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Cases of suspected carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning have increased

12th September 2019
Posted by Aston Avery

Data from the UK Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) show that cases of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning have risen steadily from 2450 incidents in 2014 to 3249 in 2019. The FRS is usually one of the first emergency services on the scene in the event of a CO leak.

This year’s report by campaign group Project SHOUT has revealed the extent of the problem. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is produced when fuel doesn’t burn properly, usually from badly fitted or poorly maintained appliances. Common sources of CO are gas and oil boilers, gas hobs and fires, log burners, open fires and BBQ’s.

You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, which is why it is known as the silent killer. Common symptoms include dizziness, tiredness, headaches, nausea and generally feeling unwell. CO poisoning is often mistaken for something else such as a hangover, a common cold and the flu. The elderly and the very young are particularly vulnerable.

Alarms are the only way to detect carbon monoxide. With an estimated two-thirds of homes unprotected by an alarm, around 40 million people are at risk.

Aston spoke to Chris Parker, carbon monoxide (CO) lead from UK fire and rescue service and Zoe Hadley, director at project SHOUT to discuss the research and also gave advice about the carbon monoxide (CO) alarms as to where to place them, what checks need to be made and also where they find them.