The All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group and All Fuels Action Forum recently collaborated on a project to bring awareness to CO safety within student homes.
An infographic was made and distributed to university student unions, with universities including Queen Mary University of London disseminating the information to their students. The full infographic can be viewed here, and can also be downloaded to the right of this page.
Steps for students to be gas safe and CO aware within their student homes:
1. Get checked. Gas heating and cooking appliances installed in rented student accommodation should receive an annual safety check by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer - your landlord is responsible for this. They should keep a record of each safety check for at least two years and issue copies, as well as a landlords safety certificate, to you, the tenants.
2. Get a CO alarm. Fit an audible CO alarm or get your landlord to fit one. Those that meet safety standard BS EN 50291 show a British Standards Kitemark. You can get them at most homeware or DIY stores, just make sure that you follow the alarm manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance.
3. Stay aware. Carbon Monoxide is colourless and odourless, and because its symptoms are the same as other common ailments, CO poisoning can be difficult to detect. Look out for headaches, nausea and tiredness, and note whether your symptoms are less severe when you're away from the property.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning is the cause of approximately 40 deaths in England and Wales each year and causes over 2,000 visits to A&E with over 400 people hospitalised. It's important to remember that fitting an audible CO alarm is not an alternative to other gas safety checks. Make sure appliances, flues and chimneys are serviced and tested, and make sure fire alarms work too.