Gas safety campaign to target new students

First published in Silent Killer The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Derwentside & Tyneside)

STUDENTS are being warned of the dangers posed by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Lives can be lost if there is a fault with the cooker or gas fire in rented accommodation, according to the Gas Safe Register.

Parents are being reminded to advise children to check for a carbon monoxide alarm in their digs before moving in.

Gas Safe Register chief executive Peter Eldridge said: “Students in rented accommodation can be particularly vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning if they don’t know about gas safety and their rights.”

In the past year, 14 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Great Britain and more than 200 suffered health problems from CO exposure.

The Northern Echo launched its Silent Killer campaign following the death, in 1995, of a Durham University student.

The campaign is aimed at encouraging landlords and others to make sure gas heating appliances are properly maintained.

A Durham University spokesperson said: “All private landlords registered with the Durham Students’ Union are required to provide either mains or battery operated carbon monoxide detectors.

“We also provide students in private accommodation with their own carbon monoxide detectors and a handbook.”

For further information on staying gas safe at university visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800-408-5500.

FOLLOW this checklist to avoid gas safety risks at university:

● Know your rights. By law, landlords must use a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out annual safety checks and must provide you with a copy of the gas safety certificate. Landlords also need to show you how to turn off the gas supply.
● Know the symptoms of CO poisoning. Don’t mistake carbon monoxide poisoning for flu, or even a hangover;
● Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm in your room and in the shared areas of your student accommodation;
● If you smell gas, or think there might be a gas escape: turn off the gas at the meter, extinguish naked flames, open windows and leave the area. Call the gas emergency freephone 0800-111-999.

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