Council warning over the ‘silent killer’ —carbon monoxide gas

NOW is the best time for Hucknall residents to get their fires and boilers checked to avoid the ‘silent killer’ that is carbon monoxide gas, warns Ashfield District Council.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to lifelong health problems and even death and is caused by faulty fuel appliances leaking the lethal gas.

“This poisonous gas can’t be seen, smelled or tasted,” said a council spokesman. “Any symptoms of early onset carbon monoxide poisoning can be mistaken for common flu.”

Symptoms include prolonged headaches, breathlessness, nausea and vomiting, chest pains, drowsiness and dizziness or fainting.

The spokesman added: “If you suspect someone is showing signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and fumes might be escaping, turn the appliance off, open all windows and doors to ventilate the area and then leave the building before seeking medical attention.”

Before reusing the appliance the council suggests getting it serviced and cleaned and not to use it unless you are told it is safe to do so.

To help prevent the risk of gas leakage and while the weather is warmer and you don’t need your central heating on, get your appliances checked and cleaned by a reputable engineer.

Those servicing oil-fuelled appliances should be OFTEC registered, gas should be Gas Safe registered and solid fuel HETAS registered.

“There are also carbon monoxide alarms (pictured right) available which are especially useful for older relatives who may live alone,” added the spokesman.

“Like a smoke alarm, it should be tested regularly, but it is not an alternative to getting appliances tested.

“The recommended service for an appliance or to sweep a chimney is once a year.”

Summer is also the time for festivals and camping holidays where barbecues are popular. Don’t forget a smouldering barbecue can also prove a killer if not kept in a well ventilated space as they emit carbon monoxide gas.

Problems arise when campers become tempted to take a barbecue or gas stove into tents, awnings, caravans and motorhomes in order to keep warm or to shelter from the rain. RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) strongly advises people not to do this.

For more information about carbon monoxide visit www.becarbonmonoxideaware.com.