Belfast Telegraph

Parents launch safety campaign

by Chris McCann

The mothers of two North Belfast teenagers who died after a suspected carbon monoxide leak in a holiday apartment have thrown their weight behind a campaign on its dangers.

Friends Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson, both 18 years of age, died in Castlerock, County Londonderry on August 3 this year. Their friend, Matthew Gaw, survived.

Catherine McFerran and Katrina Davidson attended the launch of a new public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, at Stormont.

They were joined by health and safety minister Arlene Foster for the launch of the campaign, delivered by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI).

Mrs McFerran said: “We, alongside Aaron’s parents, have been through every parent’s worst nightmare.

“You read these stories and you hear these things on the news and you think, ‘I hope this never happens to my children’. I never want anyone to go through what we have been through and am therefore urging everyone to listen to the message of today’s campaign — carbon monoxide is a potential killer.

“Please take action to protect yourselves and your loved ones by having boilers and appliances serviced annually.”

Mrs Davidson added: “We know this can’t bring Aaron or Neil back but if it encourages people to take action and prevents any further lives being lost, then it is worthy of our support.”

Arlene Foster said: “In Northern Ireland over the past 10 years, 62 people have died due to carbon monoxide poisoning arising from the use of a range of fuels including oil, gas, coal and other solid fuels.

“This new campaign drives home the importance of having all fossil fuel boilers and appliances properly installed and serviced annually, to ensure that carbon monoxide is not produced. I would also strongly urge householders to install an audible carbon monoxide alarm in their home as an added precaution.

“With the winter months upon us, and more people switching on their heating appliances, it is extremely important that homeowners are not complacent. By acting now and taking simple precautions lives can be saved.”

Stephanie Lowry, deputy chairman of HSENI said: “ The message is clear and simple – having boilers and appliances serviced annually can protect you and your loved ones from carbon monoxide.

“We have had huge support for the campaign, not only from Government but from the energy industry, the medical profession, public health associations, the emergency services, housing and student associations to name only a few.”

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