More than half of all homeowners and private renters in the South West of England are leaving themselves vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning by failing to have an alarm installed, a survey by YouGov for Honeywell (NYSE: HON) has found.
Only 39% of respondents from the South West (who acknowledged knowing what carbon monoxide is), have carbon monoxide alarms – the lowest figure of the ten Government regions surveyed. Just 51% have regular servicing of their domestic appliances that can emit carbon monoxide, such as gas-fuelled cookers and heaters, combi or central heating boilers. The survey also found that 89% of South West respondents agreed that they would not be able to tell by smell if a fuel-powered appliance was leaking carbon monoxide in their home.
The Department of Health estimates that each year in England and Wales there are approximately 4,000 visits to hospital accident and emergency departments that result from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning1 – largely avoidable when a home is equipped with a properly working carbon monoxide alarm. The lack of urgency about carbon monoxide protection among private householders in the region flies in the face of advice from UK national gas engineers’ watchdog, Gas Safe Register, for homes to have carbon monoxide alarms and for all fuel-powered appliances to be serviced annually.
“People in the South West are not protecting themselves even though they know the dangers of this killer gas,” said Andrew Thompson, Vice President and General Manager for Honeywell Analytics EMEA. “Only 39% in the region have carbon monoxide alarms and almost half fail to have their appliances regularly serviced. If we are to avoid more tragic deaths, there needs to be greater public awareness of the importance of installing fully-accredited and tested carbon monoxide alarms.”
Barry Sheerman, Member of Parliament for Huddersfield and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group, campaigning for carbon monoxide alarms to be a mandatory requirement in UK homes, said: “Carbon monoxide poisoning is a great danger. We need carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in all homes now, preferably by professionals, who have a role to play in protecting the public.”
Three-quarters of respondents in the South West (75%) said they would follow a tradesperson’s recommendation about which type of device to buy, while 78% in the region who do not already have a carbon monoxide alarm said they would buy one from an engineer servicing an appliance in their home, if he or she offered to fit it and the price was reasonable.
Faced with many cheap and unreliable imports, householders also overwhelmingly stressed the need for high quality, with 88% in the South West saying that whether an alarm had a Kitemark or certification to European standards would be an important factor in deciding which device to buy.
“I would urge any householders without carbon monoxide protection to contact a Gas Safe Registered tradesperson and have a carbon monoxide alarm with a Kitemark fitted immediately,” added Sheerman.
For more information on the dangers of carbon monoxide, visit www.homesafety.honeywell.com.