Labour MP Bill Esterson is urging people in Sefton Central to be ‘carbon monoxide safe’ as we head into autumn and winter.
Bill will be attending a Carbon Monoxide Awareness event on Saturday (September 21) where he will reaffirm his pledge to support the charity eighth National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (November 18).
The Carbon Monoxide Awareness campaign is encouraging people to take appropriate steps to ensure that they are properly protected against the threat of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning as the cold weather sets in.
Tragic deaths occur every year from CO poisoning from unchecked fuel and wood burning appliances, such as boilers, heaters and cookers.
The latest figures show that there are around 50 deaths from accidental CO poisoning in England and Wales (ONS Statistics) and in excess of 200 non-fatal cases that require hospitalisation. A new Department of Health estimate based on the A&E Hospital Episode Statistics database shows that approximately 4,000 attend A&E each year diagnosed with CO poisoning in England and Wales. However the charity believe this is just the tip of the iceburg.
Many of these deaths occur during the winter months due to faulty fossil fuel and wood burning appliances.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas – often dubbed the ‘Silent Killer’ – and can kill quickly if inhaled in high concentrations. The symptoms of poisoning are similar to flu or food poisoning, and include headaches, nausea and dizziness.
Bill Esterson praised the Aintree-based Carbon Monoxide Awareness charity for making sure that more and more people know about the dangers of CO.
Bill said: "It’s vital that people take the necessary precautions to avoid the tragic loss of life that can occur from carbon monoxide poisoning in the summer months. Never make the mistake of thinking that CO poisoning won't happen to you. It can happen to anyone.
"While CO is difficult to detect, there can be tell-tale signs that indicate there could be a problem. Sometimes indicators may suggest a fault with domestic appliances or flues. The signs of trouble are black sooty marks on the radiants – the clay bars above the gas flames – of gas fires, sooty marks on the wall around stoves, boilers or fires, and smoke accumulating in rooms due to faulty flues."
"In addition, yellow instead of blue flames from gas appliances is another sign that there may be a fault with the appliance - although this does not apply to ‘fuel-effect’, ‘living-flame’ or ‘decorative-flame’ gas fires as they are designed to look like flames from solid fuel appliances.
"If you see any of these signs, turn off the appliance, open your windows and have an appropriately registered engineer service the appliance as soon as possible.
"Appliances should be regularly inspected by a registered engineer, most DIY retailers now sell CO alarms which can be easily fitted in the home. However, it is important to remember that a carbon monoxide alarm is not a substitute for correct installation or servicing of any gas, oil, wood or coal burning appliances.
"The message is clear; don't leave it to chance. Get your appliances checked and get an alarm. It could save your life."
A study estimated that around 4,000 people attend accident and emergency departments in England each year because of carbon monoxide poisoning. Although most of the 4,000 people were not sick enough to be admitted to hospital, it is known that long term exposure is associated with neurological effects - such as having difficulties in concentrating.
Carbon Monoxide Awareness charity founder Lynn Griffiths said: "Saturday's event is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide, raise awareness of the campaign and to get everyone to pledge their support for the eighth national Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week in November.
“People still don't realise that carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless highly toxic gas that is produced by the incomplete combustion of any hydrocarbon fuel such as coal, charcoal, wood, oil, petrol, diesel, natural gas and liquid petroleum gas. They still seem to believe that carbon monoxide is just produced by just the incomplete combustion of ‘natural gas’ and if they don't use natural gas they are safe. This just isn't true.
“Most people believe that you either die or make a full recovery from carbon monoxide. This isn't true as many of those poisoned by just low levels of carbon monoxide can go on to develop long term chronic health problems.
"I'd like to thank Bill Esterson for continuing to support the campaign and I'd like to thank Dave Cartwright watch manager at Aintree fire station and all of the volunteers who are giving up their time on Saturday.
"So come along, find out more about Carbon Monoxide Awareness and get your car cleaned all at the same time!"
The Carbon Monoxide Awareness charity car wash will be held from 10.30am on Saturday, September 21 at Aintree Fire Station, Longmoor Lane, Liverpool, L9 0EN.