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Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month

Recently we have redecorated our hallway, this included moving our fire alarm and carbon monoxide alarm and my children asked what the alarms were used for.  The fire alarm was an easy answer (they are in year 2 and have just completed a project about the Great Fire of London, which included a visit from our local fire crew!), the carbon monoxide alarm brought up a few more questions, some of which I had to look up the answers for…

 

To mark this year’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month (November 2017), npower has released findings from its annual carbon monoxide (CO) research to highlight how at risk the UK could be from CO poisoning. The results show there is a clear disparity between the UK’s awareness of CO poisoning and the UK’s actual understanding of what the symptoms are, which appliances can be a cause and also what people should do if they suspect they are suffering from CO poisoning.

 

The research sheds light on how Britons could be worryingly underprepared to spot cases of CO poisoning. Despite 96 per cent of the UK saying they know CO poisoning can be fatal, less than five per cent are actually able to correctly identify the most common symptoms.

 

 

Dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, tiredness and confusion, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, and stomach pain are the most common symptoms of CO poisoning.

 

 

My children found it hard to understand how the alarm works, especially when I explained that carbon monoxide is completely invisible, has no smell and no taste.  But it does work and the only definitive way to detect a leak is with a CO alarm, but despite this, less than two thirds of UK homes have one installed.

 

 

The top three reasons people gave to justify not having a CO alarm were: It’s on my to do list – I just haven’t done it yet, I’ve never had one before and I don’t think I need one.

 

Really? Scary facts. In fact, so scary that my children became a little worried.  We reassured them by showing them the light on our alarm that glows to show that it is working correctly and also joined with the npower #COMonsters campaign…

 

To get more people talking about the dangers of CO poisoning this Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month, npower is inviting children across the country to bring the risks of CO to life by drawing what they think the deadly gas would look like if it wasn’t invisible. The aim is for lots of ‘CO monsters’ to be shared across social media with the hashtag #COMonsters which could ultimately help to reduce the number of completely preventable deaths every year.

 

 

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood don’t fully burn, so incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated household appliances like boilers, cookers and fires – both gas and solid fuel, can all be causes of CO poisoning.

 

The research also shows that almost two thirds of the UK have not had their boilers serviced in the last year.

 

I have to admit to being in this group – a quick phone call to our plumber and our appointment is made for our service.  It’s a little like the dentist; you don’t really want to make the appointment but do it straight away – go on, book today…

 

 

When respondents were asked what they would do if they thought they were suffering from CO poisoning, only half said they would go to hospital. If you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from CO poisoning, you should: stop using all appliances, open doors and windows, evacuate the property immediately, call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident, don’t go back into the property and seek immediate medical help

 

It is a little scary, but with the correct procedures in place you are unlikely to experience your alarm going off.  Don’t be one of the unlucky one’s, ensure you fit a CO alarm, test it, know the symptoms and arrange annual boiler checks.

 

 

*Collaborative post.

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