Press release

Essex residents urged to test carbon monoxide alarms following serious incident

Carbon monoxide alarm

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has issued a warning to residents to take action against a ‘silent killer’.

On Friday 18 November, firefighters were called to a house in Basildon where a gas cooker had been left on causing a strong smell of gas. It was not clear how long the cooker had been on, but it is possible it had been on all night.

Fire crews tested the air quality and found a high level of carbon monoxide inside the property. The occupant, an elderly man, was left in the care of the Ambulance Service as a precaution.

Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer. You can't see it, smell it or taste it. This is why it's so important you have working carbon monoxide alarms if you have a gas boiler, gas appliances or an open fire or log burner.

A working carbon monoxide detector can detect harmful carbon monoxide levels in your home and can help protect you and your family.

Will Newman, Head of Prevention at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “With the weather getting colder, more of us will be starting to use our heating and it’s really important that you have a working carbon monoxide detector at home if you have a gas boiler, gas appliances or an open fire or log burner.

“Carbon monoxide poisoning is often called the silent killer as without a carbon monoxide detector, it’s difficult to detect the poisonous gas.

“You can buy a carbon monoxide detector from most DIY stores and if you are in a rented property, the landlord has to provide a carbon monoxide detector.

“Remember to test them regularly, at least once a month when you test your smoke alarms.”

If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off or you experience any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Turn off any gas appliances
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate the property
  • Do not use your appliances/open fire/log burner until it has been inspected by a competent tradesperson
  • If you feel unwell, call 111 and speak to the NHS
  • If you think there is an immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999 or the relevant service for your area
  • Call a registered engineer to check all your fuel-burning appliances. To check if an engineer is on the gas safe register visit

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