Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service pledges support for Gas Safety Week 2020
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has pledged its support for Gas Safety Week (14 -20 September 2020) and is encouraging awareness of gas safety and urging the public to keep themselves safe from dangerous gas appliances.
Coordinated by Gas Safe Register, the tenth annual Gas Safety Week is encouraging organisations from across the UK to work together, to encourage all gas consumers to ensure they have their gas appliances checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and protect against the dangers of unsafe gas appliances, such as fires, leaks, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
With increased deaths and gas-related injuries over the years, it is crucial that people have their appliances checked each year to be assured they are working safely and efficiently.
During the last ten years (1 April 2010 – 31 March 2020), HWFRS attended 357 gas related incidents, 40% of which involved a fire. The incidents caused over 110 casualties and nine people were rescued. 38% of gas escapes in homes involved carbon monoxide leaks.
This is a rise on the previous ten year period (1 April 2009 – 31 March 2019) when the service attended 342 gas related incidents, 40% of them involving a fire. The incidents caused some 94 casualties and seven people were rescued. During the period 35% of gas escapes in homes involved carbon monoxide leaks
Group Commander Stu Crebbin, of the Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service Community Risk department, said: “The rise in gas leak cases in our area reflects the national increase in incidents, and I would urge people to ensure they have their appliances checked by a professionally qualified Gas Safe engineer.
“This will provide vital protection against the dangers of unsafe gas appliances, not only from fires, leaks, explosions but also carbon monoxide poisoning.
“This is especially important in view of coronavirus, as organisations prepare for a return to office working. It is critical that in preparing work premises for the return of staff, those responsible don’t compromise safety measures.
“People should ‘Trust the Triangle’ and check that their engineer is Gas Safe registered. Anyone working on gas appliances while not being registered is working illegally."
Jonathan Samuel, managing director for Gas Safe Register, said: “It’s great to have the support of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service during Gas Safety Week. By working together, we can reach more people and help to reduce the number of dangerous gas appliances that could be lurking in the homes of the UK’s 23 million gas consumers.
“We know from our own investigations data that one in six gas appliances in the UK are unsafe meaning far too many people are victims of preventable gas related incidents.”
Stay Gas Safe at home
Stay Gas Safe at home this Gas Safety Week by following these top tips:
- Sign up to a free annual gas safety check reminder service at www.staygassafe.co.uk
- Be aware of the signs that an unsafe gas appliance may cause such as a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame; soot or staining on or around the appliance; excess condensation in the room
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO gas is known as the ‘silent killer’ as it has no smell, taste or colour. The symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness, which can easily be mistaken for something else.
- ‘Trust the Triangle’, always ask to see an engineer’s ‘Gas Safe’ ID card and inspect it to make sure the engineer is qualified to check or fit the appliance in question.
How to stay gas safe
- Ensure your gas appliances are checked annually by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer
- Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm marked EN 50291 which carries the British Standards Kitemark
What is carbon monoxide and what causes it?
- Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas which has no taste, colour or smell. It can make you feel seriously ill and can kill quickly without warning.
- It can be produced when poorly maintained, incorrectly fitted or badly repaired appliances do not burn gas completely.
- Look out for the following signs that could indicate that a gas appliance is not working correctly, and CO may be present in the house:
- o Floppy yellow or orange flame on your gas hob, rather than a crisp blue
- o Dark, sooty staining on or around gas appliances
- o Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- o Increased condensation inside windows
What are the physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
- Headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, collapse, loss of consciousness
- If you're suffering from any of the symptoms and feel better when you leave the house, it could be CO poisoning.
- If you're concerned you or someone in your household may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure you do the following:
- o Contact your GP, who can check and advise if you need treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning
- o If you're concerned there is immediate danger, call the gas emergency helpline on 0800 111 999 (mainland GB), 0800 002 001 (Northern Ireland) or look up the number for your UK region at http://bit.ly/gasemergency.
GC Crebbin concluded: “Just call us any time between 09:00 and 17:00 on 0800 032 1155, and speak to one of our experts for help and advice.”