Thursday, 28 February 2013

The invisible danger of Carbon Monoxide


The tragic deaths of Mr and Mrs Cook and their daughter, Maureen, at Tremarle Park last weekend is a terrible reminder of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning coming from faulty gas appliances.

Carbon Monoxide is invisible and odourless so impossible to detect without an alarm which can be bought for around £15 from DIY stores. The early symptoms are dizziness, nausea, headaches and breathlessness which can often be mistaken as the symptoms of flu or a heavy cold during winter. However, those who suffer such symptoms while at home but not when out should urgently check their gas appliances and visit their doctor.

The poisonous gas is most commonly generated by the incomplete burning of gas but can also be generated by problems with chimneys or by other types of fuel. Telling signs of the incomplete burning of gas include when the flame burns orange or yellow rather than a crisp blue and when pilot lights go out repeatedly.

There seems to be a huge emphasis placed on awareness campaigns to encourage people to fit fire alarms in their properties but nowhere near the same focus on the hazards of carbon monoxide. Given that it is an invisible and potentially fatal threat which, in some instances, can make someone unconscious within minutes, I think more should be done to highlight the dangers.

George Eustice can be contacted at george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.