Ireland’s fifth annual Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week takes place in Ireland from 26 September to 2 October in this year. Each year, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and highlight the measures that can be taken to prevent it.
Carbon monoxide can, and does, kill.
On average, six people in Ireland die every year as a result of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning and many more are made ill.
The gas is colourless, odourless, hard to detect and, at high levels, can kill in less than three minutes. Carbon monoxide can be produced by any fossil fuel when burned – coal, turf, oil, gas or even wood.
There are a number of preventative measures that can be put in place to reduce the risk of CO poisoning.
They include having your fuel burning appliances serviced annually by a Registered Gas Installer, Registered OFTEC Technician or qualified service technician for your fuel type.
For added protection, audible carbon monoxide alarms should be installed where fuel burning appliances are used.
There are a number of important safety messages that designers and builders should be aware of to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
1) Ensure that fuel burning appliances used on site (e.g. generators, engine powered equipment and even temporary heating equipment etc.) are properly installed, serviced and are operated safely, for example, in well ventilated areas.
2) Use a competent installer to install heating/ fuel burning appliances (e.g. A Registered Gas Installer for gas appliances, a registered OFTEC technician for oil appliances etc.)
3) Remember, building regulations require carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in most cases
4) If doing alteration works to a property, do not compromise existing flueing and ventilation arrangements
5) If in doubt, seek expert advice from a competent installer.
The awareness week is a public safety initiative supported by organisations across the energy sector and related industries as well as safety and public health bodies including the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER); Gas Networks Ireland; Register of Gas Installers of Ireland (RGII); Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC); Solid Fuel Trade Group; National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI); Health Service Executive; Health and Safety Authority; Chief Fire Officers’ Association and major Irish energy retailers.
Extensive advertising will run throughout the campaign including TV and radio promotions.