Gail van Dijk with CO alarms.

Support CO law change and save lives

Published:  20 May, 2014

Every installer is being urged to back a campaign, which aims to save lives by changing the law on carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

Plumb Center and Honeywell are spearheading a campaign to change the law, so an alarm would be required in England and Wales whenever a carbon-burning appliance is installed – it’s already law in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Go to www.no-to-co.co.uk and sign the e-petition, because once 100,000 people have backed the call, a debate will be triggered in the House of Commons and a change in the law will move a step nearer.

Tragically around 40 people a year die from accidental CO poisoning in England and Wales – with around 4,000 people are admitted to hospital with symptoms that could lead to brain damage and strokes, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

CO is a silent killer. You can’t see, taste or smell it and symptoms like headaches, nausea and dizziness can be confused with the flu. The best way for people to protect themselves is to have any carbon-burning appliance regularly serviced and maintained, but a professionally installed audible CO alarm could save their life.

Gordon Samuel, who helped set up the Katie Haines Memorial Trust, when his 31-year-old daughter was a victim of CO poisoning, is also backing the campaign. He said: “We won’t rest until everyone in the UK understands the dangers of CO. It’s vital people have an audible alarm, officially approved to EN50291:2001 (The European Standard for Domestic Carbon Monoxide Alarms) and have any carbon-burning appliances checked regularly. We’re right behind this campaign.”

“One death from CO poisoning, is one too many,” said Plumb Center’s Gail van Dijk. “We know thousands are admitted to hospital each year but the true level of poisoning isn’t fully known.”

She added: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from trade bodies, boiler manufacturers, politicians and ordinary people. Now we must convert that support into names on our petition. We hope that as an industry we can come together, and stop these needless deaths.”

84% of UK homes have smoke detectors, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government, but only around 15% have CO alarms, says the Council for Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring.

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