Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week

Louise Baldock is supporting the first ever Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week which is launched today is the Houses of Parliament.

Louise, Labour Councillor for Kensington and Fairfield lost her fiance in a Carbon Monoxide poisoning accident in January 1999. Since then she has campaigned to raise awareness of this deadly poison whenever she can and particularly around autumn time when people first start to light fires and boilers.

"Michael Price was only 45 when he died. He had flu-like symptoms and cuddled up with a quilt in front of his Parkray stove. He burnt smokeless fuel and did not know that there had been a fall in his chimney which had blocked it. The fumes filled the room and eventually killed him. It was a devastating time for me, for his family, for his friends. There were times I didn't think I would ever get over it.

But now what is important for Michael and for all those he left behind, is that we don't forget and we don't sit idly by. I am proud to join the campaign to raise awareness because we need to do much more."

There are three main areas we need to campaign in
1. Everyone should have a detector in their house. There are three main types; one is a postcard with a little dot that changes colour if there is a problem with the gas. They cost buttons. The second type is pretty much like your average smoke detector, battery operated, also pretty cheap. Then there is the type I have which is plugged into the wall and it takes a scan of the atmosphere every so many seconds. They cost about £40.
I wouldnt be able to sleep without my detector being plugged in.

2. Everyone should know what the symptoms are; flu-like symptoms, dizziness, loss of memory, nausea, vagueness - remember you cannot smell Carbon Monoxide so you have to look for other signs. If you think you might have been poisoned, get the windows open, get the doors open, go outside.

3. It is not just gas boilers! If a process causes carbon then it causes carbon monoxide. Remember Michael was burning smokeless fuel in his Parkray, it wasn't a boiler that killed him.
Get your chimney swept or your boiler serviced every year, put it in your diary now.

I asked at the last Community Safety meeting of Kensington Regeneration if the Fire Service were taking action to provide CO alarms in the same way they do for Smoke. Colin Murphy, local Station Master was enthusiastic about setting up such a scheme. He said a colleague of his had died of CO poison some years ago and he thought it would be very fitting and very well received. He promised to go away and find out about how much it could cost to provide CO detectors in Kensington. The committee seemed keen to support the idea too.

If we can get CO detectors into Kensington homes and save just one life it will have been worth it and I will really believe we have been able to make a difference. I will keep you posted


Anonymous said...

Louise, I was talking with some of my friends on Saturday, who have carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. They all had different versions and prices and we were wondering if there was a recommended version? Sx

LouiseB31 said...

According to the Manchester City council website

Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Various detectors exist which sense if there is carbon monoxide in the air - some change colour or set off an alarm. You can buy detectors from DIY or hardware stores. If you do buy a detector, make sure it has a label saying that it meets the standard: BS 7860.

In a recent survey, the HSE found only one model of detector that worked properly for more than one year, the SF 350.

Buying a detector is no substitute for regular maintenance, and your landlord still needs to get the appliances checked every twelve months.