Don’t fall victim to ‘the silent killer’
HOME Accident Prevention Newtownabbey is warning people to be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
The group used the launch of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2012 (November 19 - 23) to reinforce the message that carbon monoxide can kill in minutes.
The launch event at Mossley Mill was attended by Catherine McFerran and George and Katrina Davidson from Whiteabbey, who set up the Gis A Hug Foundation to raise awareness about ‘the silent killer’ after their teenage sons, Neil and Aaron, were tragically killed by CO poisoning while on holiday in Castlerock in August 2010.
“Events like this provide a great platform to make people aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide. Through raising awareness we aim to reduce incidents, fatalities and ill health due to carbon monoxide poisoning by providing information of how carbon monoxide is caused, how to prevent it and how to detect it,” Mrs McFerran commented.
Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of gas, oil and solid fuels. Common sources of the gas include vehicles running in confined spaces, blocked chimneys and flues, portable fuel burning heaters and defective gas appliances.
It is known as ‘the silent killer’ as it cannot be seen and has no taste or smell. But there are warning signs to look out for including coal or wood fires that burn slowly or go out, sooty stains on or just above oil or gas burning appliances, a gas boiler flame that normally burns blue burning orange or yellow instead.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include flu symptoms without a fever, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness or confusion. Anyone suffering these symptoms is advised to put out their fire or turn off any appliance which could produce CO gas, ventilate their home and see a doctor at once.
To help prevent CO poisoning all heating appliances should be serviced annually by a qualified engineer, chimneys swept regularly and air vents kept free from obstructions.
All householders are also urged to buy and fit an audible CO alarm in their home. Alarms that meet British or European standards (BS Kitemark or EN 50291) cost as little as £20 and can be purchased from DIY stores.
For further information contact Home Accident Prevention Newtownabbey on 9034 0000, visit www.co-awareness.co.uk or log on to www.gisahugfoundation.co.uk
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