Are you and your home safe from the ‘silent killer’?

21 Nov 2023

We're urging our customers to stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning – known as the ‘silent killer’ – during Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2023, which runs from 20-26 November.

With carbon monoxide (CO) still causing illness and deaths in the UK each year, it’s crucial that people learn how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Led by the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG), the campaign aims to educate people across the UK about the dangers of the poisonous gas which you can’t see, hear, taste, or smell.

Alongside the UK gas distribution networks (GDNs) and industry partners supporting communities nationally, we'll be sharing important safety information throughout the week, encouraging people to invest in and test their potentially life-saving CO alarms, and teaching them about the possible symptoms.

CO poisoning can be caused by badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances, and one in five UK homes currently have an unsafe gas appliance, risking sickness and death from CO. Annual checks by a Gas Safe Registered engineer are important to ensure appliances are operating safely and efficiently.

Our Social Impact Programme Lead, and Chair of the UK GDN CO collaboration Group, Dan Edwards, said: “I’m urging everyone to understand the dangers posed by carbon monoxide.

“This week, to raise awareness of the importance of knowing the symptoms of CO, we’re sharing a personal story from a family who tragically lost their loved one to CO poisoning.

“Symptoms are very flu-like, including headaches, dizziness, tiredness, nausea, and loss of consciousness. With dropping temperatures and tens of thousands of cases of sickness predicted this winter, it’s critical not to dismiss feeling unwell as a common seasonal illness when it could be CO poisoning.

“If it any time you think there is CO in your home, go out to the fresh air and call the free 24-hour National Gas Emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999."

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In the video, Katie's family share the story of their devastating loss

One of the most important ways to keep you and your loved ones safe is to have a working CO alarm in your home. You’ll need to test your alarm regularly to make sure it’s working and keep an eye on the expiry date. Should the batteries or alarm itself reach the end of their useable life, replace them as soon as possible to keep your household safe.

If you don’t already have a CO alarm in your home, this week is an ideal time to get one.

APPCOG Officer Ian Byrne MP said: “More awareness about simple steps to tackle CO exposure can save countless lives this winter – let’s work together to keep ourselves and our loved ones protected.”