Types of emergencies

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas produced when carbon based fuels do not burn properly. You cannot see it, taste it or smell it, but it can kill quickly with little warning.

Around 50 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gas, oil and solid fuel appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated.

Audible carbon monoxide alarms are designed to sound before carbon monoxide levels become threatening, and should be placed in the rooms where your fuel appliances are located. A standard smoke alarm will not detect carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide alarms must not be regarded as a substitute for proper installation and maintenance of gas appliances by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

Safety advice from London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade advise to carry out the following.

  • Gas appliances and or flues are installed and serviced regularly by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. 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
  • If you have an open fire, make sure your chimneys are swept twice a year. If you have a wood or coal burning stove fitted, make sure it is fitted by a HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing & Approval Scheme) approved installer
  • Always make sure there is enough fresh air in the room containing your gas or solid fuel appliance. If you have a chimney or a flue, ensure it is not blocked up and also ensure that vents are not covered
  • Do not use appliances like paraffin heaters and cabinet heaters in your house
  • Never take a BBQ into a building or tent when it is still warm. When the embers have nearly died down, the BBQ will produce very large amounts of carbon monoxide