Sprue and Gis A Hug Foundation start campaign to increase protection against carbon monoxide dangers in Northern Ireland
Published on 2 September 2013
With the traditionally busy heating season just around the corner, plumbing and heating engineers can this year give a significant boost to the number of people protected against the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) in Northern Ireland, thanks to a joint campaign run by Sprue Safety Products and the Gis A Hug Foundation.
From October 1st, Sprue will donate one CO alarm to the charity for every 20 FireAngel CO9XT carbon monoxide alarms sold from participating wholesalers in Northern Ireland.
“This is a great opportunity for plumbing and heating engineers to keep more people safe from the dangers of this life-threatening gas,” said Brian Trueman, Sprue’s area specification manager for Scotland and Ireland. “We’re thrilled to be working with Gis A Hug on this campaign. The Foundation does a tremendous job in making people aware of the potentially fatal dangers of CO and in protecting the more vulnerable by providing free carbon monoxide alarms. Lives have undoubtedly been saved as a result of their campaigning.”
Set up in memory of Neil McFerran and Aaron Davidson, both 18, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning at a holiday flat in Castlerock, Co Derry three years ago, the Gis A Hug Foundation works tirelessly in raising awareness about this silent killer. To date the charity has given out 6,000 carbon monoxide alarms to those deemed most at risk, including the elderly, students and other vulnerable groups. This season’s campaign means that engineers can help the charity to protect even more people.
Catherine McFerran from Gis A Hug said: “As well as having your appliances serviced annually, every home should have an audible alarm fitted, as carbon monoxide can come through walls and ceilings from neighbouring properties.”
Carbon monoxide has claimed the lives of more than 60 people in Northern Ireland in the past 10 years, yet research suggests that less than a third of households have CO alarms installed. Gas Safe Register also estimates that although there is awareness that gas appliances need to be safety checked annually, 43% of Britons don’t do it, and worryingly 10% have gas appliances which have never been checked1.
“The new guidance introduced in Northern Ireland last year making carbon monoxide alarms mandatory wherever a new or replacement combustion appliance is installed in a home - regardless of the appliance's fuel type - will hopefully improve this situation,” added Brian. “However, fuel poverty is a real threat to people’s health in the region. 72% of households here have oil-fired heating, but the spiraling cost of oil is forcing many to sacrifice servicing their heating appliances to put meals on the table. Blocking flues, vents and chimneys have become common tactics used to keep heat in, but in doing so, occupants could unknowingly be trapping any deadly carbon monoxide from faulty appliances inside their home.”
“Many think that carbon monoxide only comes from gas appliances and assume they’re not at risk of poisoning because they don’t have a boiler, but any fuel that burns creates carbon monoxide. Worryingly, CO can also enter a property from adjoining buildings.”
“Contractors play a vital role in protecting people by explaining the dangers and ensuring customers take the right action to stay safe, including having working carbon monoxide alarms in the right locations. By doing so this winter, they will help other more vulnerable people stay safe at the same time.”
The FireAngel CO-9XT is ideal for providing early warning of the presence of carbon monoxide. Based on the most advanced electrochemical sensors available for the domestic market and certified to the European Standard BS EN 50291-1: 2010, this battery-operated alarm is easy to install with a fast-fix single pin bracket, simple to set up and features a tamper-proof internal power pack that has a guaranteed seven-year life.
For elderly or less able residents, it features a large, easy-to-use test button with three LEDs showing power, fault and alarm, so that an immediate visual check can be made to identify if a CO leak has occurred.
For management purposes, the CO-9XT also has a diagnostic capability that, in the event of the alarm going off, enables a report to be downloaded onto a PC giving the time, date and level of CO in the property at the time the alarm was triggered.
In response to some confusion regarding the positioning of carbon monoxide alarms, Sprue Safety Products has produced an installation video for the FireAngel CO-9X to clarify how to fix and locate a CO alarm correctly. This can be seen at: http://youtu.be/6oUoon1GVNg. Further guidance is available in BS EN 50292 and at Sprue Safety Products’ websites: www.sprue.com or www.fireangel.co.uk.
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