How to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide is a noxious gas that gets produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal or wood don't burn fully. Carbon monoxide binds the oxygen in your blood and can cause flu-like symptoms in the case of mild exposure and death when the exposure is severe.
High exposure to carbon monoxide can cause death within minutes, however even low exposure shouldn't be ignored. If you suspect that you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, you should immediately go to the Accident and Emergency department, where a blood test will determine the level of carbon monoxide you've been exposed to. You may need to be given oxygen to normalise the oxygen levels in your blood, something that just "going out into the fresh air" will not do on its own.
The most important way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is making sure that all your gas appliances are checked regularly. We carry out regular gas safety checks in all our tenants' homes. We will tell you in advance when the tests are planned so be sure to let our gas technician in to perform these tests - this is for your and your family's safety.
Also, if you think that you are overdue a gas safety check, please contact us.
Another important way to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a carbon monoxide detector (pictured). At Origin we install carbon monoxide sensors whenever we install an new gas boiler. Also, homes that have been built within the last two years, have also been equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.
However, if you have an older boiler or live in a flat that is older than two years, you need to install your own carbon monoxide detector. They are available in DIY shops and don't cost much. Ideally, you should have one in the kitchen if you have a gas cooker. You may want to install another one in your bedroom or children's bedroom.
What to do if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak?
*If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds or you suspect a leak you should:
- stop using all appliances, switch them off, and open doors and windows to ventilate the property,
- evacuate the property immediately – stay calm and avoid raising your heart rate,
- call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident,or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363,
- don't go back into the property – wait for advice from the emergency services,
- seek immediate medical help – you may not realise you've been affected by the carbon monoxide, and going outside into fresh air won't treat any exposure by itself.
*(source: NHS Choices)