Don’t let carbon monoxide end the holiday

Three steps to carbon monoxide safety this weekend

For many people the August bank holiday marks the return to work and the long grind through to the Christmas break. While we all hope for some last minute sunshine, a barbeque in the back garden or a short break away, a silent killer can bring down more than rain on your parade.

Carbon monoxide poisoning results in thousands of known hospital admissions every year. It is also a killer, claiming at least 50 lives per year. But, contrary to popular belief, it is not solely down to faulty appliances in the home: carbon monoxide is produced by burning fossil fuels and so it is vital to ensure that fires and stoves, as well as boilers, are properly serviced and vented.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is often mistaken for something else. Symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and tiredness – even a bit too much to drink. The problem is made worse because CO poisoning also affects mental ability so people do not realise there is a problem until it is too late.

Six key signs are:

  1. headaches
  2. dizziness
  3. nausea
  4. breathlessness
  5. collapse
  6. loss of consciousness

Step 1 – leave the BBQ outside
Don’t be tempted, if the rain comes on or the evening gets chilly, to take the barbeque into the house or tent. This may sound obvious but every year people need medical treatment because they have used the remains of the grill to warm a tent or have finished off the party indoors.

Step 2 – book your boiler service
It is also a good idea to book you annual boiler and heating check now if you haven’t done so already. Never assume your gas appliances are safe: get a Gas Safe registered engineer to check.This means that, when you need to switch the heating on again in the autumn you can be sure both that your boiler is operating safely and flues are clear.

Step 3 – a bit of DIY
If you are taking on some home improvements or maintenance this weekend consider buying and fitting a carbon monoxide alarm. If you have one already, check the battery is working.

Find out more on how to stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.