Primary pupils challenged to get creative in warning others about carbon monoxide

Posted on: 21/03/2022

Primary school pupils across Wales are being urged to get creative in promoting carbon monoxide safety.

The call comes as Wales & West Utilities, alongside the UK’s other gas networks, launches an annual ‘Get Creative, Be Safe’ competition, which invites youngsters to come up with creative ways to inform others about the deathly dangers of carbon monoxide (CO).

As part of the competition, primary pupils are urged to put their creativity to the test using any form of media, such as eye-catching cartoons, videos, models, short stories or poems, to warn of the dangers of CO poisoning – and how to avoid them.

Carbon monoxide (CO), known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, 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.

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

The competition is a great way of helping youngsters understand the importance of gas safety in a fun and engaging way. We want people to stay safe from the deathly dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and this competition is a great way to make sure everyone can Stay Gas Safe while spreading the gas safety message.

As part of the competition youngsters will be in with a chance to win money for both themselves and their school or organisation. 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, where they have a chance to win a further £300 for themselves and £600 for their school / organisation.

Entries must be submitted in the form of a JPEG photograph or coloured scan or as a link/attachment (if entry is in video or digital form), and emailed along with the entrant’s name, age, school/organisation and post code to: COcompetition@wwutilities.co.uk  

Entries must be received by 27 May 2022. More information can be found at: wwutilities.co.uk/GetCreativeBeSafe

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, shortness of breath and, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to those of food poisoning and the flu. However, unlike the flu, carbon monoxide poisoning does not cause a high temperature (fever).

To stay safe, people are urged to:

  • Make sure that gas appliances are serviced annually: that includes gas boilers, gas cookers and gas water heaters.
  • Know the signs of carbon monoxide: Look out for your gas appliances burning a floppy yellow or orange, not crisp and blue; pilot lights on boilers frequently blowing out; extra condensation inside your window; soot or yellow stains around appliances.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: similar to the flu or food poisoning without a high temperature.
  • Get an audible carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a gas appliance and test it regularly.
  • If your alarm sounds, or you suspect carbon monoxide, take action: move outside into fresh air, leaving doors and windows open as you go. Then call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. In a medical emergency, don't delay, call 999 immediately.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we'll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We'll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.