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Carbon Monoxide Be Alarmed! is the national campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by carbon monoxide. The campaign actively promotes awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide.

In April 2019 we focused on the safety of pets with the campaign “Paws up”. Check the activity here

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If you have a story about carbon monoxide or would like to find out more, email the Press Team: press@energy-uk.org.uk


CO Awareness Week 2019

The Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (18-24 November) is an opportunity to raise further awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) and ensure that everyone knows how to protect themselves from the deadly gas.

Energy UK’s ‘CO Be Alarmed!’campaign in partnership with members of the communications parliamentary group – All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group – coordinate the week this year. Each day of the week will have a different theme including renters, students, family and pregnant women, people in vulnerable circumstances, holidays and pets.

Around 30 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning and another 4,000 are treated in hospital but the true number is likely to be higher with early symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea and breathlessness, easily mistaken for flu or tiredness.

The ‘CO Be Alarmed!’ campaign will raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide during the week on social media by promoting safety messages around pets, renters, students and people in vulnerable circumstances. The campaign encourages everyone to get involved and support the week by using #COAwarenessWeek and #COAwarenessWeek19.

Carbon monoxide can be omitted from everyday household appliances, such as a poorly maintained or faulty boilers or gas cookers. It is known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, which is why it is so important to have an audible carbon monoxide alarm installed.

Protecting all renters from the silent killer

When I first joined Energy UK back in 2017 I have to admit that I didn’t know much about carbon monoxide poisoning, and I still remember the cold chill running through me when I realised that my family at home could be at risk at that very moment because I had no idea if we had a carbon monoxide alarm.

Since then, through Energy UK’s ‘CO Be Alarmed!’ campaign, I have discovered the everyday danger posed by carbon monoxide (CO) which is known as a silent killer because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. That is why it is critical for every home to have an audible carbon monoxide alarm at home.

If CO is present in a home everyone is at risk, with children and pets often the first to be affected. The symptoms of CO poisoning – which include headaches, nausea, dizziness and breathlessness – can be very easily mistaken for a cold or the flu, which is one of the reasons CO incidents are underreported.

Carbon monoxide can be omitted from everyday household appliances, such as a poorly maintained or faulty boilers or gas cookers. An estimated 30 people die and a further 4,000 are hospitalised every year from carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK.

Energy UK’s ‘Carbon Monoxide Be Alarmed!’ campaign has been raising awareness of the risk of CO poisoning and the importance of installing a CO alarm for over 10 years now.

Since 2017 we have also been campaigning for better protection for people living in rented accommodation. I wasn’t alone in my lack of awareness of the dangers of CO with research for the CO Be Alarmed campaign finding that one in three renters don’t have a life-saving carbon monoxide alarm, and 90% of them think it is their landlords’ responsibility to provide one – it isn’t and that’s why we want the regulations to be changed.

The current regulations in England & Wales only require a landlord to provide a CO alarm if there is a solid fuel burning appliance – like a log fire or wood-burning stove. In practice, this is only around 8% of rented properties leaving the vast majority of renters unprotected.

CO alarms cost as little as £15 but they save lives so we want to see these regulations extended to protect all renters, regardless of what type of fuel appliance they have. This is already the case in Scotland where landlords are legally required to provide CO alarms in all rented properties.

And the landlords are on side too – the Housing Landlords Association has echoed our calls for changes to the regulations along with the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) who have set out the case for change in their report ‘Carbon monoxide alarms: Tenants safe and secure in their homes’ published in 2017.

Last year there were two very positive developments. The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee published a report on the private rented sector which agreed with our recommendation to extend the regulations. Following this, and work by Eddie Hughes MP on his ‘Silent Killer Bill’ (now withdrawn), the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that they will be launching a review of the CO alarm regulations.

We are now awaiting the Government’s decision which is expected to be published alongside its response to the Social Housing Green Paper – originally scheduled for spring 2019. As time ticks on, millions in rented accommodation remain at risk.

We hope the Government will act to protect all renters from this silent killer.

Abbie Sampson,
Director of External Affairs, Energy UK

Exclusively written for House Magazine – available to read here (page 17).

Are your pets #COSafe at home?

This National Pet Month CO Be Alarmed! launches the #PawsUp campaign to raise awareness of the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) to pets and encourage pet owners to fit an audible CO alarm to protect everyone in the home.

If carbon monoxide (CO) is present in the home everyone is at risk and pets and children can be the first to show signs of CO poisoning – such as nausea, tiredness or flu-like symptoms. As pets are often left in confined spaces for extended periods of time, they can be particularly vulnerable.

Our new survey found that while nearly all pet owners (98%) believe that their pets are safe at home, nearly a third (28%) worry about the wellbeing of their pet at least once a day and over a third (36%) of UK pet owners have left a social outing early because they wanted to get home to their pet.  Despite this, nearly a third (29%) either don’t have, or know if they have, an inexpensive life-saving CO alarm. And of those who have an alarm, almost one in ten (8%) have never tested it or simply don’t know when it was last checked.

To raise awareness of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to pets in the home, the CO Be Alarmed! campaign is asking pet owners to post pictures of their pets with their #PawsUp to show they’re safe from CO on their social media channels.

Get involved by entering our #PawsUp competitions with chances to win £200 Pets at Home vouchers.

On Instagram you will need to:

  • Post a photo of your pet with paws up
  • With the words ‘#PawsUp I’m safe from CO’
  • Follow @co_be_alarmed_campaign

On Facebook:

  • Post a photo of your pet with paws up below in the comments
  • With the words ‘#PawsUp I’m safe from CO’
  • Like the CO Be Alarmed campaign page

Competition closes at midnight on Monday 6th of May. UK entries only. Read the full terms and conditions.

UK pet owners spend nearly 2,000 pounds a year on their pets yet almost a third don't have a life-saving CO alarm

New research, from the CO Be Alarmed! campaign, has revealed that despite being a nation of animal lovers, almost a third of us could be putting our pets at risk from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

As we mark National Pet Month, new analysis shows that UK pet owners spend on average almost £2,000 a year to keep their pets happy and healthy, yet almost a third (29%) either don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm or don’t know if they have one, which can cost as little as £15.

Abbie Sampson, CO Be Alarmed! spokesperson, said:

“Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it – and not just to us at risk, but to our pets too.

If CO is present in the home, everyone is at risk, and pets and children can be the first to show signs of CO poisoning. As pets are often left in confined spaces for extended periods of time, they can be particularly vulnerable.”

The new survey found that pets are left at home alone on average three hours every day.

While nearly all pet owners (98%) believe that their pets are safe at home, nearly a third (28%) worry about the wellbeing of their pet at least once a day and over a third (36%) of UK pet owners have left a social outing early because they wanted to get home to their pet.  Despite this, nearly a third (29%) either don’t have, or know if they have, an inexpensive life-saving CO alarm.  And, of those who have an alarm, one in ten (8%) do not regularly test it.

Carbon monoxide can be omitted by everyday household objects, like poorly maintained or faulty boilers or gas cookers, so a CO alarm is essential to make sure everyone is protected in the home.

Around 30 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning and another 4,000 are treated in hospital, but the true number is likely to be higher with early symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea and breathlessness, easily mistaken for flu or tiredness.

Abbie said: “Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal but there are some simple, inexpensive steps that can protect everyone in your home. Follow our simple ABC checklist – Do you have an Alarm fitted? Have you tested it and are the Batteries working? Have you had an up to date gas Check? – will help keep you and your pets safe from CO poisoning.”

To raise awareness of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to pets in the home, the CO Be Alarmed! campaign is asking pet owners to post pictures of their pets with their #PawsUp to show they’re safe from CO.

For more information visit the CO Be Alarmed! instagram or Facebook pages.

Notes to editors:

  • CO Be Alarmed! is the national campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by carbon monoxide. Since 2008, the campaign has encouraged people to install carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. The Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign is run by Energy UK.
  • The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 2,000 cat or dog owners between 22.03.2019 – 26.03.2019. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles
  • Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, charcoal, coal and wood do not burn completely. The most common cause of this is when an appliance, such as a boiler or cooker, is installed incorrectly or poorly maintained. Carbon monoxide can also build up when flues, chimneys or vents are blocked
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