Carbon Monoxide – the hidden killer
November 28, 2008barriehol
The number of deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning continue at an alarmingly high rate, new figures show.
According to the gas safety watchdog Co-Gas, more than 130 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the last two years. In addition during the same period a further 800 people became seriously ill due to Carbon Monoxide emissions caused by poorly fitted appliances, which use gas or other household carbon based fuels such as coal and wood.
The figures also show that most deaths occur in the winter months and those most at risk are students and senior citizens.
Co-Gas argue that unless legislation is passed to ensure heating appliances are safe these figures can only rise. Of course it is not a simple solution. Forcing people to properly maintain heating boilers and fires through legislation, however laudable the intention, seems impracticable to enforce.
A concerted Government backed campaign to raise awareness is one solution that safety campaigners are lobbying for. They argue that not enough is being done to alert people to the dangers of carbon monoxide.
They also want the hard hitting television advert produced last year to be re-run although the Health and Safety Executive who commissioned the advert apparently have no intention to do so, citing budget constraints.
Carbon monoxide gas is silent, invisible and odourless and kills by stealth. Research shows that CO concentrations of over 60 part per million in air can be dangerous to health.
Householders and landlords have a responsibility to themselves and other occupants to take sensible safety precautions including regular maintenance of appliances. They can also install Carbon Monoxide Detectors which are inexpensive and require no specialist expertise to install. Fire and Safety Centre supply detectors from less than £30 a unit which is certainly a small price to pay for peace of mind.