Adrian Keats from Honeywell’s Home Safety business comments on new research by carbon monoxide (CO) awareness campaign group Project SHOUT, suggesting that the number of children suffering from suspected CO poisoning is on the rise.

Unfortunately, these survey results don’t come as a surprise to those of us working within the industry. Despite the tireless work of many public and private groups, there is still a shocking lack of awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide among the general public.

Specifically, these figures show an alarming increase in the number of CO poisoning incidents since 2015, with more than 500 cases involving children under 18 reported last year. The public’s lack of awareness underscores how important it is for heating engineers to take on the responsibility of educating customers – and helping them to safeguard themselves and their families against the risks that can arise from gas or solid fuel related incidents.

Equally, homeowners should be asking their heating engineer to supply them with and install a CO alarm. Also, installers should seek to dissuade them from purchasing and installing one themselves to minimise risk from inexperience or a lack of knowledge on where to site the alarm.

Fitting an alarm is a five-minute job at most, so by keeping a few alarms in the back of the van, installers can quickly and easily help homeowners protect their household from the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It’s vital to speak up if a customer has a low-quality alarm, or a colour change spot CO detector – these have no audible alert and expire in a matter of months, leaving the home unprotected and its residents vulnerable. By alerting a customer to an inadequate alarm or detector, installers could be saving the lives of people who wrongly believe they’ve taken the necessary precautions.

The Project SHOUT campaign reported that 50 deaths were caused by CO poisoning in 2016, and an estimated further 4,000 people need hospital treatment every year. Installers can have a real impact in reducing those numbers, and we hope that these latest statistics reinforce how important it is that we all work together to minimise instances of CO poisoning.