Mothers urge householders to fit CO alarms

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The mothers of two Whiteabbey teenagers who died from carbon monoxide poisoning have lent their support to a campaign highlighting the risks posed by the potentially lethal gas.

Catherine McFerran and Katrina Davidson’s 18-year-old sons, Neil and Aaron, died in 2010 following a carbon monoxide leak at their holiday apartment in Castlerock.

The two women are supporting the Carbon Monoxide - Be Alarmed! campaign, which in a study last month found that more than half of the population are at risk because they do not have an alarm in their home to detect the gas.

“Since our sons were cruelly taken from us by this silent killer, we have campaigned to try to prevent similar tragedies,” Catherine McFerran and Katrina Davidson said in a joint statement.

“Carbon monoxide alarms are now compulsory for all new homes in Northern Ireland and when new appliances are installed in Scotland, but many people in older homes or in the rest of the UK may still be at risk.”

The two women, who set up the Gis-A-Hug Foundation to raise awareness about the dangers of CO poisoning, added: “Make sure you and your loved ones are protected, make sure you have a working, audible carbon monoxide alarm in your home. It is not a risk worth taking.”

Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer because it has no smell, colour or taste and can be produced by faulty or poorly ventilated fuel-burning appliances.

Dr Rob Hicks, GP and medical commentator, said: “At high levels, carbon monoxide can kill you in a matter of minutes. At lower levels, it can cause a range of serious and long-term health problems.

“The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very hard to recognise, even for doctors, as they are similar to many common illnesses like flu. This makes it very easy to miss the warning signs, with life-threatening consequences. Don’t take the risk. Most people wouldn’t dream of not having a smoke alarm - it should be the same with carbon monoxide alarms.”