Fire service warning after two lucky escapes from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning

PUBLISHED: 17:13 05 October 2011

AFTER two households in the county recently had lucky escapes from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, residents in East Cambridgeshire are being urged to have their gas appliances regularly serviced.

All such appliances should be inspected once a year by Gas Safe registered engineers, as faulty boilers or fires and blocked flues are often the cause of carbon monoxide leaks.

Andy Tucker, risk manager at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Gas appliances are increasingly useful as the weather turns colder, but also increasingly dangerous if they are not regularly inspected.

“A carbon monoxide leak is also very hard to detect without an alarm, as the gas has no taste or smell.

“But even if you do have a carbon monoxide alarm, it is still extremely important that you have all appliances checked once a year and keep them well ventilated.

“Often the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are confused with flu. You may feel sick, unable to breath, have a headache or feel tired or dizzy. If you suspect you are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning you should open the windows and leave the house immediately.”

Last week, four occupants fled from their home in Cambridge after struggling to breath and feeling sick; suffering from a suspected carbon monoxide leak, and two of them needed treatment from paramedics. Just days earlier, a tenant in Warboys called the fire service when a boiler flue became blocked, setting off the carbon monoxide alarm.

The fire service says a carbon monoxide alarm can be bought for around £20 and easily fitted. All carbon monoxide alarms should have the British Standard kitemark or another European approval organisation’s mark on it.

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