Wales & West Utilities Craigen Smith and Robert Jones with winning pupil Esme Shmylo

Porth’s Esme Shmylo has scooped a top regional prize in a national gas safety competition for her eye-catching poster which warns of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the signs to look out for.

Esme, who attends Cwmlai Primary School, won the Key Stage 1 Wales entry of the ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition picking up a prize of £150 for herself and £300 for her school.

The ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition is run nationally by industry body, Energy Networks Association, and is supported locally by gas emergency and pipeline service Wales & West Utilities. Each year it invites school-age children to produce something creative to warn of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Esme designed an eye-catching poster which warns of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the signs to look out for. This year saw more than 650 entries across Wales & West Utilities operating area.

At school we learn about gas safety and the dangers to look out for, so entering this competition was a fun way of testing our knowledge.

I really enjoyed designing my poster and couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d won.

I’m really proud to have been named a winner and hope my poster helps others.

Esme Shmylo, Get Creative, Be Safe Winner

Esme’s entry captured the attention of all judges and she has done a fantastic job in bringing to life a very serious issue.

The competition was a huge success this year and we hope that everyone taking part has been able to help spread the vital gas safety messages to their friends and loved ones.

Clive Book, Wales & West Utilities Head of Emergency Service

The competition was a fantastic exercise for us all – not only did the pupils enjoy taking part and putting their creative skills to use but they all learnt a lot about the serious dangers carbon monoxide presents and the steps to take to eliminate them.

Esme’s poster entry was fantastic, and we are all very proud of her.

Mrs Stancombe, teacher at Cwmlai Primary School

Known as the silent killer because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, accidental – and therefore preventable - CO poisoning is responsible for around 40 deaths, 200 hospitalisations each year. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident and & Emergency for treatment of CO poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage.

Symptoms of CO poisoning are often confused with flu, especially in winter, as they include severe headaches, a sore throat, dizziness, coughing, feeling sick, and a general lack of energy.

If you suspect you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, you should open all windows to ventilate, evacuate the property and call 0800 111 999, the national gas emergency number.