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Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 15 October 2007

FIREFIGHTERS on the Isle of Man are taking part in a national campaign to warn people of the unseen dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.

Carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless and anyone with gas or oil boilers is being urged to ensure they are regularly serviced, while chimneys should be swept to prevent exposure to it.

Sub Officer Carl Kinvig, of the Community Safety team, explained:

‘In the last 12 months in the UK alone 42 people have died and a further 177 have suffered injuries from carbon monoxide related incidents. As it’s now autumn, the weather is getting colder and people are likely to be using more heating in the home. And we wanted to take the opportunity to support the national Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week to alert people to the potential of unseen dangers from flues and fossil fuels.’

Householders are advised to ensure gas and oil appliances are serviced regularly by qualified boiler engineers.

Carl added: ‘If a chimney hasn’t been swept it could be blocked or partially blocked, potentially leading to a build up of poisonous fumes in your home. There are now carbon monoxide detectors available, which we would advise people to fit in the same way they should fit smoke alarms. A spot detector, for instance, which is relatively cheap to buy, has a neutral spot which turns black when carbon monoxide is present and could save lives if fixed in a prominent place in your home.’

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are severe headaches, chest or stomach pains, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, general lethargy and impaired mental ability. In severe cases people develop pink skin and bright red lips. If you suffer any of these symptoms you should seek urgent medical attention.

More advice on Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week can be found on the IOM Fire and Rescue Service website: www.gov.im/dha/fire. Anyone who wants advice on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning or any fire safety matter can contact the Community Safety team on 647329 during office hours.

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