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Gas safety campaigners and students present “The Silent Killer” film to promote gas safety in the UK

The Silent Killer has been developed by students at the Creative and Media School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
The film aims to make young people aware of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide

Gas safety campaigners and students from Huddersfield were in London last week to present a unique project to the top brass of the gas industry. They presented their film, “The Silent Killer” to the Gas Industry Safety Group, which brings together the principal organisations in the UK energy industry to promote gas safety.

“The Silent Killer” has been developed by students at the Creative and Media School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. It was commissioned by the Dominic Rodgers Trust and the Kirklees Carbon Monoxide Awareness Group (KCOAG), which together have carried out a number of successful gas safety campaigns over the past six years.

Done as a series of different scenarios including camping and student housing, the film aims to make young people aware of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) and how they can protect themselves. It also includes a number of victim’s stories to drive home the seriousness of the deadly gas.

Safety campaigner Stacey Rodgers, knows all too well how deadly carbon monoxide can be, having lost her son Dominic to CO poisoning when he was only 10. She explained why they chose this approach: “Dom would have turned 20 this year and would no doubt have been about to start living independently, going on holiday with friends, visiting festivals and so on. With that in mind, we wanted to do a campaign that would get young people like him to take notice of the dangers of carbon monoxide and we knew that the best way to do that would be to get other young people to help develop the campaign. So we approached the Creative and Media School and asked the students to come up with a drama that would capture the attention of other young people on the brink of independence, alert them to the dangers of carbon monoxide and tell them how they can help keep themselves safe. The students have written, produced, starred in and edited the film as part of their studies, and the end result is brilliant. We’re so grateful to them and to the staff at the school for getting so involved in the project and making it happen.”

Isobel Crossley is a Year 11 student who helped develop the film script, as well as acted in it. She said: “This experience gave me the first taste of a professional working environment and I was proud to be a part of something so useful and informative.”

Speaking at the London presentation, Chris Bielby, chair of the Gas Industry Safety Group, said: “The DVD is a powerful reminder of the dangers of carbon monoxide. Everyone who watched it was stunned into silence and I hope that it will raise awareness amongst young people and others who see it. I was impressed with the standard of the acting and production and think that the students did a great job. Though the statistics show a downward trend for deaths from carbon monoxide, with deaths from natural gas at an all time low, we must not be complacent and it is important that initiatives like this help raise awareness of other sources such as barbeques and solid fuels.”

“The Silent Killer” will be made available via YouTube and will also be available as a teaching resource for schools and colleges, thanks to sponsorship from the GISG, FireAngel, and Scotia Gas.

The campaign is also supported by KCOAG, a multi-agency partnership made up of the Dominic Rodgers Trust, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, Kirklees Council, Northern Gas Networks, Enterprise plc and Carillion plc.

KCOAG formed in 2006 to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and to encourage people to have their appliances regularly serviced. It was the first group of its kind in the country to be doing this kind of work and has received three national awards for its gas safety initiatives.

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