National Grid has teamed up with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue to give lifesaving carbon monoxide (CO) advice to the area’s most vulnerable residents.
The partnership is part of an initiative National Grid is running with seven fire and rescue services across the country, including Leicestershire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, and West Midlands. It follows a successful trial with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, who delivered over 3,000 home safety checks, including advice on CO symptoms, prevention and how to ensure their homes are safe from the silent killer.
Head of community safety for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Kevin Ronan, said: “Too many people die needlessly or become seriously ill because of carbon monoxide poisoning each year. As a fire service, our work in the community has already helped to massively reduce house fire deaths and injuries, so it’s only natural that we should look to extend that success by making people more aware of other safety issues like CO.”
It is hoped that through the fire service’s regular home safety checks, more and more people will become aware of the dangers of CO poisoning, take further action to make their homes safer and share their knowledge with others.
Head of operations for National Grid James Harrison said: “We are seeing great results so far which means the chance of people being harmed or killed by CO is falling.”
Known as the ‘silent killer’, carbon monoxide poisoning kills over 50 people a year, with 4,000 people attending hospital with carbon monoxide symptoms. An odourless, colourless gas, carbon monoxide is not easily detected and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be confused with flu.
Mr Harrison added: “The partnership with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue means more and more people are getting the CO safety message. We are providing them with the information, knowledge and CO alarms and they are able to deliver these to far more people during their Home Safety checks.”
The results from the trial with Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service showed:
- 68% increase in CO awareness
- 81% of respondents would take all the recommended further action. This includes getting their gas appliances checked every year, passing on information to friends and family, buying a CO alarm and seeking medical advice if the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning occur
- 99% indicated they would share their new knowledge of CO dangers with family and friends
Carbon monoxide is often known as the silent killer because you can’t see it or smell it but carbon monoxide poisoning can be avoided by taking simple steps. Ensure your gas appliances are fitted, maintained and serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and as a back-up, fit an audible carbon monoxide detector. They can be bought for as little as £15 and could save your life.
Following the success of the Staffordshire trial, National Grid teamed up with six further fire and rescue services and shared the trial findings with the other gas distribution networks. The other networks have now also started to team up with services in their areas to provide CO awareness.