Looking for information about a council service?
This is Gas Safety Week, which runs from 10th until 16th September 2012, and is a national event which aims to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of all gas appliances.
The Environmental Health Department of Strabane District Council are taking the opportunity during Gas Safety Week to remind people of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning which caused the deaths of five people in Northern Ireland in 2010, two of whom died as the result of fumes from a faulty gas appliance. About fifty people die in the UK every year as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.
Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas produced by incomplete combustion and is particularly dangerous because it can’t be seen and has no smell or taste. Common sources of carbon monoxide in the home include faulty central heating systems, gas appliances and open fires. Blocked flues and chimneys mean that the gas can't escape and is inhaled by the unsuspecting individual. It is therefore important that all fuel burning appliances are serviced regularly to ensure they are working efficiently and are not a source of carbon monoxide. Chimneys and flues should be checked regularly to ensure they are free from blockages which could prevent adequate ventilation and result in potential build up of carbon monoxide fumes.
Warning signs of the possible presence of carbon monoxide include:
· Coal or wood burning appliances that burn slowly or go out,
· Sooty stains on or around appliances or on the walls around open fireplaces,
· Yellow or orange instead of blue flame from gas appliances,
· Condensation on windows in the area where the appliance is located.
A person suffering from exposure to low level carbon monoxide poisoning may exhibit symptoms(headache, nausea, abdominal pain, sore throat and dry cough) which are similar to those for flu, food poisoning, viral infections or simply tiredness and this could mean that carbon monoxide poisoning is mistaken for something else with potentially fatal consequences. Exposure to high concentrations of carbon monoxide can result in immediate death.
Other signs that could point to carbon monoxide poisoning could be if the symptoms only occur when someone is at home or if the symptoms disappear when the person leaves the house and reappear when the person returns home again.
All householders should have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in their home. Whilst a carbon monoxide alarm will alert someone to carbon monoxide in their home it is no substitute for having all` appliances, chimneys and flues checked on a regular basis.