New warnings over carbon monoxide poisoning over summer months
There’s a new warning about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning over the summer months.
Between May and September 2014, the National Grid says it was called out to 9,500 cases related to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Now the Gas Safe Register is urging people to get their appliances checked.
Carbon monoxide is odourless and, without a proper alarm, very difficult for the public to detect.
However, it can cause serious illness and death in high concentrations.
The gas made headlines recently following the deaths of two young British children in Corfu.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a by-product of burning gas without a sufficient air supply.
That means badly fitted and poorly maintained boilers, ovens and other gas appliances can start to produce and leak the gas.
When carbon monoxide fills a room, it slowly suffocates those inside and in 2014 62 households a day were affected.
Jade Ullrich is 23 and has two young children. Her family were victims of CO poisoning after moving into a property in Newquay, Cornwall.
She and her family began to suffer from extreme dizziness, tiredness and sickness.
An emergency gas engineer was called out, and condemned their boiler as “immediately dangerous”.
It hadn’t been serviced for 18 months and was found to be producing high levels of carbon monoxide.
Jade, who was pregnant at the time, told Newsbeat: “I had really heightened pregnancy symptoms; severe headaches, tiredness, a lot of nausea and sickness. My son was also tired quite a lot and he had headaches. “We went to the doctors on numerous occasions but I was just told I was having a bad pregnancy.
It was only later on that the family discovered they were actually being poisoned.
“My parents came to stay in June 2014, and they smelled gas.
“We called out a gas engineer and they condemned the property within minutes. They asked us to open all the windows and told us there were high levels of carbon monoxide present in the property.”
Jade and her family have since moved to another home.
The main problem with spotting carbon monoxide poisoning is that the symptoms are similar to food poisoning and flu – tiredness, dizziness, nausea and finding it difficult to breathe.
The problem can persist over summer despite not having the central heating on, as we still use the boiler for hot water.
And summer brings another problem. Gas barbecues, and even portable barbecues, can be just as dangerous as gas appliances.
An especially big risk is barbecuing inside tents. Many people don’t realise that, despite being open to the elements, they are essentially creating a gas chamber.
In the past three years, 28 people have been killed or injured from CO poisoning after bringing a barbecue into a confined space.
Carbon monoxide alarms are a legal requirement in all new homes in Northern Ireland.
In Scotland alarms have to be fitted when new boilers or gas appliances are installed.
At the moment landlords don’t need to provide a carbon monoxide alarm but there is legislation being put forward which means it could become law in England and Wales from October.
Sarah told Newsbeat: “Landlords have a responsibility to make sure that gas appliances are checked in the home every year.
“If you live in a rented property it’s really important to ask for a copy of the gas safety record because it shows that your gas appliances have been checked.