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Carbon monoxide warning; watch out for the danger signs

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DORSET & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind the public of the importance of carbon monoxide alarms following an incident on 3rd November. 

Two people staying in a beach hut raised the alarm when they were overcome by gas fumes. Two crews from Portland were mobilised to the scene and had to break into the hut to rescue the people and a dog, who were all barely conscious. The crews administered oxygen therapy until the ambulance crews arrived. 

Station manager Russ True said, “The affected people have been very lucky. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless, but it is also extremely dangerous. Without a CO detector, you have no way of knowing that you’re being poisoned until the damage is already being done. 

“CO detectors can be bought in most supermarkets and DIY stores. They’re not expensive and they save lives. These people had experienced some advanced symptoms, but were very fortunate that they were still able to raise the alarm before they came to any serious harm.” 

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. Most cases of CO poisoning are caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or maintained, or are poorly ventilated. 

There are signs that you can look for that indicate incomplete combustion is occurring and may result in the production of CO: 

• Yellow or orange rather than blue flames (except in fuel effect fires or flueless appliances)  

• Soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances  

• Pilot lights that frequently blow out  

• Increased condensation inside windows  

For advice on carbon monoxide and making your home safer, visit our website www.dwfire.org.uk/carbon-monoxide 

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