Buses help spread life-saving message

Release Date: 13-Nov-2008
A new safety initiative aimed at increasing Kirklees residents’ awareness of the danger of carbon monoxide (CO) gets underway this week, with the start of a major bus advertising campaign. The campaign, which is led by local campaigner Stacey Rodgers and staff from KNH and other agencies, was launched at an event attended by the Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Karam Hussain, and Kirklees Council’s portfolio holder for housing, Cllr Elizabeth Smaje.
L-R Martin Garbutt & Alan Parker (CORGI), Ian Longley (PH Jones), Penny Allison (KNH), Hussain Brook (Sadeh Lok Housing Association), Paul Goodwin (KNH) and Stacey Rodgers.

L-R Martin Garbutt & Alan Parker (CORGI), Ian Longley (PH Jones), Penny Allison (KNH), Hussain Brook (Sadeh Lok Housing Association), Paul Goodwin (KNH) and Stacey Rodgers.

The bus adverts feature a photo of 10 year old local schoolboy, Dominic Rodgers, who died after the poisonous gas seeped into his bedroom from a neighbour’s faulty boiler.

They’ve been timed to coincide with the start of winter, when the cold and dark nights mean that people are more likely to stay indoors and turn up the heating and may mistake the symptoms of CO poisoning for flu or other winter viruses.

The adverts are an important part of a larger initiative that his mum, Stacey, and the Kirklees Carbon Monoxide Awareness Group (KCOAG) has developed to warn people of the danger of carbon monoxide and let them know how they can help protect themselves and their families by having their appliances serviced regularly and installing a CO alarm.

Stacey said: “I don’t want anyone else to go through what our family did when we lost Dominic, so I really hope this campaign pushes everyone who sees it to do something.

“We know that a similar campaign we ran last year saved at least one life. But I want to get to a point where we don’t need to do this kind of thing because people will know how important it is to get their heating and cooking appliances checked and serviced and will make sure that happens.”

“So if you live in a council house, make sure you let the gas team do their safety checks. If you live in a private rented house, make sure your landlord has a safety certificate. And if you own your home, get a qualified and registered engineer to check your appliances.”

Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Gas Safety Group (APPGSG), is a great supporter of the work that Stacey and KCOAG are doing in Kirklees.

Mr Sheerman said: “Sadly in this region, most of us are only too well aware of the dangers caused by the potentially deadly gas, as we have some of the highest number of carbon monoxide poisonings in the country.

“Far fewer people understand the risk factors or what they can do to help protect themselves and their families. It’s vital that people learn what they can do to help prevent even more tragedies from happening.”

KCOAG formed in 2006 to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and to encourage people to have their appliances regularly serviced.

The group is made up of Stacey and staff from Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), Kirklees Council, Sadeh Lok Housing Association, the Anchor Trust, and gas industry specialists, PH Jones, United Utilities and CORGI.

KCOAG was the first group of its kind in the country to be doing this kind of work and has received two national awards for its gas safety initiatives.

This year, they have raised nearly £40,000 to help fund the awareness campaign, sponsor a programme aimed at primary school children, and develop a campaign toolkit that will be freely available to other organizations interested in carbon monoxide awareness-raising.

• If you’re over 60 or have a disability or long-term illness and are on a means-tested benefit, you can get FREE gas servicing from the Anchor Staying Put project. You may also be able to claim up to £1000 to help with repairs. Call 01484 845492 for details.