Dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and what to look out for

Gas fires can be the source of leaks Photo: ITV News Border

Below are some top tips on what to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off and what symptoms to look out for.

What to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off:

  • Open doors and windows to ventilate the area.
  • If possible turn off all fuelled appliances and stop using them.
  • Evacuate the area leaving all doors and window open.
  • Get medical help immediately for anyone that you think is suffering from CO poisoning.
  • Contact the emergency gas service and explain the situation clearly on 0800 111999.
  • Do not return to the area until the CO alarm has stopped
  • Do not use the appliances again until they have been checked by an expert and any faults are located and repaired.

“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and without a detector it might not be discovered until it’s too late.

– Ian Cartwright, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Carlisle
Boilers and gas fires can be a source of carbon monoxide leaks Credit: ITV News Border

Many of the symptoms associated with carbon monoxide poisoning can be confused with symptoms of food poisoning, flu or tiredness.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tiredness
  • Pains in the chest or stomach
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Visual problems

The fitting of a British Standards kitemarked carbon monoxide alarm in the home is the best way to ensure any CO leaks are detected, but gas appliances, fossil fuel and wood burning appliances should also be regularly checked by a registered engineer.

Detectors can be bought form most major supermarkets and online, and are priced from around £10.

Carbon monoxide detectors can be bought from around £10 Credit: ITV News Border

So what should you do if you think one of your aplliances is leaking carbon monoxide?

  • Call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.
  • Switch off the appliance and shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve.
  • Open all doors and windows to ventilate the room.
  • Visit your GP and tell him/her that you believe your may have been exposed to carbon monoxide.