Gas & Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is produced by the incomplete burning of fuel. It is poisonous and even breathing in a small amount can cause loss of consciousness and death. In the UK, more than 50 people die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning every year, and 200 people are seriously injured.

How is carbon monoxide produced?
Carbon monoxide is hard to detect because it has no smell, taste, or colour. It is therefore easy to breathe in without realising.
Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood do not burn fully. When a fire burns in an enclosed room, the oxygen in the room is gradually used up and replaced with carbon dioxide. Following a build up of carbon dioxide in the air, the fuel is prevented from burning fully, and starts releasing carbon monoxide instead.

Signs to look for
Although carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas, signs that indicate incomplete combustion is occurring, resulting in the production of CO, include:
• Yellow or orange rather than blue flames (apart from fuel effect fires or flueless appliances which display this colour flame)
• Soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
• Pilot lights that frequently blow out
• Increased condensation inside windows

Symptoms
Early symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused with food poisoning, viral infections, flu or simple tiredness. Symptoms to look out for include:
• tiredness
• drowsiness
• headaches
• giddiness
• nausea
• vomiting
• pains in the chest
• breathlessness
• stomach pains
• erratic behavior

What preventative measures can I take against carbon monoxide exposure?

Ensure that any work carried out in relation to gas appliances in domestic or commercial premises is to be undertaken by a Gas Safe registered installer, competent in that area of work.
Steadfast Gas are approved to undertake this specialist work.

HSE strongly advises that gas appliances and/or flues are installed and serviced regularly for safety by a Gas Saferegistered installer. If you live in tenanted accommodation, your landlord has a legal duty to carry out an annual gas safety check and maintain gas appliances. They must provide you with a copy of the completed gas safety check certificate.

Top Tips.

Always make sure there is enough fresh air in the room containing your gas appliance. If you have a chimney or a flue, ensure it is not blocked up and also ensure that vents are not covered.
If you plan to install a gas fire in a bedroom, use a Gas Safe registered installer; do not use unflued appliances like paraffin heaters and cabinet heaters.
Information from: http://www.hse.gov.uk (crown copyright agreement)

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