Carbon Monoxide safety

Harlow MP reminds residents to stay safe from deadly carbon monoxide

Harlow MP, Rob Halfon (pictured left), urged people to ensure they stay safe against the potentially fatal dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) as he joined local campaigner, Melissa Matthews (right) to mark the start of this year’s Gas Safety Week.

Rob Halfon MP said: “Too many people continue to put themselves at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by failing to ensure their appliances work safely and efficiently. I would like to thank local resident Melissa Matthews for all of her work on this issue and I urge Harlow Council and all of the relevant local health authorities to help make Harlow a Carbon Monoxide Awareness town. The more Harlow residents who understand the dangers of CO and how to protect themselves, the more lives that will be saved.”

Melissa is one of a group of women known as the CO Angels, who are each striving to raise more awareness about carbon monoxide poisoning after each losing someone special to this silent killer.

Melissa explains: “Gas Safety Week reminded us all of the need to ensure our homes are gas safe. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas. As you can’t see it, taste it or smell it, it can claim lives quickly with no warning.”

Even exposure to low levels of the gas over a short amount of time can be lethal; causing long term damage to your health.

During Gas Safety Week Melissa Matthews challenged the residents of Harlow and surrounding areas to fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm before the clocks go back.

The danger is – with no taste or smell – CO is undetectable to the human senses and because symptoms are often mistaken for ailments including flu, food poisoning and even a hangover, its presence can go unnoticed until it’s too late.

Badly fitted, poorly serviced or faulty gas appliances can put occupants at risk from gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. Worryingly CO can also leak from adjoining properties and garages.

The only way to detect its presence is with an audible carbon monoxide alarm. As a smoke alarm alerts you to fire, a properly placed CO alarm detects the lowest levels early, warning you before the gas becomes life threatening so you can take action to stay safe.

The fourth annual Gas Safety Week aimed to bring gas safety to the forefront of people’s minds. Dangerous gas work can kill, so it is vital that gas appliances are safety checked at least once a year. If left unchecked, poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. In the last year alone, 343 people were injured and 10 people died as a result of gas related incidents.

Russell Krämer, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said: “Every year, far too many people suffer from preventable gas related accidents, such as gas leaks, explosions, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s great therefore, that we’ve had so much support in raising awareness of gas safety issues, helping to let the 23 million gas consumers in the UK know about the simple checks they can make to stay safe.”

Watch out for the signs:

Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for other ailments such as flu, a hangover or food poisoning, so its presence can go unnoticed until it’s too late. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Headaches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Collapse

One useful indicator that carbon monoxide may be the cause is if symptoms disappear when you leave your home and reappear when you’re at home.

Follow these simple checks to stay gas safe:

  • Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. You can find a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or visit
  • Get your gas appliances safety checked at least once a year and serviced in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes your gas boiler, gas cooker and gas fire. Sign up at for a free reminder service.
  • Check the front and back of your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card, making sure they are qualified to do the specific type of gas work you require.
  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm which will alert you if dangerous levels are present in your home.
  • Check for warning signs your appliances aren’t working correctly, such as lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.

For more information or to find a Gas Safe registered engineer visit or call 0800 408 5500.

For more advice and information on Sprue’s complete range of carbon monoxide alarms, visit:

To read the experiences of the CO Angels, visit:

Further reading