Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service urges everyone to be carbon monoxide aware during CO Awareness Week 2022

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Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to test their carbon monoxide alarms, to ensure they are working during this CO Awareness Week (21 – 27 November).

The Week follows October’s Check Your Smoke Alarm month in the Fire Kills campaign when HWFRS reminded people to test their smoke alarms.

Since 1 October 2022, the rules for carbon monoxide alarms in homes have changed, and landlords now have a legal obligation to provide alarms in most properties.

CO Awareness Week is therefore another chance for us to remind people about the potential carbon monoxide (CO) hazards of dangerous appliances.

We’re advising the public to ensure they have had their gas appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer to protect them from dangers such as carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as fires, leaks and explosions.

With increased deaths and gas-related injuries over the years, it is crucial that people get their appliances checked each year to be assured they are working safely and efficiently.

Did you know?

  • Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas with no smell or taste.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning affects over a thousand people each year and can be fatal.
  • Those most at risk are the under 14s and the over 65s.
  • There are 23 million gas consumers in the UK.
  • 1 in 6 homes has a dangerous gas appliance.
  • Anyone working on gas appliances while not registered is working illegally.

In the ten year period between January 2012 and December 2021, there were some 71 carbon monoxide incidents in the HWFRS area, while last year (2021) saw 9 incidents for just one year.

Overall, these incidents involved seven fatalities and 43 injuries during the ten year period.

Emma Roberts, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention, said:

“If people’s gas appliances are overdue for a service, there is no better time than CO Awareness Week to get them checked by a professionally qualified Gas Safe engineer.

“This will provide vital protection against the dangers of unsafe gas appliances, not only from CO poisoning but also from fires, leaks and even explosions.

“People should ‘Trust the Triangle’ and check that their engineer is Gas Safe-registered. Anyone working on gas appliances but not registered is working illegally.

“There is also a wealth of useful advice on the ROSPA website (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)) to help you stay safe and avoid CO poisoning, at , and on the Gas Safe Register at Gas Safe Register to find a list of approved gas engineers.

Stay Gas Safe at home: what to think about

Although gas safety is important all year round, it isn’t always a household’s top priority. With the pandemic still affecting our lifestyles and many people still staying inside, it’s vital that everyone remains aware of gas safety dangers at home – such as carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fire, explosions and of the importance of only using a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out gas work.

Stay ‘CO Aware’ by following these top tips:

Know what carbon monoxide is and what causes it

  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas which has no taste, colour or smell and is known as the ‘silent killer’. 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.
  • Go to CO Awareness Week | Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2022 ( for a wealth of useful information.

Know the physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning & what to do if you feel ill

  • It can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, collapse, loss of consciousness.
  • If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms but feel better when you leave the house, it could be CO poisoning.
  • If you think you or someone in your household may be suffering from CO poisoning, make sure you contact your GP, who can check and advise if you need treatment.

How to stay gas safe and avoid CO contamination

  • Get your gas appliances checked annually by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer
  • Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm marked EN 50291 which carries the British Standards Kitemark. Sign up to a free annual gas safety check reminder service at
  • Be aware of the signs that an unsafe gas appliance may cause, eg: a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame on your gas hob, soot, dark sooty staining on or around the appliance, pilot lights frequently blowing out
  • Increased condensation inside windows.
  • 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.
  • Go to Gas Safe Register for a wealth of tips and advice about staying Gas Safe.
  • Learn about dangers in your area at and find a Gas Safe registered engineer by calling 0800 408 5500 or visiting
  • If you’re concerned there is immediate danger, call the gas emergency helpline on 0800 111 999 (mainland GB) or look up the number for your UK region at
  • Since 1 October 2022, the rules for carbon monoxide alarms in homes have changed, and landlords now have a legal obligation to provide alarms in most properties.

If you’re a landlord

  • Changes to regulations now mean landlords must fit smoke alarms in all homes, and CO alarms where there is a fixed combustion heating appliance in rented accommodation (applies in Wales from 1 December 2022).
  • We also advise tenants to ensure their landlord is complying to help keep them safe
  • It is vital that people know how to look after these new alarms and what to do if the alarm goes off: leave the property and call 0800 111 999.

Free Home Fire Safety Visits may be available

Emma concluded:

“We know that many people are now facing considerable financial challenges, and many people will not be in a position to pay for smoke alarms, so where residents are struggling to pay for smoke alarms and other detection such as carbon monoxide alarms, we may be able to help by carrying out a FREE Home Fire Safety Visit.

“If you would like to see if you would qualify for a Home Fire Safety Visit or you would like to speak to the team about fire safety advice about alarms and other concerns, please visit and, or call our Prevention team on 0800 032 1155.

“You can also complete a FREE online Home Fire Safety check by following the link on our website. This easy-to-follow check will take you through your home a room at a time – the simple questions will help you spot fire risks and make your home safer.”