Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Woman’s life potentially saved by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service after carbon monoxide alarm installation

Deadly carbon monoxide fumes were detected during a Home Safety Visit by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, potentially saving the life of a woman who had been feeling unwell. Safe and Well Adviser Annie Page and Newhaven on call firefighter Tom Griffiths conducted the visit and noticed that the woman did not have a carbon monoxide alarm installed. They offered to install one for her, but she declined, saying that she had been told that her room-sealed boiler did not require one.

Despite the woman’s assurances, the team decided to install a CO alarm in the kitchen near the boiler. To their surprise, the alarm went off immediately. Suspecting a fault with the first alarm, they installed a second one in the room, which also went off immediately. The woman reported feeling unwell recently, with headaches and unusual tiredness over the last couple of weeks.

The team discovered that the boiler was only a few years old and had been serviced recently. It was fed by gas cannisters located outside the kitchen window. The boiler was immediately disconnected, and the windows and doors were opened. The emergency gas number was called, and the engineers arrived within 20 minutes.

Initially, the boiler engineer doubted that the boiler was emitting that much CO. However, after performing a 15-minute sealed room test, his equipment showed excessively high levels of carbon monoxide. Another engineer was called in to locate and rectify the problem. The team followed up with the occupier later in the day to ensure that everything was safe and that the repairs had been made.

Annie Page emphasised the importance of fitting CO alarms for all carbon-burning appliances, including gas or oil boilers, wood-burning stoves, or open fires. She also urged anyone who smelled gas or suspected carbon monoxide to call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately. The Service expressed gratitude to SGN, who sponsored 3000 Firehawk alarms for them to fit.

Lisa Priestman, Community Safety Manager, highlighted the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be caused by improperly installed or maintained gas systems. She urged people to install CO alarms, especially when using gas or other fossil fuels, like coal, wood, or oil, which can emit the deadly gas when not burned properly.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service offers Home Safety Visits to anyone who wants to ensure their home is safe from fire and other hazards. To book a visit, people can call the Service or fill in a form on their website.

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