Belfast Telegraph

Campaign aims to increase awareness of ‘hidden killer’

The Mayor of Newtownabbey has joined Home Accident Prevention Newtownabbey to raise awareness of the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning following the recent deaths of two local teenagers.

Speaking about the issue, Alderman Paula Bradley said: “As a borough we are still coming to terms with the loss of Aaron Davidson and Neil McFerran.

“This heartbreaking tragedy highlights why it is so important for each and every one of us to be aware of the dangers of this silent killer.

“The simple step of installing an audible carbon monoxide detector could significantly reduce the risk of CO poisoning in your home,” she added.

Carbon monoxide can kill in minutes and is produced in dangerous amounts when a carbon-based fuel like wood, coal, oil or gas is burned without sufficient air supply.

When you breathe in CO it prevents the body from absorbing oxygen, causing oxygen starvation leading to severe damage and even death.

Common sources of carbon monoxide are:

Vehicles running in confined spaces

Blocked chimneys /flues

Portable fuel burning heaters

Fuel powered tools in enclosed spaces

Barbecues in enclosed spaces

Defective gas appliances

Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’ as it cannot be seen and has no taste or smell. But there are warning signs to look out for including:

Coal or wood fires that burn slowly or go out

Sooty stains on or just above oil or gas burning appliances

A gas boiler flame that normally burns blue burning orange or yellow instead.

Indicators of carbon monoxide poisoning include flu symptoms without a fever, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness or confusion.

If you are suffering these symptoms, put out your fire or turn off the appliance, ventilate your home and see your doctor at once.

Heating appliances should be serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Also make sure that chimneys are swept regularly, especially before lighting a fire if it hasn’t been used for some time. If in rented accommodation make sure your landlord has appliances checked annually.

Carbon monoxide detectors are available from £10. For details contact Accident Prevention Newtownabbey on 9034 0160 or visit www.co-awareness.co.uk

Belfast Telegraph

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