People ought to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors before the clocks go back on October 26th.
This is the message of CO awareness campaigner Melissa Matthews, who told the Harlow Star that as the gas is invisible, odourless, tasteless and highly poisonous, it can “claim lives quickly with no warning”.
Human senses cannot detect CO, and its early symptoms are very similar to those of the flu, so many people do not realise they are suffering from Carbon Monoxide poisoning until it is too late.
Ms Matthews, who is known as a ‘CO Angel’, has been dedicated to raising awareness of the danger of the gas after her brother, Tony, lost his life in 1999. Tony put some bread in his defective gas grill, but then went to bed and succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning in his sleep.
Faulty, badly-maintained and improperly-serviced gas appliances pose a serious danger to UK residents, as they can lead to gas leaks, CO poisoning, explosion and fire. The danger posed by gas appliances is not isolated to the property the appliance is fitted in – CO can leak into adjoining properties and cause health problems for their occupants.
Exposure to small amounts of CO over a short period of time can be all it takes to take someone’s life, and those who survive can suffer long-term health implications, including irreparable brain damage.
Harlow MP Robert Halfon told the newspaper that “too many people” put themselves in danger of CO poisoning by failing to check that their gas appliances operate safely and efficiently.
He offered his thanks to Meliissa Matthews for her work to raise awareness of CO, and urged health authorities and Harlow Council to work together to “make Harlow a Carbon Monoxide Awareness Town”.
While annual gas appliance services and rapid boiler repairs are a good way to avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide, the only way for people to detect the presence of the gas in their property is to purchase a carbon monoxide alarm and check this alarm works properly and is placed correctly.
Watch out for the following symptoms – if you notice these symptoms, you could be suffering from CO poisoning.
- Breathing difficulties
- Loss of consciousness