Recently, a Freedom of Information request was sent to every hospital trust in England to try and establish the true nature of carbon monoxide poisoning in our homes, the main details of which are shared below.
While the results of the FOI request make for grim reading, the actual reality of the problem could be even worse. Not all hospital trusts were able to provide figures and the figures don’t include figures from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Cases where people died before treatment could be administered are also not included.
The Gas Safe Register, the body responsible for providing the official list of engineers legally qualified to work with gas appliances, has estimated that one in every eleven gas boilers are unsafe and only around 50% of UK households have a carbon monoxide detector alarm installed.
With 50 people dying in 2014 before their bodies were even discovered, CO poisoning is a serious problem that the public needs to aware of and to have the knowledge of how to make sure their house is as safe as possible from this killer problem.
The FOI request revealed these facts for 2014:
• 165 hospital trusts provided figures.
• 17 hospital trusts were unable to.
• 4 people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning every day in hospitals in England.
• 1798 people attended A & E departments with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.
• 1563 of these required treatment.
• Over a fifth required hospitalisation.
• 360 were children.
• 174 were aged 18 - 25.
• 192 were aged 60 and over.
These figures make for worrying reading, but many of these problems could have been avoided by the installation of a carbon monoxide alarm - with a working battery, of course.
Because carbon monoxide is odourless and a leak would be silent, alarms act as a first line of defence against the problem and will alert a household to a problem before a major incident occurs.
Additionally, it’s fully recommended to have your boiler and heating system checked and maintained at least once per year. Just like cars and their MOTs, boilers have components that are prone to wearing out and should be checked on an annual basis by a qualified gas engineer.
It’s incredibly important for the government, plumbers, installers and gas engineers to promote the importance of carbon monoxide awareness. Changing the public perception and increasing awareness of how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning will help to prevent deaths and illness that could otherwise be avoided.
Article by Benjamin Clarke
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