Gas ring on a hob with blue flame

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2014

Raising awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to take preventative measures

Today marks the start of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2014. Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is part of a public safety initiative organised by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and supported by public bodies and organisations involved in the energy sector.

The annual initiative will be held between September 22nd and September 28th this year. The advertising and promotion of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is designed to create awareness of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide poisoning and communicate the preventative measures that the public should take.

Remember, Remember, Remember

CO awareness week targets all carbon fuel users, showcasing the threat of the silent killer via the mnemonic Remember, Remember, Remember. The three key points to remember about carbon monoxide safety are:

1. The causes: The burning of any fuels including oil, gas, wood and coal produces carbon monoxide.

2. To service: Appliances should be installed and tested annually by registered installers or technicians while vents, flues and chimneys need to be kept clear.

3. The Alarm: A carbon monoxide alarm is vital to alerting a homeowner to the presence of the colourless and odourless gas. Any alarm should comply with EN 50291, carry a CE mark and be independently certified.

Widespread industry support Many major firms and organisations from the energy sector and from related industries are supporting Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2014.

The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), SSE Airtricity, Bord Gáis Energy, Electric Ireland, Energia and Flogas are among the energy related organisations that are backing the initiative.

Also participating in the promotion is the The Health Service Executive, Registered Gas Installers of Ireland and the AA.

What are the dangers of CO? A number of factors can lead to an accumulation of carbon monoxide in a property, including any or a combination of the following:

  • Faulty or damaged heating appliances
  • Poorly services appliances
  • Lack of proper ventilation or reduced ventilation
  • Blocked flues or chimneys
  • Poorly installed appliances
  • Running engines in confined spaces
  • Improper use of heating appliances

The dangers of carbon monoxide are dependent on two factors – the levels of CO in the air and the time an individual is exposed to it.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to other illness such as a cold or flu and can include headaches, chest pains, sickness, dizziness and general lethargy. Exceptionally high levels of CO can lead to unconsciousness and even death, while anyone fearing CO poisoning should seek urgent medical attention.

Carbon monoxide safety – what you can do

In order to reduce the risk of CO poisoning, homeowners can:

  • Ensure appliances are installed correctly and regularly serviced
  • Make sure all rooms are properly ventilated
  • Avoid using appliances they suspect to be faulty
  • Use all appliances for purpose and not for other means, such as using a cooker to heat a room
  • Ensure any building works or home improvements do not reduce ventilation in a property
  • Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed and regularly tested
  • Seek professional assistance if they fear there are issues with their property

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