Getting CO dangers better known

Published: Friday, 11 January 2019

AN independent  registered victim based charity is attempting to get the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) better known.

Thank you very much for including in your article concerning boat maintenance that four people were hospitalised after carbon monoxide levels ‘high enough to kill’ were found on a Broads cruiser, writes Stephanie Trotter.

Understanding the symptoms

At the time the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) conceded ‘we’ll only see a reduction in the 50 fatalities in the UK every year, when more people, including boat users, understand the symptoms and dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning’.

APPCOG has found that the known deaths and injuries from unintentional CO cost the taxpayer £178 million.

Lobbied for prime time

Independent, registered, victim based charity CO-Gas Safety has lobbied for prime time TV warnings since 1995. We realised that most victims we talked to, even in the first few months of existence told us ‘we didn’t even know what carbon monoxide was, so how could we have protected our child/relative/friend etc.?’

We now lobby for a national PR campaign to include TV warnings (similar to the anti-smoking ones) and social media etc. to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent poisoning.

Levy on gas suppliers

In 2000, the Health & Safety Commission, now the Health & Safety Executive, recommended a levy, mainly on the gas suppliers (we would prefer the whole fuel industry) to pay for publicity and for research. This was not implemented due mainly, in our opinion, to the lobbying of Government by the wealthy gas suppliers.

 Why doesn’t the APPCOG raise this recommendation in Parliament or support our efforts to impose this levy? Without political will this will never be imposed. Surely politicians should be looking after the electorate and taxpayer, not big business. A levy of just £1 per household per year would provide at least £22 million to spend on raising awareness of the dangers, research and funding for charities like CO-Gas Safety which seems to provide the only victim support on a shoestring.

 Stephanie Trotter, OBE (Mrs) is President & Director of CO-Gas Safety.