Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. Breathing it in can make you unwell, and it can kill if you're exposed to high levels.
Every year there are around 25 deaths from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales. After carbon monoxide is breathed in, it enters your bloodstream and mixes with haemoglobin (the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body), to form carboxyhaemoglobin.
When this happens, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, and this lack of oxygen causes the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die.
It's important to be aware of the dangers and identify any appliances in your house or work place that could potentially leak carbon monoxide.
Boilers, cookers, heating systems and appliances should be installed and regularly serviced by a reputable, registered engineer.
Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home or work place to alert you if there's a carbon monoxide leak. However, an alarm isn't a substitute for maintaining and regularly servicing appliances.
Following these safety tips below will help to protect yourself at home and in the workplace:
- Never use ovens or gas ranges to heat your home.
- Make sure rooms are well-ventilated and don't block air vents. If your home is double-glazed or draught-proofed, make sure there's still enough air circulating for any heaters that are in the room.
- Don't use gas-powered equipment and tools inside your home if you can avoid it. Only use them in a well-ventilated area, and put the engine unit and exhaust outside.
- Always wear a safety mask when using chemicals that contain methylene chloride.
- Don't burn charcoal in an enclosed space, such as on an indoor barbecue.
- Don't sleep in a room that has an unflued gas fire or paraffin heater.
- Fit an extractor fan in your kitchen (if it doesn't already have one).
A full range of carbon monoxide alarms can be found on marsden-fire-safety website