Borderers urged beware of carbon monoxide poisoning

Borders MP Michael Moore is backing the campaign led by the charity Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness, to bring the dangers of CO poisoning to the attention of Borderers.

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is difficult to detect because it is colourless and has no taste or smell. It is produced by faulty or poorly maintained or ventilated fossil fuel burning appliances and by blocked or partially blocked flues.

Carbon monoxide poisoning causes deaths across the UK each year and there are numerous near misses, many of which go unreported. At lower levels, carbon monoxide causes symptoms that are similar to flu or food poisoning, including headaches, tiredness, nausea and difficulty in thinking clearly, as it reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood and so starves vital organs of oxygen. Supporting the campaign, Mr Moore said: “Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous and can be produced by blocked chimneys and faulty appliances, so I want to encourage Borderers to buy carbon monoxide alarms and have their appliances and flues checked out.

“Every death or illness caused by carbon monoxide is an avoidable tragedy so I’m urging Borderers to stay safe this Christmas and take action to protect themselves, their friends, families and neighbours.”

Founder and president of the charity Lynn Griffiths said: “I want everyone to think about the health and safety of their families, friends and the old person who lives next door or down the street as we approach Christmas. If they haven’t got an audible carbon monoxide alarm, buy them one. It could be the best present you’ve ever given to anyone and it may just save a life over Christmas or New Year.

“Audible CO alarms can be bought from any hardware store or supermarket and they don’t cost much.

“We all owe it to our families, friends, relatives and neighbours to ensure that they are protected.”

Anyone who suspects they may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should immediately turn off all appliances, go outside and seek medical help from a qualified healthcare professional or, if in the UK, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

The general safety advice is that all appliances using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), solid fuel or oil should be serviced regularly by an appropriately qualified and registered engineer.