Gas network Cadent is calling on schools in St Helens to help spread the carbon monoxide (CO) safety message after figures revealed the area is a ‘hot spot’ for dangerous gas appliances.
Faulty or badly maintained gas appliances can leak deadly carbon monoxide, a colourless, odourless gas that kills some 40 people a year and sees a further 4,000 visiting accident and emergency departments with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
During 2017-18, 257 gas cookers, boilers and fires were condemned as being ‘at risk’ or immediately dangerous in the St Helens postcode area.
The figures come from properties attended by Cadent emergency engineers, where they have had to condemn or isolate an appliance or installation as being ‘at risk’ or ‘immediately dangerous’ following attendance at a reported gas emergency.
Now, with the help of a cuddly caped crusading bear named Safety Seymour, Cadent is aiming to tackle the scourge of CO.
It is urging schools to sign up to a free day of carbon monoxide safety educational activities, run in the classroom, aimed at Year 2 pupils and aligned to the national curriculum.
The call to action comes during Gas Safety Week 2018 (17 -23 September), the annual gas industry initiative to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly-maintained gas appliances, including the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Cadent Stakeholder and Customer Specialist Amanda O’Shea said: “Research shows that families with children are among those most at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Safety Seymour teaches youngsters how to stay safe and they take that knowledge home to their mums, dads, wider families and carers.
“It’s all about safeguarding future generations by embedding CO safety knowledge at an early age.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning is easily preventable yet thousands of people every year suffer from CO symptoms or even die.
“Here are Safety Seymour’s three steps to staying CO safe:
1) Identify the danger – know the symptoms of CO poisoning. These include headaches, feeling sick, breathlessness, dizziness, collapse and loss of consciousness. Also check for warning signs that your appliances aren’t working properly. These can include a lazy yellow or orange flame instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around an appliance and too much condensation in a room. For more information go to cadentgas.com/emergencies-safety/suspect-carbon-monoxide. If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999.
2) Get your gas appliances checked every year by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. You can find a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk
3) Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm which will alert you if dangerous levels are present in your home.”
Any school that would like to sign up for the Safety Seymour sessions should contact Amanda O’Shea via email at Amanda.email@example.com
Children in the first 150 classes to sign up for a session will receive a free CO alarm.
Cadent is North West England’s gas emergency service. As the region’s gas distribution network, it ensures its team of ‘first call operative’ engineers are ready to respond quickly, 24/7, 365 days a year, to reported gas escapes, or concerns about carbon monoxide. www.cadentgas.com