Contacting MP and movers and shakers about CO awareness – the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group and others

OK I’m like a dog with a bone about the CO awareness issue.  This is what I’m doing.

I am contacting the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group and all involved with the CO All Fuels Action Forum – by post/twitter/or email.

I want to make them aware of the book CO Not Just A Killer, of course, maybe those individuals may have ways to bring it it the attention of the public – it is cheap (or Free) readily available – quick and easy to read, why not expect most people to read it and help themselves?

What are the aims of the APPCO group?

preventing Carbon Monoxide poisoning” was published by the group in 2011, Baroness Finley was the inquiry chair and it made these recommendations:

  1. No VAT on CO alarms
  2. Mortgage providers & estate agents should require Co alarms and fuel fired appliances are serviced.
  3. Green deal work should be done by engineers who are members of recognised professional body (eg Gas Safe Register) and CO alarms fitted.􀀷􀁋􀁈􀀃􀀪􀁒􀁙􀁈􀁕􀁑􀁐􀁈
  4. NHS clinicians should recognise symptoms of CO poison and have equipment to test for it.
  5. Studies required into health impact on survivors.􀁑􀁗􀀃􀁖􀁋􀁒􀁘􀁏􀁇
  6. Trial GPs prescribing Gas Safety Checks.
  7. Coroners should routinely test for Co poisoning and a central register of CO deaths set up.
  8. Gas Emergency personnel should have CO alarms/monitors.
  9. Ambulance services should have CO monitors.
  10. Better information around sale or camping & BBQ equipment and at campsites.
  11. Carbon monoxide should be taught at school.
  12. Gas retailers have a role in raising awareness.
  13. An All Fuels Forum to coordinate awareness campaigns.
  14. The government should amend the Gas Safety Installation & Use 1998 legislations to: (a) make the use of flue-gas analysers compulsory; (b) make full service of all appliances in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions compulsory (that is usually annually); (c) CO alarms in rented properties to be compulsory.
  15. Consider CO alarms under building regulations part J.
  16. Regulations for all fossil fuels should be bought in line with those for Gas.
  17. Should be a central point for data on CO fatalities & injuries arranged by HSE & industry.

All good points. I  agree with 17 recommendations although it is hard to imagine how some will be implemented and in what time scale.

I would like to see a high profile hard hitting TV campaign.  In my life there have been several that made big impacts and I remember to this day:

  • Clunk Click
  • Only a fool breaks the two second rule
  • The danger on escalators (I can’t remember the words but I remember the teddy)
  • The HIV & Tombstones

Personally I have a different perspective based on my own little life experience.  Most accidental CO poisonings in this country are due to misuse of or using faulty heating & cooking equipment.

I talk mostly to gas engineers.  Everyday they see faulty appliances that are old and rarely serviced.  They see the work of cowboy and DIY installations and repairs – many of these are poor or just outright dangerous. The public are blissfully ignorant of the danger – they think fire or explosion and they know they will smell a gas leak.

1 in 5 gas appliances in use this winter could be dangerous – all research suggests the risks are this high.

 Here are some of my personal recommendations:

TV campaign

  • CO awareness.
  • Make it clear that DIY work on gas & other fuels is dangerous, illegal and anti-social.
  • That you need to check the Gas Safe Register card.
  • Publicity that annual servicing of all appliances is important (many people don’t have their fires serviced because they don’t realise they should).
  • The Building Regulations notification scheme (for boilers, etc) should help to prevent installation by unregistered fitters, but still many consumers are unaware of this.

Mandatory annual servicing? Like a vehicle MOT – it sort of makes sense but I can see many arguments against this and it will be difficult to implement.  I think it would be better if more people voluntarily prioritised regular maintenance of their appliances by a trained, qualified professional engineer.  People might do that if there was better awareness – so lets get those TV, radio & newspapers adverts in place!

Consumer Information: A clear message about annual servicing & the need to employ professionals (such as a Gas Safe registered engineers for gas) should be  on the packaging of gas appliances, at the forefront of the user manual and at point of sale. Anyone can buy a gas fire or boiler or oven in DIY shops but it needs to be clear they can’t fit them.

Low income homeowners: There is already a scheme to enable low income household to get a FREE Gas Safety Check – through the Priority Services Register maintained by utility providers.  There should be far more publicity for this.

And if I were to go further, what about:

  • No VAT on installation & repair of heating and cooking equipment – these are essentials not luxuries!  Or at least reduce the VAT to 5% instead of 20%.
  • Appliances & parts only available to registered installers, not on sale to the general public.
  • The book, CO Not Only A killer to be distributed to all households! Of Course!

Increasing general public awareness should be high on the agenda and would make all the other stuff so much easier.


3 Responses to “Contacting MP and movers and shakers about CO awareness – the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group and others”

  1. 1 Plumbers Cheltenham October 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    I am pleased to see that somebody else feels as strongly about CO detectors as I do. They should be a legal requirement in every room where there is a gas or solid fuel appliance period.

  2. 2 Plumbers Miami January 7, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    I am in agreement with this. Florida is very strict on these legal requirements and it has saved a ton of lives. Great Info!

  3. 3 Andrea Coates-Appleyard June 7, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I have had central heating system and new boiler system installed in December 2012 by a company called Ray Sampson and Son in Ponteland, Northumberland. I am now selling my house and have identified he has not issued an Installation Certificate because he is not registered with Gas Safety. He informed my husband not to get the boiler serviced regularly as it is not required. I have contacted him today and he has informed me his company has ceased trading. I wonder why?

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