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Children in Wales and the south west of England are being urged to learn lifelong gas safety lessons this summer, while being in with a chance of winning a national competition.

Wales & West Utilities is calling upon local children to come up with something creative that raises awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) – known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it – ahead of the 30 September deadline.

The gas emergency and pipeline service, which runs the annual ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition in the region, is looking for youngsters in Key Stages 1 and 2 (ages 5 to 11), to put their artistic skills to good use and produce an eye-catching poster, poem, film or song, which is both informative and accurate, and warns of the dangers of CO poisoning and how to avoid them.

We’ve had a great response to the competition so far, but it’s not too late for those wishing to enter. There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs – including cash prizes for both the winning entrant and the organisation they’re representing.

With people spending much more time at home, gas safety is more important than ever.

We continually work hard to raise awareness of the deathly dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and this competition is a key part of that. The competition is an enjoyable way to improve carbon monoxide awareness and I would encourage as many young people as possible to enter.

Clive Book, Wales & West Utilities Head of Emergency Service

Wales & West Utilities will judge entries and pick four area winners – two from Key Stage 1 and 2 in both Wales and south west England – who will personally receive £150 and £300 for their school / organisation (which can include uniformed organisations such as Cubs or Brownies). The regional winners will go forward to a national final in June 2021 where they have a chance to win a further £300 for themselves and £600 for their school / organisation.

Entries should be sent to COSafetyCompetition@energynetworks.org and must be received by 30 September 2020. More information can be found at: https://safetyseymour.co.uk/competition/

Known as the ‘silent killer’, 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.

With more people than ever before planning staycations in the UK this year, Wales & West Utilities has recently launched a campaign reminding people how to ‘Stay Gas Safe’ this summer – at home and on holiday.

The company is reminding people that gas safety isn’t just important in winter, and is urging people to:

  • Pack an audible carbon monoxide (CO) alarm: Whether you’re planning on staying at home or go camping, boating or caravanning, you still need to be aware of the dangers of CO poisoning. Remember to test the alarm and put it in the right place as per the alarm instructions.
  • Never, ever use a BBQ indoors: Whether that’s a home, tent, caravan or motorhome. Always keep an eye on your BBQ when you’re cooking, and even when it’s gone out, leave it outside as it can still release poisonous fumes.
  • Be prepared: If you smell gas, call us on 0800 111 999 at any time of day or night. And if you’ve had a BBQ and you feel dizzy, breathless or sick, it might not just be a bad burger, it could be carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and you should seek medical attention immediately.