Sunday, January 27, 2013

Government spending cuts are putting increasing numbers of people at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

CO Awareness logo       Lynn Griffiths of CO Awareness

Bad news from my friend Lynn Griffiths in Runcorn who runs our national Carbon Monoxide Awareness Charity. She is only looking for about £25k a year to keep the charity going, it's not much is it? I wish I had it to give her. 

As most of you will remember, I lost my fiance, 45 year old Michael Price, in Ludlow in January 1999 in a CO poisoning accident when his Parkray Stove flue became blocked and because he was burning smokeless fuel he didn't realise. The poison took about four days to kill him; he thought he had flu and sat huddled up in his quilt in front of the fire, just like you do.... sitting right in the path of the fumes.

So when I came across Lynn's campaign in around 2006, I wholeheartedly embraced it. I have been campaigning with her ever since (you may have heard my adverts on Radio City for example) to raise awareness of this deadly poison. I haven't done much mind, just the little bit I could from time to time; but I did make sure that LCC kept the campaign on its agenda and supported awareness raising campaigns every autumn, I helped plan the first national CO awareness event in Liverpool Town Hall a few years ago, and I tipped up to the House of Lords for one particular CO Awareness Week event, to encourage our national politicians to keep on giving their support to this important issue. 

Now, for want of that £25k it looks like the charity will shut down. 

Ironically the risk is higher during hard times as people take short-cuts with their safety to save the cash. We need Lynn Griffiths more now than we have ever had. If you have any money to spare, particularly if you are an organisation concerned with public health or housing, please send some her way. Send her £500 and keep  her going for another week!

There is a little film from BayTV which says all you need to know

Otherwise you can see what she has to say in her press release.  

Government spending cuts are putting increasing numbers of people at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the president of a charity that is itself facing closure unless new sources of funding are found.
Lynn Griffiths, President of Carbon Monoxide Awareness, the charity that established Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and made it a key feature of the Public Health calendar, says that thousands of people are failing to have gas and other fossil fuel appliances regularly serviced.
 “The simple fact of the matter is that the current economic climate is forcing thousands of people into poverty and they don’t have spare cash for even essential maintenance, like having their central heating boilers and other fuel burning appliances serviced at the appropriate time,” she said.
 “It’s a false economy and people are gambling with their lives, but when it comes down to a choice between putting food on the table and having a flue checked or an appliance serviced. I can understand where they’re coming from. These are desperate days and people are making desperate choices.”
Approximately 4,000 people are diagnosed with low level carbon monoxide poisoning each year and that figure is just the tip of an iceberg because many cases go undetected. Around 200 are admitted to hospital annually and 50 people die.
Lynn knows all about the devastating effects of CO poisoning. She and her family were exposed to the deadly gas in their home for many years because the gas registered engineers who regularly serviced her gas fire and central heating system failed to spot that a flue was partially blocked.
“My family’s experience is becoming increasingly common as more people are forced into low-paid employment and cut back on maintenance in the home. Our charity is needed more than ever, but we are under threat because many of our supporters have had their budgets cut and can no longer afford to contribute to charitable causes,” she said.
Carbon Monoxide Awareness has received some funding from United Utilities and Plus Dane, a Cheshire-based housing association, and a group of APICS chimney sweeps has established a website through which donors can make their contributions. The link is:
However, Lynn Griffiths says that more is needed or the charity will be forced to close its doors for good. Leaving those poisoned by this silent killer with nowhere to go for support.
“If 60 to 100 businesses, housing associations and councils from around the UK were each to contribute £500, which is just £10 a week, the charity can be saved.”

  • Established their National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week
  • The charity offers support to those poisoned by Carbon Monoxide any time day or night
  • Won the "Plain English Speaking Award" for their Carbon Monoxide leaflet
  • Lobbied for resources to be provided for the education of doctors and nurses in the detection of carbon monoxide related illnesses.
  • Has their contact details listed with NHS Direct and The College of Emergency Medicine.
  • Held stands at both the Emergency Services and Ambition shows.
  • Launched its Carbon Monoxide Awareness Healthcare Group in the House of Lords.
  • Developed a triage poster for hospital A & E departments with the HPA and other partners. This has gone out to every A&E, Minor Injury Units and Walk in Centres.
  • Given talks to coroners, landlords, and support groups on the dangers of CO.
  • Helped NPIS update the TOXBASE entry for Carbon Monoxide.
  • Launch a "FREE" Carbon Monoxide Phone App. See
  • Working with the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) on awareness-raising initiatives. See:
  • Launched its “Cozy but Deadly Barbecue Campaign” a joint project with Cornwall Fire and Rescue from the House of Commons. This national campaign is believed to have reached millions of people last year.
  • Run press campaigns in partnership with the Health Protection Agency and may others

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