Don’t let the silent killer ruin your holiday and cost your life

Nine in ten adults in the UK admit they have never checked for a carbon monoxide alarm in their hotel room

Many of us start planning our half-term escape and CO Be Alarmed! is urging holidaymakers to plan ahead and take simple steps to protect themselves and their families from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The call comes after recent research, conducted for the campaign, reveals people in the UK are not as conscious of their safety when it comes to picking holiday accommodation. Only one in four holidaymakers check for a fire alarm and whether it is safe to walk around outside of the complex. Nine in ten travellers admit they have never checked for an audible carbon monoxide (CO) alarm at their destination.

The research is released as Emma Jackson shares her story following the death of her father at a hotel in Cornwall. Frederick Jackson was killed in his room after a carbon monoxide leak. Emma said:

“I couldn’t believe it when nearly eight years ago a police officer arrived at my doorstep in Swansea and told my family and me my father had died. He was a larger-than-life man, who had never experienced any health issues and hadn’t visited a doctor in nearly ten years.

“He had gone on a business trip and mistook the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning for symptoms of flu. He told his colleagues he was feeling unwell and apologised for being late to meet them. He never suspected his symptoms to be linked to carbon monoxide. Awareness of CO poisoning is so crucial when at home or going on a trip away, even for a night.

“I never go on holiday now without taking a CO alarm with me. I support CO Be Alarmed! and urge everyone who plans to go on holiday to take an alarm so they don’t have to experience anything so traumatic.”

The research also reveals that holidaymakers are complacent when it comes to protecting themselves and their families with over half of the population assuming it is the responsibility of the owner of the accommodation to ensure they are protected from CO poisoning. In fact, this varies from country to country.

Mary Creagh MP, who is campaigning for greater CO awareness, said:

“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. People will remember the tragic deaths of Christianne and Robert Shepherd from my Wakefield constituency. They were just seven and six years old when they died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty boiler on a half-term holiday in Corfu in 2006. Nothing will bring back Christi and Bobby, but their parents’ dearest wish is to spare other families the heartbreak they have suffered.

I applaud the work of the Be Alarmed! campaign as an important strand of the work being done to reduce the risks of carbon monoxide and increase public awareness. Taking a carbon monoxide alarm with you on holiday is a simple measure which could save your family’s lives.”

Lawrence Slade, Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign spokesperson, said:

“Countries around the world have different regulations when it comes to the fitting of CO alarms in hotels. The only way to be sure you and your family are fully protected is to take an audible carbon monoxide alarm with you.

“Many CO alarms sold in the UK are portable, which means you can simply pop them into your suitcase and take them with you. I urge everyone to do so and to check that the alarm is in date.”

The six main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness. A key indication that carbon monoxide poisoning may be the cause is if symptoms disappear or get better when you leave the room and come back when you return.

Notes to editors:

1. Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! is the national campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by carbon monoxide. The campaign is run by Energy UK on behalf of Britain’s major gas and electricity companies in partnership with the Dominic Rodgers Trust, and is supported by more than 40 other organisations.
2. Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, charcoal, coal and wood do not burn completely. The most common cause of this is when an appliance, such as a boiler or cooker, is installed incorrectly or poorly maintained. Carbon monoxide can also build up when flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.
3. The research for Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! was carried out by OnePoll in October 2015, among 2,000 people across the United Kingdom.