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Gas Emergencies what to do and how to do it!

Smell of Gas

If you smell gas then the first thing you need to do is locate your internal ECV (emergency control valve), it will be located

in close proximity to you gas meter and will look like this

gas meter ecvAs you can see when the handle is in line with the pipe, the gas is on, so turn it so it is horizontal to the gas pipe.

Next you need to call the emergency gas line on 0800 111 999, they will come out and make your property safe.

Suspected Carbon monoxide leak/incident

Unsafe gas appliances produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO). It can cause death and serious long term health problems such as brain damage.

You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can kill quickly with no warning.

In the last year, 14 people have died from CO poisoning and 234 have suffered health problems from CO exposure. This poisonous gas is released when gas appliances are incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained.

An annual safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer will make sure your appliances are safe. This will prevent you being exposed to low levels of CO.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous substance which is produced by the incomplete burning of gas and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).

This can happen if a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained or if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.

You could be inhaling CO without realising it. You can’t see, smell or taste it, but at high levels it can kill you in minutes. Even breathing in a small amount can cause loss of consciousness and death.

Properly managed, gas is safe. Poorly managed, gas can produce harmful levels of carbon monoxide. So always use a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Oil and solid fuels such as coal, wood, petrol and oil can also produce carbon monoxide.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning occurs when you breathe in even small amounts of the gas. You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide so you won’t know it is there. You won’t necessarily notice the smell of gas.

If you breathe in CO, it gets into your blood stream and prevents your red blood cells from carrying oxygen. Without oxygen the body tissue and cells die.

Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long period. Paralysis and brain damage can be caused as a result of exposure to CO.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Being aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning could save your life.

Many of the symptoms of carbon monoxide are similar to those of flu, food poisoning, viral infections, or simple tiredness. It is common to mistake the symptoms for something else.

Remember the six main symptoms to look out for:

  1. headaches
  2. dizziness
  3. nausea
  4. breathlessness
  5. collapse
  6. loss of consciousness

Other signs that you may have CO poisoning:

  • If your symptoms only occur when you are at home
  • Your symptoms disappear or get better when you leave home and come back when you return
  • If anyone else in your household is experiencing any of the symptoms (including your pets) and whether they appear at a similar time

If you have any of the above symptoms:

  • Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house
  • See your doctor immediately or go to hospital – let them know that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. They can do a blood or breath test to check.
  • If you think there is immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline
  • Get a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem

How do I know if my gas appliances are leaking carbon monoxide?

Your home may show symptoms of carbon monoxide, too. Any one of the following could be a sign that there is a build up of carbon monoxide and you need to have your gas appliances checked.

  • The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue. Lazy yellow or orange flames mean you need to get your cooker checked
  • Soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
  • Pilot lights that frequently blow out
  • Increased condensation inside windows

If you suspect that you have a faulty gas appliance in your home get it checked as soon as possible by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

It may also be an idea to buy a Carbon Monoxide detector(must be audible) although we do not sell them we can advise you on a

good one to purchase, call us on 0191 2893464, if you are unsure on any of the above.


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