Gas networks partner to fund 25,000 carbon monoxide detectors across Dorset & Wiltshire
Gas networks Wales & West Utilities and SGN have partnered Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) to keep people across its area safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide.
The two utilities will provide 25,000 standard carbon monoxide detectors over the next five years, which will be distributed to local homeowners across both counties free of charge through the DWFRS Safe & Well programme.
The funding for the alarms has been secured via the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance, which is run by the energy regulator Ofgem, to support consumers in vulnerable situations.
Clive Book, Head of Emergency Services at Wales & West Utilities, said:
We are delighted to partner with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and SGN to make sure more people are kept safe from the deathly dangers of carbon monoxide.
We do everything we can to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide – the ‘silent killer’ - and urge people to follow simple steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
Having an audible carbon monoxide alarm is one of the simplest things they can do, and we are pleased that more people will have access to this potentially life-saving piece of equipment.
Andy Woods, Safe & Well Team Leader for Partnerships at DWFRS, said:“Under the new agreement, we will have funding for 5,000 standard carbon monoxide alarms and 500 wireless interlinked carbon monoxide alarms every year. As well as being a substantial saving for the Service, it also means we can offer the additional support of the wireless interlinked devices that link up to a hearing-impaired alarm system, which uses a strobe light and vibrating pad to alert deaf or hearing-impaired people about carbon monoxide and fires. This is something we haven’t been able to do before.”
As well as providing and installing carbon monoxide alarms as required, advisors and fire crews carrying out Safe & Well checks will ensure the people they visit understand vital safety advice, and aco-branded leaflet with extra safety information and contact numbers will be left.
Andy added:With the support of SGN and Wales & West Utilities, we will be able to offer free locking cooking valves to vulnerable occupiers, such as those with dementia, and free or discounted gas connection. In addition, all occupiers who qualify for a Safe & Well visit from us will be referred to the utility companies’ Priority Services Register to provide extra help and support to them in the event of a supply interruption.
Dan Edwards, SGN Social Impact Programme Lead, said:
We’re thrilled to be working alongside Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and Wales & West Utilities. Through this important partnership we’ll be able to educate so many more people about the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep them and their loved ones safe from the ‘silent killer’.
Being able to provide these life-saving carbon monoxide alarms to so many homes will make such a difference and ensure more people stay safe. It’s really important to regularly test your carbon monoxide alarm, to check if the batteries need changing, or if the alarm has come to the end of its useable life so it can be replaced as soon as possible.
Carbon monoxide poisoning kills 50 people a year in England and Wales and hospitalises many more. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident and & Emergency for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage. Even low levels of exposure over an extended period can cause serious health issues, including brain injuries.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, shortness of breath and, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness.
To stay safe, people are urged to:
- Know the symptoms.
- Get an audible carbon monoxide alarm.
- Make sure that gas appliances are serviced annually – that includes gas boilers, gas cookers and gas water heaters.
- In a medical emergency, don't delay, call 999 immediately.
For more information about carbon monoxide, visit www.dwfire.org.uk/carbon-monoxide.
To request free Safe & Well advice and to see if you qualify for a free Safe & Well visit, go to www.dwfire.org.uk/safe-and-well-visits