Children and gas safety, Birmingham, Solihull

Gas safety

According to the Department of Health, 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning and another 4,000 are treated in hospital.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas produced by the incomplete combustion of the fossil fuels gas, oil, coal and wood used in boilers, engines, oil burners, gas fires, water heaters, solid fuel appliances and open fires. Incomplete combustion can be caused by:

  • Incorrect installation
  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Poor maintenance and servicing

Carbon monoxide kills you by starving your body of oxygen. Children are at greater risk, as the smaller the victim, the quicker the body can be overcome by the poisonous carbon monoxide effects that take place.

How to stay safe

  1. Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm - carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no colour, taste or smell, making it impossible to detect without an alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms must be audible – they make a loud noise if gas is present. Ensure the alarm has good quality batteries fitted and test the alarm to see if would wake you if you were asleep. Make sure it has a British and European kite-mark. We do not recommend the use of ‘Black Spot’ indicators as these are not as accurate and will not alert or wake you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.
  2. Use only Gas Safe registered installers - only have gas appliances installed by a professional Gas Safe registered heating engineer. Never carry out illegal installations or services of your gas appliances by unregistered workers.
  3. Service your heating appliances - for protection from carbon monoxide poisoning, you must have all fuel-burning appliances – including stoves, fires, boilers and water heaters – serviced annually by a qualified and registered engineer.
  4. Don’t block ventilation - it is dangerous to block ventilation to your heating appliances as it can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Have chimneys swept and vents cleared.
  5. Know the signs - recognising the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and knowing the danger signs around your appliances is the last line of defence. The six main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness. Many of the symptoms of carbon monoxide are similar to those of flu, food poisoning, viral infections, or simple tiredness.

What to do in an emergency

If your alarm goes off or you spot other signs of carbon monoxide:

  1. Open doors and windows for ventilation and leave the room to get some fresh air.
  2. Seek medical advice if you or others feel unwell or call 999 in an emergency.
  3. Turn off the gas and all heating appliances and do not use them until you have had them checked by a registered heating engineer.
  4. Call us to arrange an emergency call out to check the safety of your gas appliances.
  5. If gas appliances are in the property, do not smoke, do not turn light switches on or off and do not do anything to create a spark.
  • Worcester Bosch boilers
  • Vaillant boilers
  • Potterton boilers
  • Ferroli boilers
  • BAXI boilers