This week marks Breathe Easy Week, a time to raise awareness of dangerous toxins the environment that affect our bodies, especially our lung health. There are many factors in our daily lives that can be attributed to this and many of these we may not be aware of as they are colourless, odourless or you may be inhaling them passively.
Every year more than 200 people are admitted to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, around 40 people of those admitted, die of poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely hard to detect, it’s colourless, odourless and tasteless and it can be inhaled without realising. The main cause of a carbon monoxide leak is from household appliances that have incorrectly been installed or maintained. This can be from cookers, boilers and heaters. It’s important to ensure these appliances are serviced annually to avoid this and it’s crucial to purchase a carbon monoxide alarm to alert you if a leak occurs in your home.
Check out our warning signs for Carbon Monoxide in order for you to #BreatheEasy in your home:
- The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue. Yellow or orange flames mean you need to get your cooker checked
- Dark staining around or on appliances
- Sooty marks on the walls around boilers, stoves or the cover of gas fires
- Pilot lights that frequently go out
- Increased condensation inside windows
Carbon monoxide is not only found in the home. In recent years, there has been a surge in staycation holidays and people are opting for camping and caravanning trips a little closer to home, especially among young families. However, when pitching up your tent, the one thing we often forget about is our attention to carbon monoxide safety. Research we conducted uncovered that millions of families are unknowingly taking risks with their lives, exposing themselves to CO leaking from gas cookers, BBQs and heaters used on holiday. In our survey of 2,000 holidaymakers 45% of people admitted to cooking in their tent or awning, one in five have used a fuel burning appliance to heat their tent and a staggering 17% of people have brought a charcoal or gas BBQ inside the tent.
The roll call of recent tragedies involving carbon monoxide in holiday resorts makes horrific reading:
- In January 2015, retired couple Nan and Francie O’Reilly were found dead in their static caravan at a holiday park in Northern Ireland after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning.
- In 2013, John Cook, 90, wife Audrey, 86, and 46-year-old daughter Maureen were found dead in a caravan in Camborne, Cornwall.
- In nearby Devon the same summer, Bethan O’Brien, 20, died from CO poisoning while camping in Devon after a stove was left burning inside her tent.
- In May 2012, 14-year-old Hannah Thomas-Jones died at a campsite in Bucknell, Shropshire, when a portable barbecue was placed in her tent to keep her warm.
- Also in 2012, six-year-old Isabelle Harris from Gosport died in similar circumstances.
If you’re unsure about whether you could be at risk, check out our tips what to look out for and who to call if you think you’re in danger.