Brit Confused?Posted October 31, 2012
AvantiGas talk through the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning to ensure you know what these are and how to take action to help save lives.
In a recent UK survey undertaken by the Gas Safe Register, it was found that over half of people mistakenly thought that memory loss and a funny taste in the mouth are key symptoms of CO poisoning*. The 6 main symptoms of CO poisoning are in fact:
- Loss of consciousness
You cannot see, taste or smell Carbon Monoxide, which is why it is known as the silent killer and claims 50 lives every year and another 4,000 are treated in hospital. It is therefore important that you have a CO alarm fitted in your home and have gas safety checks carried out on a yearly basis. A Gas Safe Registered engineer will ensure your appliances are safe and advise you of any further action that may be required to make your home more gas safe. You can find a Registered engineer by visiting the Gas Safe Register website www.gassaferegister.co.uk If you experience the above symptoms or feel you are unwell from Carbon Monoxide poisoning please seek medical advice immediately.
CO poisoning can be caused by badly fitted or maintained gas cookers, fire and boilers. Even if you ensure you get your appliances serviced regularly by registered engineers, it is still important to be able to recognise the signs that CO may be present, in order to take action. This knowledge and understanding could help save lives. Signs that your gas appliances may be leaking include:
- Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- Lazy yellow or orange flames on a cooker (instead of blue)
- Dark staining around or on appliances
- Increased condensation inside windows
The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning can be devastating, yet it is easily preventable. Almost two thirds of people in Great Britain are putting themselves at risk because they don’t have a Carbon Monoxide alarm**. The easiest way to protect yourself and your family is by getting an alarm that makes a loud noise when the gas is present (‘Black Spot’ indicators are not accurate and don’t alert you). Alarms are available to purchase at DIY stores and some supermarkets (ensure it’s marked with the ‘EN50291′ standard) and can be bought at a cost of around £15, which is a small price to pay to potentially save a life. For more information on how to fit an alarm please visit www.co-bealarmed.co.uk/how-to-stay-safe/fit-an-alarm/ However please remember that carbon monoxide alarms must never be used in place of annual safety checks – they are a second line of defence. There is no alternative to proper installation and maintenance of your appliances.
Another precaution you should take against CO poisoning is to ensure all appliances in your home have adequate ventilation. Any blockage can alter the combustion balance for your appliances to work correctly, causing Carbon Monoxide to come in to your home. Make sure chimneys are swept at least once a year, fire’s are emptied daily, flue ways at the back of the boiler are cleaned weekly and all heaters in your home are well ventilated. It is also a good idea to check outside vents are clear of any vegetation.
In an emergency
- Ventilate. Open doors/windows and go outdoors for fresh air.
- Seek medical advice. Either from a doctor or call 999 in an emergency.
- Turn off appliances. Do not use them until they’ve been checked by a registered engineer.
- Call the emergency advice line. For gas emergency this is 0800 111 999.
- Do NOT create a spark. Do not smoke or touch light switches.
* Gas Safe Register