Families in Scotland at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes

New figures show a  third (33 per cent) of homes in Scotland do not have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.
New figures show a third (33 per cent) of homes in Scotland do not have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.

A third of homes in Scotland don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm to help protect people from potentially fatal CO poisoning.

Ahead of this year’s Gas Safety Week (September 18-24), Gas Safe Register and the Fire and Rescue Service are issuing a safety alert to raise awareness of the dangers.

Across the UK 46 per cent of homes currently don’t have a CO alarm, which could leave more than 12 million households at risk from CO poisoning.

When it comes to staying safe at home, three-quarters of people agree that they worry about safety, and spend time ensuring that their home is as safe as it can be, but families in Scotland are more likely to fit a smoke alarm (88 per cent), double glazing (77 per cent) or window locks (69 per cent) than have a CO alarm (67 per cent).

CO poisoning is known as the ‘silent killer’ as you cannot see, taste or smell it. A CO alarm can alert you to the presence of CO, which you may not be aware of.

Ahead of this year’s Gas Safety Week, Gas Safe Register is therefore reminding families of best practice when it comes to ensuring gas appliances are safe.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “We are encouraging families to ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to check that their gas appliances are safe and sound as a first line of defence from potential CO poisoning.

“Worryingly, nearly half (38 per cent) of the people we asked in Scotland didn’t know the signs of dangerous gas appliances – a key cause of CO poisoning. The signs that your gas appliance isn’t working safely are: a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame, soot or staining on or around the appliance, or excess condensation in the room.”

Gary Oakford, Carbon Monoxide Lead for Prevention Coordination Committee, The National Fire Chiefs Council, said: “The National Fire Chiefs Council supports Gas Safety Week 2017 and its aim to raise awareness of gas safety. We have seen the immense value of improving public safety by raising people’s awareness of fire safety and having working smoke alarms in their homes.

“It is for this reason that we welcome the work by Gas Safe Register to ensure that the same approach is adopted for those with gas appliances in their homes by having working carbon monoxide detectors and getting an annual safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer.”

Gas Safe Register is providing three tips to help keep families gas safe at home:

1. Check appliances annually – an annual gas safety check reminder service can be found via www.StayGasSafe.co.uk. Currently only 54 per cent people get annual gas checks.

2. Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – although carbon monoxide (CO) has no smell, taste or colour, symptoms of poisoning include: headaches; dizziness; nausea; breathlessness; collapse and loss of consciousness – all of which can be mistaken for something else.

3. Only employ a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer – you can find a local registered engineer to carry out gas work in your home by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.

Gas Safety Week 2017 is taking place from September 18. Register your support for the Thunderclap here or search #GSW17 on social media.

This Gas Safety Week, Gas Safe Register is looking to create a video to raise awareness about CO poisoning and the best ways to look after gas appliances. If your child would like to take part, please email press@gassaferegister.co.uk.

To find out about dangers in your area visit www.StayGasSafe.co.uk and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer call 0800 408 5500 or visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.