If you have been exposed to CO or you suspect you have, you should get out of the house immediateely and if gas is involved call the gas emergency service 0800 111 999. However the gas emergency service does not carry or use equipment to test gas appliances for CO.
Proof of CO is vital* if only to identify which appliance has been emitting CO (if any) or to convince your GP or family or employer that you have been poisoned.
*Here is a link to our comic strip for explanation.
There are two sorts of proof, one to prove you have been exposed to CO to an extent that shows in your breath or blood and secondly where it has come from e.g. from a particular appliance emitting CO. If you want to sue, you will need to prove both as well as find someone worth suuing e.g. a landlord. Even if you think you don’t want to sue it is wise to collect proof because you might not be thinking clearly at the moment and you might need proof later. To obtain proof you have to act quickly particularly with regard to obtaining a breath or blood test. There is a school of thought that blood tests are more accurate but there is no need for arterial blood.
You could ask an independent court witness to investigate and test for CO but the cost is at least £3,000. This is almost certainly necessary if you are thinking of bringing a legal action (e.g. against your landlord). However, a cheaper and first step is to find a registered gas engineer who has the qualification CMDDA1.
If you are really struggling to do this please email me email@example.com or phone 07803 088688 and I’ll try to help you. Before you do so, please read the part below about CMDDA1.
On the 1st December 2017 there were 2,028 registered gas engineers holding a valid certificate of competence for CMDDA1* who are qualified to test gas appliances for CO and record CO found in writing. *Kindly provided by Mark Krull (LCL) firstname.lastname@example.org
The problem is that people do not know what to ask for and even if they do the latest finding by Stephanie Trotter is that the person qualified under CMDDA1 will not attend unless you are a landlord. This outrageous but what I have found.
To find someone to test gas appliances for CO and provide Parts Per Million of CO to the consumer the consumer has to:-
- Access the Gas Safe Register website http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/
- Click on either ‘Gas Emergency’ or ‘Carbon monoxide poisoning’. If Gas Emergency clicked then consumer would need to scroll down to ‘Carbon monoxide poisoning’ and click on that. Then a consumer must scroll down until ‘Ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem’
- Click on ‘Gas Safe Registered engineer’ and ‘Find an engineer’ comes up.
- The consumer has to tick the box for ‘Domestic’ as opposed to ‘Commercial’ and put in their post code and can also choose whether to put a tick in the box for ‘Flexible hours’.
- Then some firms come up but also the consumer needs to select mains gas or LPG and whether central heating boiler etc. and can select from a list headed appliance type and select from a list of 34 types including ‘boats… combustion analysis…. cooker… fire……fumes investigation…vessel and pipe work….water heater’. The consumer needs to know to select ‘fumes investigation’ but HOW WOULD THEY especially if they had read about carbon monoxide and learned that CO has no smell?
- Having selected ‘Fumes investigation’, firms are then listed underneath with their engineers underneath and the consumer needs to read what qualifications individual engineers have.
- The consumer/victim then needs to contact said firms and ask if they employ someone qualified under CMDDA1. If so, to be sure the correctly qualified person, turns up it is necessary to ask for their name and check under the GSR. We also suggest the consumer/ victims asks how much it would cost to test appliances for CO and give PPM of CO in writing.
- When that person turns up the consumer has to check the ID card to make sure it is the person with the qualification CMDDA1.
We have not found anyone able to do this yet. Even a solicitor had problems.
Debra Morris of Barratts Associate Solicitor
Direct Dial: 0115 9315199
I know from experience of talking to victims of CO poisoning since 1995 that some
people who have been poisoned are often so damaged that they cannot even write
letters and emails even those who are highly intelligent and educated.
GSR tells us they will help people by phone.
We have been asking the Gas Safe Register for years to put a simple banner on their website such as ‘Suspect carbon monoxide poisoning? Click here’ This would then take the person concerned to a list of individuals qualified to test an appliance for CO with their post code (and which was capable of being searched using just a post code) and provide parts per million of CO in writing to the consumer, if found.
Please note that such a test by someone qualified under CMDDA1 is not good enough for a court case but can be a very useful filter or a first test.
Submission to HSE made on 12.01.17 at 21.
‘Could HSE please undertake a mystery shopper exercise to find someone qualified under CMDDA1 to test for CO and leave Parts Per Million in writing with the householder because even a solicitor, Debra Morris, found this almost impossible.’
In July 2017 I tried to help Susan Twiner. In 1998 Susan lost her daughter Laura aged two and her unborn but viable child Chelsea also died of CO due to her mother’s poisoning. Susan is now living in a Housing Association with a disabled child. She suspected she was being exposed to CO from her boiler. I tried to find her someone qualified under CMDDA1 to test her boiler. I couldn’t and as a result wrote the following to Sarah Hill of the Gas Safe Register on the 24th July 2017 Sarah.Hill@GasSafeRegister.co.uk
The CMDDA1 Saga
I tried Swale Heating, the first on the list kindly sent to me by your colleague.
There are 242 engineers and on page 4, 13, 15 16 (I think) and 23 I found ones offering fumes investigation.
Brian Turner, Kevin Long, Luke Owen, Matthew Byford, Stephen Higby. Apparently there are nine offering fumes investigation and apparently they are all CMDDA1 qualified. Could you please confirm? However, none are able to go to ME13.
I was recommended by Swale to try Contract Services Ltd. 01634 295515 but they act for the Housing Association concerned.
I was then recommended to Phoenix Compliance and the following email to Lindsey expresses the problem with them.
Thank you for your help just now.
Your automatic answering service says you are an independent consultant but you told me that you can’t work on behalf of a tenant of a Housing Association not because you act for Riverside Housing Association but because you only work for Councils and Housing Associations. Could you please just confirm this? Thank you very much indeed.
4 Waterside Court
Crossways Business Park
Dartford, Kent, DA2 6NX
Tel: 01322 224 200
So as usual we are unable to help this tenant.
Your comments would be very welcome.
Stephanie Trotter, CO-Gas Safety