BETTER MONITORING: Two MPs back carbon monoxide probe
Carbon monoxide alarm, Image: LDRS
A push for better monitoring of a silent killer in Teesside homes has been backed by two MPs.
Carbon monoxide poisoning kills about 60 people every year in England and Wales.
Its dangers sparked a Stockton Council select committee probe this year – which urged laws be tightened up on alarms being fitted in public buildings and caravans.
Councillors also called on housing associations and the council to encourage their workers to carry “mini-detectors” when entering other people’s homes.
Members of the people select committee heard how both Stockton’s MPs, Alex Cunningham and Matt Vickers, had backed the committee’s push for further action.
Carbon monoxide has no smell or taste – and when breathed in, it mixes with the haemoglobin in your blood which carries oxygen around your body.
This stops blood being able to carry oxygen to cells causing them to fail and die.
And this also makes it deadly at high levels.
Monitoring officer Judy Trainer told Monday’s meeting how Mr Cunningham had written to the Government on the back of the probe.
Earlier this month, the Labour MP said he’d seen the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning first-hand while working in the gas industry.
Mr Cunningham added: “It’s vitally important that people are aware of dangers of faulty gas appliances and make sure they get them checked by an accredited engineer every year.
“It’s also important that government legislation is in place to protect people too and that’s why I support the committee’s recommendations.
“I hope the Secretary of State looks favourably at their review and calls for further action to keep people safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.”
The odourless and colourless gas is formed when fuels, such as gas, oil, coal and wood, do not burn fully – and it can be a danger from faulty appliances such as cookers, heaters, and central heating boilers
Private landlords have to ensure gas appliances are checked and certified annually.
They also have a responsibility to ensure carbon monoxide alarms are fitted in every room with a solid fuel burning appliance.
But social landlords aren’t yet required to do so under the law.
Stockton’s probe urged the government to extend the legislation to all properties, public buildings and community halls with gas appliances and solid fuel burners.
The missive also called for alarms in holiday homes, including caravans, to be made mandatory when they hosted gas and solid fuel appliances.
Ms Trainer told councillors how Mr Vickers had also supported the review’s recommendations.
She added: “He highlighted that on the 2015 legislation regarding private sector landlords, there are plans to extend this legislation to social landlords.
“He also supported raising awareness among schools.”
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are not always obvious.
A tension-type headache is the most common – alongside dizziness, feeling and being sick, tiredness and confusion, stomach pain and shortness of breath.
Low level exposure can see symptoms which mirror flu and food poisoning.
But unlike flu, carbon monoxide poisoning does not bring a high temperature.
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Demcoracy Reporter
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