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Gas Safety Week: Six simple steps to help keep you safe

It’s Gas Safety Week again!

This is the eighth Gas Safety Week since it started in 2011.

Gas Safety Week raises awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances, which can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

During this week Gas Safe ask registered companies to help support them in getting this message across to the public. Simple things like putting a banner on our email signatures highlights gas safety to all our employees.

Think about it, there are approximately 65,000 registered companies from small businesses with one to two employees, to large companies with over 11,000 registered engineers. Each company can raise awareness with their employees and also reach the public through their contracts which makes a massive impact.

In the past Morgan Sindall Property Services have helped by sending out information leaflets with all our service appointment letters to thousands of clients. We have also issued scratch and sniff cards to educate people on the smell of gas. By being involved each year we could help save a life.

This year we have six simple steps to help keep you safe and warm in your home.

1. Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service your appliances.

Companies that complete gas work have to be Gas Safe registered.

2. Check both sides of your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card.

Make sure they are qualified for the work you need doing. You can find this information on the back of the card, or if you are unsure call Gas Safe.

3. Have all your gas appliances regularly serviced and safety checked every year.

Most of us know that it is a legal requirement for a landlord to service and maintain the gas appliances that belong to them in a rented property. It is not a legal requirement to service and maintain the appliances that you own in your own property. A large percentage of people never get their gas appliances serviced, if this is you, you’re putting yourself at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

You need to get your appliances at home serviced as required by the manufacturers, mainly annually. If you rent your home ask for a copy of the landlord’s current Gas Safety Record.

4. Know the six signs of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.

Unsafe gas appliances can put you at risk of CO poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions. Many of these signs mimic the common cold, check if appliances are in use when you feel ill, and always contact a doctor if you think you may be suffering from CO poisoning.

5. Check gas appliances for warning signs that they are not working properly e.g. lazy yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks or stains on or around the appliance, and too much condensation in the room.

6. Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm.

It is a requirement to install a CO alarm in a rented property where there are solid fuel appliances installed such as coal fires or multi fuel stoves. In most situations it is not a legal requirement to install a CO alarm in a rented property where a gas appliance is installed. There are plans to make this a legal requirement hopefully before the end of the year. CO is not only produced by gas appliances, it is also produced by solid fuel burning appliances, cars, generators or other kinds of engines and can move from one property to another and is completely odourless. CO alarms are an inexpensive way of saving lives. I would advise you to install one if you have any gas appliances or not.

So, please get the message, make sure you get your gas appliances, including your cookers, serviced at least every 12 months. Quite simply, it could save your life.

Tony Walker, National Gas Compliance Manager