The killer in your home!

Carbon monoxide (CO) is colourless, odourless and tasteless. In sufficient quantities it can result in headaches, nausea, toxicity of the central nervous system and death. It occurs when incomplete combustion occurs, usually due to insufficient oxygen. Carbon monoxide gas is slightly denser than air, so tends to build up from floor level. Not good if you are laying down asleep in your bed.

In Scotland new building regulations, introduced last year, have made carbon monoxide alarms a legal requirement whenever a new boiler or gas appliance is installed. This is also the law in Northern Ireland.  Yet, in the rest of the UK there is no such requirement despite the obvious risk to human life. The NHS says that carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for 50 deaths a year.

As well as sometimes causing death many more people will suffer the often serious side-effects the poison causes, such as sickness, dizziness, stomach pains and shortness of breath – similar to flu. See this NHS page for full details. The biggest danger is too the very young or old and particularly at night-time. Recently three people were rushed to hospital and treated with oxygen by the London Ambulance Service following suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in Willesden following a house fire.

What can you do in your own home to protect yourself and your family? Installing a carbon monoxide alarm, such as those recommended by Blue Watch is a sensible precaution. Having major appliances such as gas boilers or central heating systems regularly serviced is another. Finally, be aware of the risks, and at the first sign don’t take any chances, switch off any suspect equipment, open doors and windows to ventilate and call the Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363.

If you have questions about fire risk assessment, or for help on any aspect of fire safety, call us on 01524 784356 today.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

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