We have heard from a couple who were poisoned by CO in a BBQ hut they bought from a local plant nursery. The couple felt ill and later used a CO alarm with a digital read out which registered CO. We recommend that any BBQ should be used outdoors only.
Huge thanks to Margaret Jeffery, Emma, journalist Rod & the Jersey Evening Post for this article.
Widow’s campaign highlights dangers of carbon monoxide
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 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.
Carbon monoxide charity warns Covid-19 could be mistaken for the deadly gas as it receives £100,000 donation from victim’s family.
A charity that seeks to reduce deaths and injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning has received a
£100,000 donation to help further its work supporting victims and preventing future tragedies.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that can be emitted from faulty cooking and heating appliances powered by any carbon based fuels such as gas, coal, wood, oil, petrol, or diesel. CO is odourless, colourless and can’t be detected by any human senses.
With people spending more time inside their homes because of Covid-19 there are concerns that symptoms of CO poisoning could be mistaken for the virus. Less than 2% of CO in the air can kill in between one and three minutes. At this time of the year there is a raised risk from carbon monoxide as people close their windows and seal their doors to keep out the damp and cold trapping the deadly gas inside their homes.
This is the twenty sixth anniversary of the founding of the charity, CO-Gas Safety. Since its formation the charity has battled to raise the awareness of the dangers from Carbon Monoxide and to help victims and their families.
The family donating the money to the charity lost a loved one as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. They wish to remain anonymous.
Stephanie Trotter, OBE, President & Director of CO-Gas Safety said, ‘’We are extremely grateful for this donation. This generous gift will enable the charity to continue its work to prevent future deaths.
“We collect and analyse deaths and injuries to find out what went wrong so we can learn how to improve the system. We seem also to be the only provider of specific, free and confidential help and advice for families and survivors of CO.
‘’There needs to be far greater awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide. This must be coupled with good installation, regular & better maintenance, more rigorous chimney and flue sweeping and checking, adequate ventilation, better training of engineers with greater attention to the job and CO alarms to EN 50291 standards bought direct from the supplier & set up. All of these actions would have saved all those we know about who have died from unintentional CO poisoning.
‘’We have also been blessed with other donations in the past year to help us continue with our work.
‘‘However, we have always strived to make ourselves redundant and our main aim has always been prevention. Why does the government refuse our requests to implement recommendations made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2000 to prevent deaths and injuries from CO?
“Why are we unable to even see the Ministers involved? The reason given is the reduction in deaths. But as there is no automatic test on death how do we know?
“Baroness Finlay recommended that there should be automatic testing on dead bodies in 2011. So why hasn’t this been implemented?”
CO-Gas Safety has lobbied since 1995 for:-
- Raised awareness of the dangers of CO and research into how to prevent it.
- The gas emergency service to use equipment to test gas appliances for CO.
Stephanie said, ‘‘It’s not just the deaths we are concerned about. We are also extremely worried about exposure to CO which can cause nerve and brain damage and many other injuries. The main problem is the lack of recognition by the medics of CO poisoning. This is mainly due to the lack of proof of emissions from appliances, such as cookers and boilers.”
Sue Westwood is a survivor and trustee of the charity. Sue said ‘‘I was exposed to CO because my flue wasn’t attached by the installer. I was lucky enough to survive – but the medics knew little about CO and accused me of taking cocaine!
“The gas emergency service does not test gas appliances for CO. Fresh air quickly leaves the blood and breath of a survivor so even if medics test the person for CO any samples often produce a dangerous false negative. It is almost impossible and costly to find anyone to test the air or appliances for CO.
‘‘The system makes proof of CO almost impossible. So medical staff tend to assume CO is rare. It’s Catch 22; to prove CO you have to prove CO.”
Sue’s one minute film tells her story see https://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/one-survivors-story
Stephanie said, ‘’Sue Westwood had Covid-19 and now has long Covid. Could CO help to explain long Covid? Perhaps those already exposed to CO do not recover as well? Could survivors of Covid return from hospital to homes polluted by CO and then suffer from long Covid? Perhaps those weakened by exposure to CO are more likely to die of Covid?”
Paul Overton is another CO survivor and whose eleven-year-old step daughter, Katie died from carbon monoxide poisoning. He said, ‘’The Health & Safety Executive recommended these steps over twenty years ago but neither government nor industry has implemented them. Yet they are even more important now because symptoms of CO are similar to those of any virus, including Covid-19.
Why is there no action?”
To find out how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning please visit www.co-gassafety.co.uk/about-co/prevention/.
Demand for maintenance for gas appliances has fallen by 34% in the pandemic so please get your appliances serviced.
Note to Editors:-
Stephanie Trotter, Sue Westwood and Paul Overton are all available for TV/Radio/ Media interviews. For their contact details please telephone Stephanie on:-
Tel. 01983 564516
Mobile: 07803 088688
Stephanie has run the CO-Gas Safety since 1995 helped by other directors who are mainly survivors and families.
Our humble CO awareness poster competition for school pupils, taken over by the GDNs (much to my joy and relief) has morphed into online resources!
Since the success of Safety Seymour and the subsequent launch of the website back in Lockdown 1 we have been working tirelessly to get the new school program aimed at KS2 up and running and on its very own website! CO Crew went live last week, and we are seeing some great interest in it already with schools wanting to book live sessions when they reopen. We have designed the packages so that it can be used now to support home schooling and provide a great resource for Parents, Teachers and Children during these challenging times.
Aimed at years 5 and 6, The CO Crew are on a mission to recruit members to help them protect themselves and their homes from carbon monoxide (CO) and help spread the word about carbon monoxide?
Phil Burrows of Cadent ask for support and help in sharing the new CO Crew website as well as reminding people of safety Seymour through your channels and contacts. We have adapted the teacher sessions by offering lesson plans, videos and audio material, teachers just need to register their interest and we will do the rest
Here are the websites:
Stephanie Trotter says, ‘It’s brilliant news! Congratulations and many thanks to all who helped with this and particularly to John O’Leary who did so much fabulous work originally and to Phil Burrows who has taken it to the next stage.’
Please read this interesting account https://www.nla-eclipsweb.com/service/redirector/article/66960399.html?version=1 We’d love to contact Ian Lewis the registered gas engineer.
This Briefing Note was written by Nathaniel Shaughnessy, manager of Policy Connect with regard to the attempt by Stephanie Trotter, OBE to make a presentation to the board of the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) on the 10th September 2020. This presentation was unsatisfactory due to the fact that by the time Stephanie was called to make her presentation which had been put at the end of everything else, not a single member of the board was present. Stephanie wrote to the CEO of Policy Connect and after some correspondence this briefing note was agreed and sent on the 25.09.20
Briefing Note: CO-Gas Safety Presentation at 10-09 APPCOG Advisory Board
About CO-Gas Safety
CO-Gas Safety is an independent, registered charity working to achieve changes to reduce deaths and injuries from unintentional CO poisoning and other gas dangers. It provides support to those who suspect CO poisoning, victims and their families. Since 1995, it has also collected, collated & published data on deaths and injuries from unintentional CO. It is run almost entirely by volunteers and receives no guaranteed funding.
HSC/E Fundamental Review of Gas Safety
In 2000, following the ‘Fundamental Review of Gas Safety’, the Health and Safety Commission (now Executive) put forwarded a series of recommendations in its ‘Proposals for Change’ (also attached to this email) to improve Gas Safety management in the UK, including:
- A levy on the gas suppliers to pay for raising awareness of the dangers and for (recommendation 7)
- That the gas emergency service carry and use equipment to test gas appliances for emissions of carbon monoxide (CO). (recommendation 12)
20 years on, neither of these recommendations has been meaningfully implemented. CO-Gas Safety argues this is causing significant and avoidable hardship for survivors of CO poisoning and their families. With regard to (2) in particular, there remains no official free or straightforward procedure to obtain proof of the concentration of CO that was present in the air or emitting from live gas appliances. Whilst a survivor may be able to get a blood or breath test for CO, and the First Call Operators carry Personal Alarm Monitors, by the time either test is done, the appliances have long- since been switched off and the victim instructed to ventilate the room(s) and vacate the property. This has led to reports of survivors being disbelieved by friends, family and medical professionals, so preventing correct/sympathetic medical treatment and thereby wasting NHS funds. Due to its work, CO-Gas Safety is uniquely placed to understand the devastating impact this has, and this is further supported by research from Liverpool John Moore’s University into the experience of survivors.
CO-Gas Safety argues the implementation of these recommendations has always been needed. However, this is now acute as symptoms of CO poisoning could easily be misdiagnosed as COVID-19. Furthermore, OfGEM is providing expanded funding provided by the new £30m ‘use it or lose it’ allowance vulnerable consumers, and more under the innovation initiatives contained within RIIO-2. As such, this is both an essential and opportune moment to finally see these recommendations implemented.
CO-Gas Safety Recommendations
CO-Gas Safety asks the APPCOG board to:
- Meet relevant Ministers to call on industry & wealthy charities to take action before winter
- Table an immediate EDM to call on industry & wealthy charities to do the same
- Meet OfGEM & HSE to ask Gas Emergency Services to test appliances for CO
- Request immediate help from DoH for a coordinated educational programme for medics
- Facilitate funding for films for prime-time TV & other media.
Fail! Survey finds shocking number of unsafe gas boilers in UK including within PRS
Posted on October 11, 2020 at 9:30 am
British Gas engineers found 26,000 unsafe or dangerous gas and electric appliances in UK homes during the first eight months of the year even though, LandlordZONE has been told, this includes rented properties, suggesting many PRS homes are still failing to meet basic safety standards.
Centrica, which owns British Gas, has also said many of these unsafe appliances included gas boilers despite the requirement that a landlord must provide a gas safety certificate each year for such appliances.
The research has been released by British Gas to tie-in with the tenth annual Gas Safety Week, which is currently under way (14th-20th September).
Despite the fact that the data includes rented homes, the research also revealed that the average person in the UK hasn’t had their gas appliances serviced by a qualified and gas safe registered engineer in more than 18 months – despite a fifth believing they might be faulty or dangerous.
LandlordZONE asked Centrica if it knew how many of the 26,000 dangerous appliances were in rented properties, but we have been told this information is not available, and only that ‘the data does include rented as well as owned homes’.
But the survey also revealed astonishing ignorance of home safety basics, with a fifth saying they didn’t even know that annual boiler services are recommended, and a third saying they had no idea that being able to smell gas can be an indication that something is unsafe.
With half of those polled saying they never worry about the safety of the gas appliances in their home, British Gas says it is using Gas Safety Week to help raise awareness and understanding – specifically the importance of having carbon monoxide detectors installed.
As well as the legal requirement to provide tenants with a gas safety certificate, the NRLA is reminding landlords that they are responsible for making sure all gas appliances, including the installation of pipe or flues, are maintained in a safe condition throughout the entire time the property is occupied.
Please visit the link above.