Warning of the Dangers from Carbon Monoxide Following Activation of Newly Installed Detector

Huw Davies & Neil Phillips

The Community Safety Team at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are urging those with fuel burning appliances, fires, and stoves in the community to install working Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors following a lucky escape by a Milford Haven resident after a Safe & Well Visit by the Fire and Rescue Service.

Earlier this month, On-Call Firefighters Neil Phillips and Huw Davies who are currently assisting the Community Safety Team with safe and well visits attended a property of a resident in Milford Haven, following a referral from the Pembrokeshire Community Alarm Service. The Pembrokeshire community alarm service is an emergency telephone service with special features to suit the visually impaired, hard of hearing and people with mobility and other disabilities. During the visit, the firefighters fitted a Carbon Monoxide detector, that was linked to the community alarms system, after noting that there was a gas fire appliance within the property.

Later that same day, Milford Haven Fire Station were called to the property after the CO detector started to sound and automatically dialled out to the alarm system. Crews established that there was a problem with the gas fire within the property and safeguarded the resident by working with their utilities company to isolate the fireplace.

Will Stephenson, Crew Manager for Community Safety in Pembrokeshire added,

“Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer and this incident is a clear example of how important Carbon Monoxide detectors are in the home. The team were relieved that they were able to avert a potential tragedy this time and we urge others to consider the risks associated with fuel burning appliances. This incident also emphasises the importance of working collaboratively with our partner agencies in our communities, as without that referral the consequences could have been much worse and also the importance of our retained firefighters carrying out safe and well visits.”

Carbon Monoxide is produced when certain fuels are not properly burnt. This includes gas, oil and solid fuels such as coal, coke and wood. Carbon Monoxide can also seep into properties via shared flues or chimneys and can even permeate through brick walls and plaster.

Karen Jones, Head of Community Safety for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service added,

“Carbon Monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no colour, taste or smell. Fuel burning appliances such as st​oves, fires, boilers and water heaters can produce Carbon Monoxide if they are incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained or if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked. It is vital that those with such appliances ensure that they are serviced regularly, flues are kept clear, homes are well ventilated and working Carbon Monoxide detectors are installed in the correct areas of the home and that they are also regularly tested.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have provided further information on what you can do to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning on their website:

www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/carbon-monoxide-safety

A ‘Safe & Well’ check can be completed by the Fire and Rescue Service by calling 0800 169 1234 or via their website referral form:

https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/safe-and-well-visit