24th Oct, 2016

Safety in Action

Evesham Editorial 9th Oct, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

KAREN Meadows from Safety in Action writes about gas safety in her latest column for the Observer

I THOUGHT I’d write about when children leave home and start university or get their first flat. What safety issues might they need to know about then?

The big one is gas safety and although it’s probably not the most important thing on their minds with pubs, clubs and study, it’s vital that they’re aware of the dangers.

Is it a hangover or is it carbon monoxide leaking from an appliance?

This was bought home to me when my sister phoned me for a chat a few years ago.

She was tired a lot of the time and had been getting headaches. I asked when the gas appliances were last checked and she told me not since she had moved in four years before.

I asked her what colour the flame on the boiler was and she said it was a lovely yellow and that’s OK isn’t it.

NO!!! She didn’t know the flame should be blue or of the symptoms and dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, the silent killer that you can’t see, taste or smell.

Carbon monoxide sends 4,000 to A&E, hospitalises 200 and kills 50 people a year.

All landlords have a duty to keep gas appliances safe. They must service and have them checked once a year and provide a gas safety record or certificate

Of course this doesn’t just apply to landlords, everyone who has gas appliances, including owners of holiday cottages, should get them checked, particularly as winter is looming.

In the West Midlands one in four appliances checked by were shown to be unsafe.

There will be many that remain unchecked….is yours one?

What to do?

1. Book at check of all gas appliances or ask the landlord to arrange one every year.

2. Ensure the person doing the check is Gas Safe registered for that type of appliance. http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/about/how_to_check_the_id_card.aspx

3. Buy and fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm

4. Don’t allow anyone to work on or fit a gas appliance unless Gas Safe registered

5. Be aware that wood and coal fires can also produce carbon monoxide