Community Gardaí are this week warning households of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas that is hard to detect and can cause sudden illness or death. On average, six people die in Ireland each year from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide can be produced by any fuel when it is burning including coal, turf, gas, wood, etc, therefore, it is important to:
• Ensure your cooking, heating, boiler and gas appliances are installed correctly and serviced regularly.
• Ensure the rooms in your home containing heating appliances are properly ventilated and never block vents.
• Ensure chimney and flues are cleaned regularly as blocked chimneys can cause a build up to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
• Ensure when using paint, cleaning products and varnishes that the area is well ventilated.
Signs of Carbon Monoxide:
• Staining, sooting or discolouring around appliances such as black soot marks on front cover of gas fires, stoves, fires or walls around boilers
• Smoke building up in a room as a result of blocked chimneys
• Yellow instead of blue flames coming from gas appliances
• Condensation on windows
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
CO poisoning can resemble those caused by other illnesses such as food poisoning or flu & can include:
• Feeling sick
• Vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhoea
• Feeling dizzy
• Tired & confused
• Shortness of breath/ difficulty breathing
• General Lethargy
• Symptoms occurring when a particular appliance is on
• Others in the home suffering similar symptoms
• Symptoms improve when you are away from the property could be tell tale sign as to the presence of CO in the home.
If you or someone else in the home are experiencing symptoms and you suspect CO poisoning you should:
• Visit a Doctor immediately and ask them to check for CO poisoning
• Stop using all burning appliances and do not use them again until they have been inspected by a qualified service agent for the particular type of fuel.
We cannot overstate the importance of installing a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. CO alarms are available from hardware and DIY stores. Check that the alarm complies with European Standard EN 50291 and carries the CE mark. Ensure the alarm has an end-of-life indicator.
If you are unsure of how to install the alarm have a qualified reputable installer fit it for you.
Carbon Monoxide alarms are a warning system, so ensure to regularly service household appliances.
If you require further information or know of somebody who you feel maybe at risk, please contact the Carbon Monoxide Awareness line on 1850 797979 or your local Community Gardaí for further advice. If you detect a strong smell of gas or suspect a gas leak call 1850 205050.
Some useful websites include:
• www.hse.ie (carbon monoxide poisoning),
Community Gardaí would advise households to be weary of bogus callers who may portray themselves to be repair, service or maintenance professionals offering services.
Contact your local Garda Station immediately if you are suspicious of a caller’s motives.
Emergency Line - 999
Longford Garda Station – 043-3350570
Ballymahon Garda Station – 0906-432303
Lanesboro Garda Station – 043-3321102
Granard Garda Station – 043-6687660