Widow’s campaign highlights dangers of carbon monoxide

Huge thanks to Margaret Jeffery, Emma, journalist Rod & the Jersey Evening Post for this article.



Widow’s campaign highlights dangers of carbon monoxide

By Rod McLoughlin News Published: Less than an hour ago Last Updated: Less than an hour ago

THE widow of a man killed by carbon-monoxide poisoning has launched a campaign in Jersey schools to raise awareness of the dangers posed by the gas.

The scene of the incident in February 2017 which was attended by paramedics, police and the coastguard. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30237318)

On the fourth anniversary of her husband Ken’s death, Margaret Jeffery has joined forces with UK charity CO-Gas Safety to warn primary school children of the dangers posed by carbon monoxide.

‘I thought that a good place to start would be educating children because, as a retired primary school teacher, I’m aware that children are very good at educating their parents and nagging them. A distribution company in the UK, Cadent Gas, has made a fantastic offer to extend their educational videos and activity packs to Jersey. It is a great offer and the kids would love them,’ she said.

Ken Jeffery died of carbon-monoxide poisoning on 16 February 2017 on board his boat in the Old Harbour, an accident which rocked the family.

‘It was totally devastating and the hardest thing to bear was that his death could so easily have been avoided had he and I been aware of the dangers of carbon-monoxide emissions. Sadly, we were not,’ Mrs Jeffery said.

Margaret Jeffery (right) and step daughter Emma Harrison (left) at the Old Harbour. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30239382)

Following the accident, she gave interviews to the media in an effort to raise awareness of what she believes is a danger that is not widely appreciated by the public.

Mrs Jeffery has since been contacted by Stephanie Mrs Jeffery has since been contacted by Stephanie Trotter, president of the Carbon Monoxide and Gas Safety Society, a UK charity devoted to campaigning for greater awareness of the dangers of the gas and promoting the use of detectors which could save lives.

‘Stephanie put me in touch with Philip Burrows, who is the customer vulnerability programmes delivery manager at Cadent Gas in the UK. Although Jersey is not part of Cadent’s Network he has very generously offered our schools the opportunity to benefit from the exciting programmes which they have created. It is a free scheme so I think we are extremely fortunate and I would love to see our schools take up this offer,’ Mrs Jeffery said.

The resources were developed initially in UK classrooms by an arts worker who created a character called Safety Seymour, aimed at children from six to eight, who appears in a series of cartoons that highlight the dangers of carbon monoxide and the places it could be found in the home.

A series of films using actors presents a similar message to children aged ten and 11 which can be used in the classroom or by parents at home. The two presentations are available at safetyseymour.co.uk and thecocrew.co.uk.

Mrs Jeffery is now writing to all primary schools in the Island to ask them to show the films and provide information to their pupils. She hopes it will make something positive of her own experience.

‘I wanted to do something on Ken’s anniversary so that people reading something about it happening to an Islander – quite possibly someone they knew because a lot of people knew Ken – might take a bit more notice of this,’ Mrs Jeffery said.

Further coverage: page eight of today’s [16 February] JEP.

Lots of nice congratulations for the charity’s and my work anniversary

Lots of nice messages on Linked in for the work anniversary – 26 years of voluntary work pointing out that to avoid deaths and injuries from carbon monoxide (CO) people need to be informed about the dangers, research needs to be done and it is vital that those exposed can obtain a test of their gas appliances for carbon monoxide.This is so those poisoned get the proper medical treatment. Survivors tell us that not being believed by medics and family is even worse than the injuries they suffer for the rest of their lives.

Who’d have thought that an emergency service for an explosive gas and also a deadly gas, wouldn’t provide its personnel with training and equipment capable of testing for the deadly killer (CO), that can’t be sensed using human senses?

We pointed this out very soon after starting the charity in 1995. We, helped by lots of survivors, families and experts even convinced the HSE that this should be changed. In 2000 the HSC/E recommended a levy on the gas suppliers to raise awareness and for research and that the gas emergency service does use such equipment and test for carbon monoxide (CO). But these excellent recommendations have still not been implemented.

We’ve spent 26 years raising these issues while people have died and been injured.

Lack of testing means there is a lack of data. Catch 22. To prove CO; you have to prove CO.

What’s worse is that symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus, including Covid-19. Yet still nothing is done. What’s happened to our government? What’s happened to the civil service?

We’ve written to the Minister for the HSE first asking for a meeting in May to discuss these issues and then again recently. Why are these safety issues ignored?

CO could be one explanation for poor outcomes from Covid-19 and/or long Covid.