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Gas safety and carbon monoxide awareness

Carbon monoxide can kill

Every year people die or suffer ill health from carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or maintained often cause this. When gas does not burn properly, as with other fuels such as coal, wood or oil, excess carbon monoxide is produced, which is poisonous.

You can’t see it. You can’t taste it. You can’t smell it. But carbon monoxide can kill without warning in a matter of hours. You are particularly at risk when you are asleep because you cannot recognise the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. These include:

  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Pains in the chest
  • Stomach pains

These symptoms can mimic many common aliments and may easily be confused with flue or simple tiredness. If you or your family experience the above symptoms, and you believe carbon monoxide may be involved, you must seek urgent medical advice.

You are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if:

  • Your appliance was poorly installed
  • Your appliance is not working properly
  • Your appliance has not been checked for safety or maintained regularly
  • There is not enough fresh air in the room
  • Your chimney or flue gets blocked up
  • You allowed non-Gas Safe Registered engineers to install or maintain your appliance(s)

Gas and carbon monoxide leaks, and what to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off

If you smell gas or suspect there is a gas escape, or if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off or you think you have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, you should do the following straight away:

  • Shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve. If gas continues to escape call: Cadent on the Gas Emergency free phone number 0800 111 999
  • Open all doors and windows
  • Do not smoke or use a naked flame
  • Do not use electrical switches including light switches or anything that could cause a spark
  • Keep people away from the area
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