A new Government report announced last week is calling for carbon monoxide detectors to be fitted in all homes by law.
It is already mandatory for all new-build homes to be fitted with CO alarms but the Department of Communities and Local Government Select Committee is recommending they be placed in all existing homes too.
The regulator for gas engineers, Gas Safe Register, welcomes the report but urges people to be aware of unregistered and unqualified gas fitters.
Gas Safe Register’s chief executive, Paul Johnston, said: “Gas safety is a life or death matter that affects the entire nation and we welcome the government’s call for CO alarms to be fitted in all homes. However, when it comes to gas safety a CO alarm is only a second line of defence. Badly fitted and poorly maintained gas appliances can kill, so it’s just as vital that the public remain vigilant of cowboy gas fitters and get their appliances checked annually.”
Gas related incidents caused 10 deaths and more than 330 injuries in the UK last year, with GSR estimating that a quarter of a million illegal gas jobs are carried out every year by around 7,500 gas fitters who do not have the skills or the qualifications to do the job safely.
In the past three years, nearly 2,000 cowboy gas fitters have been investigated, resulting in £500,000 worth of fines and seven prison sentences.
“The Register was launched in 2009 to deliver a sharper focus on gas safety and to protect the public from dangerous and illegal work. We have made significant improvements: before we launched in 2009 only seven in 10 people understood gas risks and that a register existed. We have now increased this awareness to eight in 10 people, which amounts to tens of thousands of people across the country,” said Johnston.