alongside other emergency services throughout the country.
The week aims to raise the profile of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO). Carbon Monoxide kills; you can’t see it, taste it, or smell it. Last year over 60 people lost their lives to CO with Fire and Rescue Service’s across the country seeing an increase in CO related incidents. Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service will be sharing a range of informative resources via the council’s website and CFRS’s social media channels.
Know the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning:
CO gas is known as the ‘silent killer’ as it has no smell, taste or colour. People often don’t realise that they are being overcome by fumes until it is too late. The symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness, which can easily be mistaken for something else.
It can be produced by any appliances burning gas, wood, oil or coal. There are still deaths each year from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Approximately 15 million households in the UK are at risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning because they do not have an audible alarm.
Steps to keep your household safe:
Fit an audible alarm – Audible Carbon Monoxide alarms can be bought from many DIY stores, supermarkets and energy suppliers for around £20. If you are a tenant, your landlord may provide you with one. We do not recommend the use of ‘Black Spot’ indicators as these are often inaccurate and will not alert or wake you if Carbon Monoxide is present.
Service your appliances – Make sure all fuel-burning appliances are serviced annually by an engineer who is qualified and registered with the appropriate organisation: Gas Safe Register (gas), HETAS (solid fuel) or OFTEC (oil). If you live in rented accommodation with gas appliances your landlord must provide you with proof that a registered engineer has serviced, the gas appliances within the last 12 months.
Don’t block ventilation – Make sure that vents, flues and chimneys aren’t blocked. Chimneys should be swept at least once a year – or more often if used heavily.
Know the signs – The six main symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness. A key indication that Carbon Monoxide may be the cause is if symptoms disappear or get better when you leave the home and come back when you return. Look out for staining on or around your appliance and for gas appliances burning with a lazy yellow or orange flame rather than a sharp blue one. Excessive condensation in the room where the appliance is installed is another sign.
You can request a FREE safe and well visit from Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service to make sure your CO detector is working and to get advice on making your home as protected as possible from fire risk.
You can find out more information here: https://cumbria.gov.uk/cumbriafire/services/safetyathome/default.asp
Craig Drinkald, Area Manager responsible for the Service’s Prevention and Protection activity, said: “It’s part of the Service’s DNA to work hard, to keep people and properties safe, and ensure support is provided to those who may be living in vulnerable circumstances.
“This week we will share useful advice and resources to support our communities. Please make use of the free Safe and Well visits the Service offers. We’ve adapted the visits due to Covid-19 and the first part of the visit will be undertaken over the phone. If we feel like you need a physical visit, our teams will be sent to your house in full PPE following Government Guidance.”