Cookstown false alarm a timely reminder of carbon monoxide danger

The alarm at Burnbrae, Cookstown
The alarm at Burnbrae, Cookstown

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that a carbon monoxide incident in Cookstown last week was a false alarm.

Following a scan of the property with detectors all readings returned a zero for carbon monoxide.

Despite the zero reading, this incident serves as a timely reminder of how important it is to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in our homes.

This month of November is Carbon Monoxide Awareness month and the Public Health Agency are reminding home owners of the dangers of the ‘silent killer’ that is carbon monoxide.

CO poisoning can kill and in the winter months, when people use their heating appliances more frequently, there are often more incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dr Anne Wilson, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, advised: “Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal and can also cause long-term health problems if victims are exposed to low doses over a long period of time. The signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for other illnesses such as food poisoning or flu – the symptoms can be similar to flu but without a raised temperature. Anyone who suspects they may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should immediately turn off all appliances, go outside and seek medical help from a qualified healthcare professional.”

To minimise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning the PHA recommends the following:

• Sweep chimneys and flues every year if you use solid fuel;

• Keep flues, air vents and grilles clear and ensure rooms are well ventilated;

• If you are in rented accommodation that incorporates gas appliances, ask your landlord to provide you with an up-to-date gas safety record, this is a requirement by law.

• Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm that meets British or European standards (BS Kitemark or EN 50291).