As winter sets in Hampshire County Council is urging the county’s residents to check that their gas appliances are Carbon Monoxide safe in an effort to reduce incidents, fatalities and ill health due to Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Councillor Patricia Stallard, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Health and Public Health, said: “Every year in the UK, a small number of people sadly lose their lives to this ‘silent killer’, but there are some simple steps that people can take to help protect themselves – ensuring their gas appliances are properly fitted and regularly serviced by Gas Safe engineers.”

Carbon Monoxide, (CO), is a toxic, colourless and odourless gas produced by faulty or badly installed gas appliances. It is known as the ‘silent killer’ because you cannot see it, hear it, smell it or taste it. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include drowsiness, headaches, nausea and breathlessness. Serious poisoning can be fatal or lead to long term neurological effects.

There are approximately 50 accidental deaths per year in the UK from CO poisoning, and over 1,100 cases of recorded admissions to hospital.

There are a number of simple steps that people can take to keep themselves safe from the risks.

Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix or service gas appliances.

Always check the engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card.

Get your appliances regularly serviced and safety checked every year.

Fit an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm.

If you think there might be a gas leak or you notice signs of carbon monoxide:

get fresh air immediately

switch off the appliance and do not use it until it has been checked by a Gas Safe engineer

turn off the gas supply at the mains

call the national gas emergency number on 0800 111 999

if you feel unwell, go to your GP or hospital immediately and tell them your symptoms may be related to carbon monoxide poisoning.

To support residents in buying high quality local services and trades, the County Council’s Buy with Confidence scheme lists details of Gas Safe registered engineers in Hampshire. Every business listed in the scheme has undergone a series of detailed checks before being approved as a member to create a bank of information residents can trust at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk

More information about gas safety can be found on the County Council’s Trading Standards web pages.

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