Checking on gas

gas-safety-weekCleveland Fire Brigade is urging people to look out for family, friends and neighbours to make sure their gas appliances are safe and checked at least once a year.

It comes in support of Gas Safety Week (Sept 19-25) and a reminder that poorly maintained appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is hoped an increase in checks will prevent a repeat of incidents such as a recent case involving the Brigade. We were called out to check on a bleeping smoke alarm at the home of an elderly couple. It turned out to be a carbon monoxide detector that had activated.

On entering the home Brigade staff began to feel nauseous and dizzy. We opened the windows, evacuated the couple and a gas engineer confirmed it was a severe carbon monoxide leak and carried out emergency repairs.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Making sure gas appliances are safe can be a matter of life and death. In the above case the couple were very lucky that the carbon monoxide was detected in time.

“We fully support the need for and urge people to check on family and friends, be they elderly parents or vulnerable neighbours, and ensure their appliances are in good working order.”

With 22 deaths and nearly 1,000 gas-related injuries in the UK last three years, it’ is vital that gas appliances are safety checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Anyone working on gas appliances while not being Gas Safe registered is working illegally.

Jonathan Samuel, managing director for Gas Safe Register, said: “By working together we can reach more people and help to reduce the number of dangerous gas appliances that could be lurking in the homes of the UK’s 23 million gas consumers.  We know from our own investigations that around one in six gas appliances in the UK are unsafe, meaning far too many people are victims of preventable gas related incidents.”

Reach out to those who need help keeping gas safe at home by following these top tips:

  • Help them to sign up to a free annual gas safety check reminder service at www.staygassafe.co.uk. You could even sign up on their behalf, so the reminder is sent to you each year.
  • Make them aware of the signs that an unsafe gas appliance may cause:
    • A lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame; soot or staining on or around the appliance; excess condensation in the room
    • Carbon monoxide (CO) has no smell, taste or colour. The symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness, which can easily be mistaken for something else.
  • Make sure they know to ‘Trust the Triangle’ by asking to see their engineer’s Gas Safe ID card and checking it to make sure the engineer is covered to check or fit the appliance in question

To find out about dangers in your area visit www.StayGasSafe.co.uk and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer call 0800 408 5500 or visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.