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Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide Awareness

As a mother of two young children, I am always wanting to keep my children safe and recently I have been thinking about how to protect ourselves from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide.  After reading that each year in the UK, 200 people are taken to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning and about 40 people die, I felt quite shocked that these figures are so high.  So many families have gas appliances in their homes yet about one in six of them, inspected by the Gas Safe Register over the last three years, have been found to be unsafe.  More alarmingly, they also found that one in eleven have an unsafe boiler.

With this in mind, I think all families need to be aware of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide.  When I stopped using my boiler to heat the house over the summer months, I hoped that the boiler would work again ready for the colder, winter months.  Carbon Monoxide dangers crossed my mind but then I thought nothing more of it as I had recently had my boiler checked by a Gas Safe gas engineer.  As Carbon Monoxide is odourless and colourless, I would have no way of telling if there was a problem with my boiler though.  I didn’t know the warning signs so if there had have been a problem, there would have been potential for a serious consequences.

I found a brilliant microsite from Corgi on how to help families become more aware of the potential dangers of some of the gas appliances in their homes.  As young children and the elderly are most at risk, this guide is a good reference for all homeowners about how to protect themselves and what to do if things go wrong.  One key way to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide is to have a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector in your home. Being an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas, it is easy to inhale it without knowing it. 

Symptoms that you may feel if you do inhale the gas include; headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.  If you only experience these in your home, it could be that Carbon Monoxide is present and you should get your gas appliances checked out as a matter of urgency as well as going straight to the doctor to get yourself checked out.  There is more advice on the Corgi site.  By maintaining your gas appliances (cookers, heaters and boilers, for example) and by having a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home, you can keep yourself and your family safe from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide. I think all families should have a Carbon Monoxide detector in much the same way as each household should have a fire alarm.  Do you have a CO detector in your home?

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