Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week takes place from Monday 21st – Sunday 27th November 2016 and Waxman Training Academy is showing its support. Set up to raise awareness of the danger of carbon monoxide, the campaign is in its eleventh year and gaining momentum annually, but still need further impetus to make a difference.

A highly poisonous gas produced by the incomplete burning of carbon based fuels, Carbon Monoxide is known as ‘the silent killer’ due to its odourless, tasteless and invisible properties. Should Carbon Monoxide be released into to the air, it can raise a worrying health risk for anyone who uses gas, oil or solid fuel to heat their home or businesses. In fact over 50% of all carbon monoxide incidents occur within homes and 20% in businesses.

CO Awareness Week aims to reduce the amount of incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK, by ensuring people are aware of the causes, risks and effects of the dangerous gas. This will help reduce the 40 deaths and 200 hospitalisations that occur in England & Wales, caused by CO Poisoning each year.

Furthermore, the Department of Health indicates that there are around 4,000 attendances to A&E departments, for treatment of CO Poisoning each year in England. This can often lead to lasting neurological damage.

Combine this with the fact that 48% of homes don’t have life saving CO alarms installed and recent news that many CO alarms are unsafe and unreliable, it highlights just how imperative it is for homeowners to understand the warning signs of CO Poisoning, such as:

Prolonged flue like symptoms, suffered by all household members

Orange Pilot light flames instead of blue

Sooty stains on or near appliances

Excessive condensation in the room

Slow burning coal or wood fires

If one or more of these are identified, homeowners or businesses owners should leave the premises and have appliances checked by a trained professional.

In order to reduce the risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, the following precautions should be taken:

  • Have gas appliances serviced annually by a gas engineer who is registered with Gas Safe Register
  • Use professionals to service any other fossil-fuel burning appliances such as oil or coal burning stoves annually
  • Keep rooms well ventilated when using a heating or cooking appliance fuelled by gas, oil or solid fuels such as coal or wood, and use the appliance correctly
  • Have the chimney swept at least once a year
  • Ensure a high quality and audible CO alarm is installed that meets European Standard (EN 50291) and is made by a trusted brand with the BSI Kitemark ™
  • Ensure that such detectors are maintained and replaced according to packaging instructions

By spreading this information among your customers and colleagues you could help reduce the instances of CO Poisoning and the hospitalisations and/or deaths that it causes. Keep checking our blog over the next few weeks to find out more about CO and what we are doing to support Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week.

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