Would you recognise the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning?
It’s the time of year when cold and flu are rife. Headaches, fatigue and dizziness are symptoms common in those who have caught a nasty winter virus but did you know that these symptoms are also signs of carbon monoxide poisoning? The silent killer has no smell, taste, or colour but acts fast, leaving those affected feeling run down with the symptoms of a common cold as well as nauseous and breathless. Carbon monoxide leaks can cause loss of consciousness and if left undiscovered, can be fatal.
We were woken in the early hours of a cold January morning to find a torch being shone through our letterbox and a man knocking erratically on our front door. At first I thought we were being burgled and panicked, giving our early morning visitor a short shrift when I answered. He quickly announced he had detected high levels of carbon monoxide coming from our property and that our supply needed to be switched off as a matter of urgency.
For a week or so we had all been suffering from headaches and dizziness, we had put it down to the aftermath of an exhausting Christmas and presumed we’d all be feeling better in a few days. Little did we know that our boiler was slowly leaking carbon monoxide, I feared for the 3-year-old and 7 month old asleep just meters away. Not ones for being poorly, it suddenly all made sense.
Within hours an engineer arrived and made our home safe again and we were advised to leave all windows open to cleanse the air. We were exhausted but relieved that our leak had been discovered before it was too late. Our experience taught me to always ensure the safety of my gas appliances, especially during the festive period when it is all too easy to say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’.
The Gas Safe Register have five fantastic tips for staying gas safe this Christmas –
- Only employ a legal Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. You can find a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk
- ‘Trust the Triangle’ and always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which will state which gas appliances they are qualified to work on.
- Sign up for a reminder service to make sure your gas appliances are checked annually: www.staygassafe.co.uk/
- Speak to your energy supplier to see if they can provide a free gas safety check.
- If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.
To find out more about the dangers posed by unsafe gas appliances in your area visit www.StayGasSafe.co.uk, and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer call 0800 408 5500 or visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.