Carbon monoxide poisoning is often called the silent killer as without a carbon monoxide detector, it’s difficult to detect the poisonous gas.
In addition to our standard advice to have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of a house, we also recommend having a working carbon monoxide detector if you have a gas boiler, gas appliances or an open fire or log burner.
You can buy a carbon monoxide detector from most DIY stores and major supermarkets. We recommend avoiding unbranded alarms - you can find out more information on the United Against CO website.
What should I look out for to diagnose carbon monoxide poisoning?
Think COMA and ask yourself these four questions...
- C: Co-habitees - is anyone else in the house affected? (Including pets)
- O: Outdoors - did your symptoms improve when out of the house?
- M: Maintenance - are heating and cooking appliances maintained and have repairs been carried out by competent engineers/ tradespersons eg GasSafe registered where gas is involved?
- A: Alarm - do you have a carbon monoxide alarm?
What should I do if my carbon monoxide alarm goes off?
- Stop using all appliances, switch them off, and open doors and windows to ventilate the property
- Evacuate the property immediately; stay calm and avoid raising your heart rate
- Call the Gas Emergency number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident, or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363
- Don't go back into the property; wait for advice from the emergency services
- Seek immediate medical help; you may not realise you've been affected by the carbon monoxide and going outside into fresh air won't treat any exposure by itself