The parents of Newtownabbey teenager Neil McFerran, who along with friend Aaron Davidson, tragically died from carbon monoxide poisoning last August in Castlerock, joined staff at Newtownabbey Borough Council this week to help promote Gas Safety Week (September 12 to 18).
The Gis a Hug Foundation was set up in memory of Neil and Aaron, to raise funds to provide audible carbon monoxide alarms to students, the elderly and the vulnerable and to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide from all fuel burning appliances including those that burn gas, oil, coal and wood. The Mayor, Alderman Billy Webb, has chosen the charity as one which he will support throughout his term in office.
Karen Allen, the council’s Principal Environmental Health Officer explained: “Gas Safety Week gives us the opportunity to put gas safety and the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from fuel burning appliances at the top of everyone’s priority list. Making sure your appliances are safe could save your life. As a secondary precaution, get an audible carbon monoxide alarm and follow the manufacturers instructions for installation. These are available from DIY shops, hardware shops and some supermarkets for around £20.
“Many work premises including restaurants, takeaways, retail shops, wholesalers, residential homes and offices throughout Newtownabbey use gas either (piped or from tanks or cylinders) for heating or cooking. When safely installed, regularly maintained and used properly, gas installations and appliances pose few risks. However, if gas is not managed properly the risk of fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning is greatly increased. Each year in the UK around 14 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by faulty or poorly installed gas appliances.”
For information about protecting yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning call 0800 0320 121 or log on to www.hseni.gov.uk/watchout