Major campaign for action on Silent Killer

The Northern Echo: FAMILY FEAR: Lynn Griffiths, whose family was  poisoned by carbon monoxide in their home FAMILY FEAR: Lynn Griffiths, whose family was poisoned by carbon monoxide in their home

TODAY marks the launch of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and sees the continuation of The Northern Echo’s ongoing campaign to prevent needless casualties from the socalled Silent Killer.

The inspiration behind the specially-designated week, mother-of-four Lynn Griffiths, believes the health of herself and her family was damaged when, despite following all the guidelines, an undetected blocked flu at her home, in Cheshire, led to her family being poisoned.

Mrs Griffiths believes hundreds of other victims have been stricken by the deadly gas and, throughout the week, she will be taking her campaign to the House of Lords and to the Scottish Parliament.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, widow Mrs Griffiths said: “We want to see high-profile campaigns in the media, for instance television, newspapers and cinemas, and information in doctors surgeries and on gas bills, highlighting carbon monoxide dangers, the warning signs and what preventative measures we can take.

“We want the Government to put greater investment into the NHS to tackle the acute need for resources to educate all doctors on carbon monoxide and the other products of combustion and secondly to keep them informed on treatment and research being carried out.”

Mrs Griffiths, who has taken the plight of her family to the courts, added: “We want to see justice for those poisoned by carbon monoxide and the other products of combustion.”

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteleless, poisonous gas which can seep into homes wherever fossil fuels are being burned and appliances are not properly installed and maintained.

As well as injuring victims, the gas can prove lethal and in recent years has claimed the lives of two young women in the region.

With temperatures falling and reliance on heating systems growing, The Northern Echo is backing The Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed campaign, which is supported by victims’ charities and all major fuel organisations.

The national campaign is aimed at sounding an urgent warning to the public to have all fuel-burning appliances checked by registered and qualified engineers and to have audible carbon monoxide alarms fitted in their households.

Also adding his voice to the campaign is Phil Willis, the MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, who said: “I would like to see a requirement for all new homes to be fitted with an alarm and for landlords to provide an alarm before they can receive their annual gas safety certificate.’’

Know the CO risks

The symptoms

● tiredness

● drowsiness

● headache

● giddiness

● nausea

● vomiting

● chest pains

● breathlessness

● stomach pains

● erratic behaviour

● visual problems

● in severe cases there will be a pink tinge to the skin and bright red lips Anyone experiencing any of the above symptoms in relation to carbon monoxide should see a GP or go to hospital.

The danger signs

● Yellow or orange rather than blue flames

● Soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances

● Pilot lights that frequently blow out

● Increased condensation inside windows

What to do

● Switch off the appliance and seek expert help

● Shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve call the Gas Emergency Freephone number 0800-111-999

● Open all doors and windows to ventilate the room – do not sleep in it

● Visit your GP urgently and request either a blood or breath sample

● Contact a Corgiregistered installation engineer to carry out the necessary repairs.

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