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Children from across Wales and south west England are being urged by CBeebies presenter Rebecca Keatley to spread potentially lifesaving carbon monoxide safety messages as part of a national competition.

This is the second year that Rebecca has thrown her weight behind Wales & West Utilities regional ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition and now she is challenging local youngsters to enter the competition to come up with something creative that raises awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) – known as the ‘silent killer’.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service in the area, runs the competition across the region.  They have joined forces with Rebecca to urge 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 warns of the dangers of CO poisoning and how to prevent it.

Presenter Rebecca, who is known for her role in Let’s Play, said:

“Gas safety is of paramount importance and through the competition children can share the vital information they learn with their families and loved ones to help keep them safe.

“The competition encourages children to use their creative talents and wonderful imaginations to create something that warns of the dangers carbon monoxide poses and help spread the vitally important safety messages.

“There are some very talented children in South Wales and with some fantastic prizes up for grabs I would urge them to get involved.  I can’t wait to see the entries!”

The competition will run until Friday 10 May 2019 and 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. Winners will personally receive £150 and £300 for their school / organisation (which can include uniformed organisations such as Cubs or Brownies). The regional winners will then go forward to a national final in June 2019 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 further information and past winning details can be found on www.wwutilities.co.uk/GetCreativeBeSafe.

Wales & West Utilities Head of Emergency Service, Clive Book, said:

“We have always had a fantastic response to the competition and we have even had two entries from our area go on to win the national final

“We continually work hard to raise awareness of the potentially fatal 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.”

Symptoms of CO poisoning are often confused with flu, especially during the winter months.  They include dizziness, nausea and vomiting, tiredness and confusion, stomach pains and breathing difficulties including shortness of breath. Unlike the flu, CO poisoning does not cause a high temperature.

Once a year, you should employ a registered installer to service all appliances powered by any fuel that burns, and sweep your chimneys and flues. Get an audible alarm which is certified to British Standard BS EN 50291. These cost around £15 and you can buy them from your local DIY store, supermarket or energy supplier however whilst alarms are important, they're not a substitute for annual safety checks.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service that serves Wales and the south west of England, puts customers at the heart of the business and is rated the top utility company in the UK for customer service. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call 0800 111 999 immediately and our engineers will be there to help, day or night.