Release Date: 20-Apr-2011
‘Don’t gamble with your safety – be CO savvy’ - that’s the message a group of safety campaigners want Kirklees residents to remember.
Representatives from the Kirklees Carbon Monoxide Awareness Group (KCOAG) held an information stall on Dewsbury market on Wednesday (20 April), on what would have been the 18th birthday of local schoolboy, Dominic Rodgers, who died in 2004, aged 10, from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Stacey talks to Imran Ali from Batley about gas safety
The group is led by staff from Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) and Dominic’s mum, Stacey Rodgers.
The aim of the event was to raise awareness of the deadly gas. Those visiting the stall completed a survey to find out what they knew about the ‘silent killer,’ and took away safety information packs.
Stacey has campaigned tirelessly about CO since the death of her son. She explained: ‘We know from previous surveys that people in Kirklees seem to be more aware of the dangers than people in other parts of the county, but there’s no room for complacency as we still came across people who have no idea what CO is or how to stay safe in their homes.
“Yorkshire is one of the worst regions in the country for carbon monoxide poisoning – there were no deaths last year, thank goodness, unlike previous years, but it is still in the top four areas of the country for incidents and casualties. *
“I want to make sure that we bring these figures down, and that in Kirklees at least, no one else has to go through what my family did when we lost Dominic.”
Explaining KNH’s role in the group, Chief Executive Simon Rogers, said: “increasingly, our estates are mixed communities of owners and social renters, often living next door to each other in flats, terraced or semi-detached properties. Therefore spending time and effort promoting gas safety across the wider community is part of our core business. We believe that promoting gas safety to everyone is a key part of KNH's role, but we’re also constantly reviewing our own systems to make sure we’re doing all that we can to safeguard our customers.
“You don't grieve any more or less for CO victims like Dominic Rodgers because they are tenants or owners. We want to make sure our organisation is doing its bit to help keep people in Kirklees safe.”
John O’Grady, Communication Director at Northern Gas Networks, added: “People seem to be unaware that carbon monoxide can be caused by burning oil, coal and wood as well as gas.
“It is vital that people get their gas appliances checked, but people using wood burning stoves and chimneys should also make sure they get these appliances checked and cleaned regularly.
“Our message is clear and simple – carbon monoxide can kill – don’t be a victim, get your gas appliances checked every year, even if you already have a carbon monoxide alarm.
“If you live in rented housing, it is your landlord’s responsibility to do this for you every year – so if you haven’t got a certificate that proves your appliances are safe, insist your landlord gets them checked for you.”
Signs of CO to look out for include pilot lights blowing out, extra condensation, sooting and/or yellow stains around appliances and flames which usually burn blue burning yellow/orange instead.
Physical symptoms of CO poisoning include ‘flu like’ symptoms, chest or stomach pains, nausea and/or vomiting, breathlessness, feeling tired or drowsy and visual problems.
* source: 2010 Gas Safety Trust report
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 an informal partnership made up the Dominic Rodgers Trust and staff from Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), Northern Gas Networks, Kirkless Council, Sadeh Lok Housing Association, the Anchor Trust, Enterprise plc, Eaga Heat and Morgan Lambert.
KCOAG was the first group of its kind in the country to be doing this kind of work and has been recognised with three national awards for its work.