It’s often called the ‘silent killer’, and has rarely been out of the news over the last few weeks, after the UK Fire Services revealed that carbon monoxide poisonings rose from 2,450 incidents in 2014 to 3,249 in the last 12 months - an increase of 32%.
Worryingly, around 60 people are accidentally killed by carbon monoxide each year. In the short-term it can cause dizziness, sickness, tiredness and stomach pain, while prolonged exposure can lead to loss of consciousness and have a significant impact on your mental state, coordination and heart health.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is produced when fuel doesn’t burn properly - usually from badly-fitted or poorly maintained appliances. Though carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas, it has no smell or taste, so it's not obvious when someone has been exposed to it. Just breathing it in can make you very unwell and it can kill if you’re exposed to high levels.
It’s particularly dangerous as symptoms can often be mistaken for a very bad cold, the flu, or even a bad hangover, so it can be easily missed. The very young and elderly are most vulnerable.
Boiler Plan, specialists in the installation, service and repair of boilers, have put together four simple yet essential tips to help prevent the public from falling victim to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Service: Servicing and maintaining appliances regularly is the easiest and most effective way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Boilers, cookers, heating systems and other appliances should be installed and regularly serviced by a reputable and registered engineer.
Alarm: Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed. Having an alarm in the home will alert residents if there is a carbon monoxide leak.
Flu like symptoms: The best thing you can do is put steps in place to reduce the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, if you suspect you or someone else is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning they need to assess how they feel. The symptoms can often feel like flu but it does NOT cause a high temperature. If you suspect a leak and feel unwell, seek medical help immediately.
Extractor fan: Using an extractor fan while cooking can have a significant impact on the reduction of carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure that one is fitted in the kitchen and ALWAYS use it when cooking.
Ian Henderson, Founder and Managing Director of Boiler Plan, said: “It’s extremely worrying to read the news that carbon monoxide poisonings have increased by 32% since 2014. We recommend purchasing and installing a carbon monoxide alarm as they can save lives and they are so affordable.
We’d also highly recommend getting your boiler and gas appliances serviced annually by a gas safe registered engineer – this is a required qualification by law for anyone who works with gas. Listen to professionals, get protected and stay safe.”
For further information about Boiler Plan’s installation, servicing and repair offering, visit their website. https://www.boilerplanuk.com/servicing-and-repairs/