According to research, at least 35 million people are still at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning. In a survey for the Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed campaign, 81 per cent of people were aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide and that it can kill, however just 39 per cent had a carbon monoxide alarm.
Speaking on behalf of the campaign, TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp said, “The message that carbon monoxide is dangerous seems to be getting through but it is horrifying to think that there still are millions of people who are not protecting themselves or think they are protected when they’re not.
“Carbon monoxide can kill you without any warning. Please make sure you have an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Even if you think you’ve got one, check that it is for carbon monoxide and that it works.”
Carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless, which is why it is known as the ‘silent killer’.
The Department of Health estimates that 50 people are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning and at least 4,000 are treated in hospital every year in the UK. Figures could be higher, however, as carbon monoxide poisoning is tricky to diagnose, with symptoms similar to flu or food poisoning.
If you have gas appliances in your home then it is absolutely vital that you have a working carbon monoxide alarm in every room that there is an appliance, including a gas boiler. If you are a landlord then as of 1 October 2015, it is a legal requirement that you install carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in your rental properties.
Of course, if you opt to run your home heating and hot water system on electric rather than gas, then carbon monoxide will not be something you need to worry about.