Hemel Hempstead MP encourages residents to keep safe from Carbon Monoxide

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Carbon Monoxide Safety Week runs from November 23 to 29

As part of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, Hemel Hempstead MP, Sir Mike Penning, and gas network Cadent are encouraging residents in Dacorum to make sure they are Carbon Monoxide (CO) safe.

Health experts know that CO exposure leads to more than 30 people a year losing their lives and 200 people being admitted to hospital.

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But it is not yet known how many undiagnosed cases return home, become ill again, or die from continued exposure to CO.

Sir Mike PenningSir Mike Penning
Sir Mike Penning

The experts believe these figures could be a gross underestimation and the actual cost to the NHS is likely to be much more than the current estimate of £178million per annum.

Local gas network Cadent and Sir Mike Penning MP are urging residents to ensure they know how to spot a CO leak, to know what the symptoms of CO poisoning are, and to make sure they are keeping their homes safe by having a carbon monoxide alarm fitted and their gas appliances serviced annually.

Residents who suspect that they may have a carbon monoxide leak in their property, should call the National Gas Emergency number on 0800 111 999.

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Sir Mike said: “Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer and its important that people know how to keep safe.

“As the weather gets colder, and with more of us working from home due to Covid, we need to make sure we are keeping our homes both warm and safe.

“Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is a great reminder to make sure we know how to spot the signs of a CO leak, be able to identify the signs of CO poisoning, and to ensure our homes are safe”.

How to know if there’s a carbon monoxide leak

Despite being colourless and odourless, there are still ways you can identify a carbon monoxide leak within your home.

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There are some symptoms that might feel similar to either a viral infection (such as cold or flu) or tiredness, however if these disappear when you leave the house there’s a chance it could be carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you experience any of the following, you should call a doctor:

- Headaches

- Nausea

- Breathlessness

- Collapse

- Dizziness

- Loss of consciousness.

Other than the physical symptoms, some of the following signs can also mean carbon monoxide is present.

These don’t mean it’s definitely a leak, but are worth being cautious of and getting checked out by a Gas Safe Registered engineer:

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- Gas flame on an appliance appears ‘floppy’ and burns orange or yellow as opposed to blue

- Your pilot light frequently blows out or has a ‘floppy’ flame

- Soot or yellow-brown staining around an appliance

- Seeing or smelling smoke

- Having excessive condensation in a room with a gas appliance.

What can cause a carbon monoxide leak in a house

Carbon monoxide (CO) can be difficult to detect, it is produced when fuels including gas, oil, coal or wood do not burn properly due to:

- An incorrectly fitted gas appliance

- A poorly maintained gas appliance

- A blocked flue, chimney or vent

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- A disposable or gas BBQ that’s not properly extinguished (these should always be left outside once used).

Gas appliances which can omit carbon monoxide include:

- Free-standing gas heaters

- Gas cookers

- Gas fires

- Boilers and water heaters.

Carbon monoxide leak: What to do to protect yourself

There are three simple steps you can take in order to safeguard you and your loved ones from the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, which are:

1. Identify the danger. Knowing the symptoms and signs of a carbon monoxide leak plays a key role in identifying danger.

2. ​Have your gas appliances serviced annually. Take note of all the gas appliances in your home and make sure they’re checked by a qualified Gas Safe Engineer annually. Keep a note of the date in your diary or smartphone as an extra precaution, so you don’t forget.

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3. Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms are available from most DIY shops and supermarkets. Always make sure they comply with British Standard Kitemark BS EN50291-1 (for home use) or BS EN50291-2 (caravans, camping and boats). Once you have one in place, make sure the batteries are always kept fresh.

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