A new campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning has been launched on the day it has been revealed that there has been a rise in the number of fatalities caused by the condition.
Carbon Monoxide is frequently labeled the 'silent killer' because you can not see it, smell it or taste it. The odourless gas can cause people to lose consciousness quickly. It is created when fuels including gas, oil, wood and coal do not burn properly. Carbon Monoxide can be given off by a range of household appliances - including gas fires, boilers and central heating systems - if they have been incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or in an area with bad ventilation. Open fires, such as barbecues, can also produce the gas.
The people behind 'Project Shout' want to raise awareness of the dangers and encourage people to use Carbon Monoxide alarms. ITV Meridian reporter John Ryall spoke to Olivia Murray, from Kent, who nearly lost her life to Carbon Monoxide poisoning while staying with a friend.
The other interviewees in the report are the campaigner Gordon Samuel, from the Katie Haines Memorial Trust, whose daughter lost her life to Carbon Monoxide poisoning at her home in Wokingham; and Zoe Hadley, the Director of Project Shout.
The symptoms of Carbon Monoxide can be hard to detect. They can be similar to the symptoms of food poisoning or flu.
According to guidance from the NHS, symptoms can be as follows:
A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild carbon monoxide poisoning.
nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting
tiredness and confusion
shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
Ways to prevent Caron Monoxide poisoning include:
Maintain your household appliances and get them serviced regularly
Maintain your chimneys and flues
Be wary of engine exhaust fumes - e.g. do not leave vehicles or lawnmowers on in enclosed spaces like garages; get your car exhaust checked every year
Fit a Carbon Monoxide alarm in your home and test it regularly to confirm that it works
If your Carbon Monoxide alarm sounds or you suspect there has been a leak, the authorities advise you to:
stop using all appliances, switch them off, and open doors and windows to ventilate the property
evacuate the property immediately – stay calm and avoid raising your heart rate
call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident, or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363
don't go back into the property – wait for advice from the emergency services
seek immediate medical help – you may not realise you've been affected by the carbon monoxide, and going outside into fresh air won't treat any exposure by itself