Cases of suspected carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning have increased significantly, rising by 34% in North Wales over the past five years a report by campaign group Project SHOUT has revealed.
Data from the UK Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) shows that incidences have risen steadily since 2014 with the FRS usually one of the first emergency services on the scene in the event of a CO leak.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is produced when fuel doesn’t burn properly, usually from badly fitted or poorly maintained appliances. Common sources of CO are gas and oil boilers, gas hobs and fires, log burners, open fires and BBQ’s.
Zoe Hadley, Campaign Director for Project Shout said: “You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, which is why it is known as the silent killer. The only way to protect you and your family is to get a carbon monoxide alarm.”
Common symptoms include dizziness, tiredness, headaches, nausea and generally feeling unwell. CO poisoning is often mistaken for something else such as a hangover, a common cold and the flu. The elderly and the very young are particularly vulnerable.
Zoe continues “Make sure your gas appliances are installed and serviced regularly by a qualified GAS SAFE registered engineer, test your alarm, and know what to do if it goes off.”
Approximately 50 people in the UK die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands more are treated in hospital.