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Carbon Monoxide - Silent Killer

No, it's not a mime artist with a silencer - this post is about CO or, for those of us who weren't paying attention in our chemistry lessons, Carbon Monoxide.

Danger - Carbon Monoxide sign

This week is Carbon Monoxide awareness week. You can't see it, you can't touch it, and you can't taste it, but CO kills around 40 people in the UK every year. A further 200 are hospitalised with suspected CO poisoning. The symptoms - headaches, dizziness, nausea, and breathlessness - could be mistaken for any number of other things, and by the time collapse and unconsciousness hit, it could already be too late. Even very low levels of carbon monoxide, when breathed in over an extended period of time, can cause serious long term problems like paralysis and brain damage.


What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is created by the incomplete burning of fuel - fire needs oxygen, but in an enclosed environment as the oxygen is used up it is replaced with carbon dioxide. If you get a build up of carbon dioxide the fuel isn't able to burn away fully and that's when you get carbon monoxide. The chief causes of build up are blocked ventilation, and incorrectly fitted and / or badly maintained gas appliances.

For more on the science behind it all, check out this video on YouTube. When you breathe CO in it prevents your red blood cells from carrying oxygen, which is what will result in death if left unchecked.


It COuld Happen To You
Alex Mitchell, Cwmbran victim of CO poisoningJordan Ball and Dean Lewis, Cwmbran vicitims of CO poisoning

I live in Cwmbran, a town that has seen more than its fair share of carbon monoxide related tragedy over the last decade. In 2005 14-year-old Alex Mitchell was found dead by her mother - the 'rogue' tradesman who fitted their gas fire was later jailed for two years. (There is a Facebook awareness page for her HERE, and there is an annual 'Alex's Shield' award given to a Fairwater High pupil who excels in music.) Then in 2009 18-year-old Jordan Ball and 19-year-old Dean Lewis died of carbon monoxide poisoning; the culprit was a faulty gas heater in the summer house they were sleeping in after a night out. I never knew them - but I could have, and that is a sobering thought.


How can I stay safe?

The most important thing is to make sure your appliances are installed and then regularly serviced.by a Gas Safe registered engineer. In the last three years 1/6 of homes inspected by the Gas Safe Register had an unsafe gas appliance, and 1/11 had an unsafe boiler. CORGI Home Plan found that 7% of UK boilers have never been serviced at all. Don't be another shocking statistic! Get yourself a carbon monoxide alarm - they work in a way similar to a traditional smoke alarm, and can be taken with you on holiday for extra peace of mind. CO alarms need to be replaced every five years or so, and you should check the batteries regularly.

If you think you have inhaled carbon monoxide gas, you need to turn off your appliance and leave the house. Once out in the fresh air ring the National Gas Emergency Helpline (it covers gas and CO leaks) on 0800 111 999.




CORGI Home Plan are raising awareness of carbon monoxide by asking How often do you check yours? They are also giving away a FireAngel carbon monoxide alarm to one lucky reader! You can get up to five entries by filling out the Gleam form below:

This competition has now ended.

Comments

  1. I think this is fabulous for raising awareness, well done you! x

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  2. Yes I do & I bought my parents one too

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  3. no, we don't have any gas but mam does and we made sure she got one

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  4. Yes I do. We have got a caravan so we are going to get one for that as well.

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  5. No, but hope to buy one soon.

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  6. Great work raising awareness, it's scary how CO poisoning can kill without anyone even noticing. My husband is a fireman and so we have CO alarms everywhere, but before I met him I didn't really know much about CO. It's so important to raise awareness about this #FindTribe

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  7. Great post and giveaway makes you think twice.Hopefully persuades those that don't already have an alarm to buy one whether you win they give away or not

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  8. Yes but it doesnt work
    Claire D

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  9. We have one both on our house and in the gite. Why wouldn't you?

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  10. Yes just one though!
    AShleigh

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  11. yes, have had one for quite some time

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  12. No - We only recently had gas central heating put in. We have been meaning to look into getting one.

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  13. Very important product

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  14. Yes, we have had one for a few years now x

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  15. Not yet but have been thinking about it

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  16. Yes, I have 3 that expire soon ...

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  17. No I dont currently have one which does make me worry

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  18. No, when it broke I never got round to replacing it

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  19. We do have one, but could probably do with replacing as we've had it several years.

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  20. These are just as important as fire and intruder alarms, anything to keep our families safe

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  21. i have one in the room with my coal fire but now realied i should have one for my gas fire. Never thought about the dangers of carbonmonoxide on holiday - I'll remember from now on though.

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  22. I dont but would love too Please xx

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  23. Unfortunately, I don't currently have a CO detector/alarm.

    I have to add, of all the blog campaigns I've seen raising awareness, this one has impacted me the most.

    ~ Anthony G

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  24. Yes it's an absolute must just like smoke/fire alarms

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  25. What a worthwhile giveaway. I've been meaning to get a new one for ages, you've just reminded me about it again, thanks.

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  26. I hope that the awareness week really helped. It's something I was nervous abotu when had my son and I had one waiting in his room. I'm sorry your town has seen such tragedy. Thank you for linking to #findtribe

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    Replies
    1. Me too - I think because it's received such a lot of coverage locally I've always been more worried about it than a lot of people I know from further afield. x

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  27. I dont have one, but they look very necessary.

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  28. Yes we do, have a very old boiler so we need one

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  29. No, this post has made me feel a little bit guilty. Got posh smoke detectors and thought that was it. Thanks for the heads up.

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  30. yes, I do, but I need some more for my kids' student accommodation

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  31. Yes but I do need a new one.

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  32. I have one upstairs, but I would love one for downstairs too.

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  33. no don't currently have one but top of the to do list

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  34. We don't have one which is now concerning me, thank you for sharing this blog post, fab giveaway x

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  35. Not yet so thanks for the reminder to take action.

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  36. No i did have one a while back but it stopped working so winning this would be perfect thank you

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  37. We don't have one yet, but I really want to get one. Especially now that the heating is going to be on more.

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  38. I do have one but it needs replacing early 2016. The peace of mine of having one in place is a relief.

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  39. We do, and I would love to win one for my in-laws

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  40. I don't have one at the moment, we probably should do

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  41. No I don't have one at the moment.

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  42. I don't have one

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  43. No but think I ought to get one

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  44. Yes - but I would like a new one - I'm not convinced this one works

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  45. I have 1 smoke alarm and that's it

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  46. only smoke alarms

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  47. Every home should have one (I have) - preferably two - twice the coverage, twice the safety

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  48. Yes we have one alarm on top of the fridge freezer

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  49. we dont have gas. my older children need one.

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  50. Yes, on top floor near the central heating boiler

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  51. No we don't have one in this house :(

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  52. We have 1 in our lounge which is a few years old now

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  53. No, but we just exchanged contracts on our first house so I know we should get one

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  54. I have quite a new boiler but still need to get one of these ASAP - this would be great!

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  55. We have not got one - we do have smoke alarms and keep saying must get one

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  56. We have two but want one for my mother in law who is 74 and doesn't have one

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  57. I have one but would like one for downstairs too!

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  58. I do not have a gas supply but would like to win an alarm for my grandchildren's safety.

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  59. A smoke alarm but am thinking about getting a carbon one. (@PeanutHog)

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  60. I dont have one yet

    Trevor Linvell

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  61. No I don't although I keep meaning to get one

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  62. no I haven't got one

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  63. Yes we do but it's expiry date is soon.

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  64. No I don't.......

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