As part of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is urging people to make sure alarms are in good working order. Last month new government regulations came into force making it a legal requirement for landlords to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.
The requirements are enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice. The importance of having carbon monoxide alarms was highlighted earlier this year when a family were suspected of suffering poisoning while on a barge in the market town of Todmorden in Calderdale. The family of six were evacuated from the barge and taken to hospital where investigations took place into the possible poisoning.
According to figures from Project Shout, every year an estimated 50 people in the UK die from carbon monoxide poisoning while 200 people become seriously ill from the effects of it. However, 56% of UK households are without a working carbon monoxide alarm.
Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week runs every year from November 21 to 27. WYFRS deputy chief fire officer Dave Walton said: “Carbon monoxide is an invisible, tasteless and odourless gas that can be deadly. Only working CO alarms can detect its presence and it is a legal requirement to ensure an alarm is provided in rooms which have a fixed combustion appliance, except if it’s a gas cooker.
“These may be guidelines for landlords, but if everyone followed these rules then we would see fewer deaths and illnesses from carbon monoxide poisoning. We want to ensure everyone in West Yorkshire is safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is an opportunity to think about CO safety and take the necessary steps to keep safe. Everyone should test smoke and CO alarms monthly and make sure everyone in your home knows the difference between the two alarm sounds.”
As well as installing alarms, people across West Yorkshire should be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning which includes headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, collapse, loss of consciousness and death. It can poison the body quickly in high concentrations or slowly over long periods. Symptoms of exposure to carbon monoxide may be similar to the flu but without a high temperature. Anyone who suspects they have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should immediately go outside and call 999.
If you have any safety concerns, you can request a free Safe & Well visit from WYFRS fire prevention team. As part of the visit the team will check you have carbon monoxide alarms in place or will help you place them correctly around your home.
To find out if you are eligible for a Safe & Well visit call 0800 5874536 or complete an online form here: https://www.westyorksfire.gov.uk/safe-and-well-visits.