Carbon Monoxide Awareness
You cannot smell it, taste it or see it but Carbon Monoxide (CO) can kill in an instant or more slowly. Symptoms are often like a flu or cold, which makes it difficult to diagnose.
It is produced by faulty or badly ventilated boilers, cookers, or open fires. It can build up when flues, chimneys or vents are blocked. Lit barbeques can emit carbon monoxide, as can apparently extinguished embers.
Millions are at risk from this silent killer and nearly one person a week dies with about four thousand people having to be hospitalised with non-fatal health problems ranging from headaches and drowsiness to lasting brain and nervous system damage.
Young children and elderly people are particularly at risk from carbon poisoning because their bodies are less able to withstand the effects.
Pregnant women should are putting their unborn child at risk.
The only way for people to protect themselves is by installing an audible alarm. And it is wise to have your boiler regularly serviced by a registered and qualified engineer. But nearly half of us do not have an audible alarm and have not had our gas boiler serviced in the last year.
CO alarms are available at supermarkets, DIY stores high street shops or directly from energy suppliers.