Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service urges everyone to be ‘carbon monoxide aware’ during CO Awareness Week 2021

CO1 alarm test

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 (22 – 26 November).

The Week follows Gas Safety Week in September when people were reminded about gas safety and the potential carbon monoxide (CO) hazards of dangerous appliances.

The public are again being advised 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, 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.

Carbon Monoxide: 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 2012 – 2021 (to date) there have been some 71 carbon monoxide incidents in the HWFRS area.

Last year (2020) saw 17 incidents for just one year – the highest single-year figure for the period – possibly attributable to the large numbers of people staying and working at home due to the pandemic and only last week fire crews were called to an address in Herefordshire to deal with a carbon monoxide leak.

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

“If people’s gas appliances are overdue for a service, CO Awareness Week is the ideal time 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. If an appliance isn’t working properly, at the very least, people can suffer extreme inconvenience and at the worst risks to their health.

“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

People can also read about a tragic CO fatality here .

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.

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
    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), 0800 002 001 (Northern Ireland) or look up the number for your UK region at

Emma concluded: “We offer a Free Home Fire Safety Visit and during the Visit, crews and Technicians will talk about gas safety, so if you would like to see if you qualify for a Free visit, 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.”


Notes to editors

For media enquiries relating to Gas Safe Register contact Gas Safe Register press office on 0207 654 2199 or email

Gas Safe Register is the registration body appointed by the Health and Safety Executive to manage the gas safety register in the UK, Isle of Man and Guernsey.

It is a legal requirement for anyone carrying out domestic and commercial gas work to be registered and comply with the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.

The register of gas engineers held by Gas Safe Register aims to protect people from unsafe gas work. Gas Safe Register assesses the competence of engineers by inspecting the gas work they have carried out to make sure they are safe to work on gas. Gas Safe Register is focused on gas safety and campaigns to raise awareness of gas safety risks associated with using illegal gas workers.

Gas Safe Register deals with all aspects of the downstream gas industry covered by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. It covers both piped natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).Gas Safe Register replaced the CORGI gas registration scheme in Great Britain and Isle of Man on 1 April 2009.