Carbon monoxide alarms now mandatory

13 Mar 2015

As a founding member of CoGDEM (the Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring), we are really pleased that the Communities Minister, Penny Mordaunt, has made it mandatory for private landlords to install smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in rented properties.

Carbon monoxide is produced by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, by poor ventilation, blockages, lack of oxygen, and damaged or poorly maintained appliances. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless toxic gas that is impossible for the human senses to detect. It is absorbed into the body simply through breathing. Poisoning from CO can happen over an extended period of time or in a matter of minutes!

All properties that use fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal and even log burners) should have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted; this is not only relevant to residential properties but commercial and municipal facilities as well. These alarms provide early warning of a potential incident, alerting people to leave the property when the alarm sounds, to escape fire or poisoning. This new regulation will save hundreds of lives each year.

The practice of first responders routinely wearing portable monitors is not yet widespread. We are working with CoGDEM to increase CO awareness. Personnel from the emergency services (i.e. fire fighters and ambulance crews), natural gas suppliers and service companies commonly respond to CO alarm events and could enter a potentially dangerous environment. Their job is made safer, and their risk of exposure is reduced, by using a personal or portable monitor.

Further information about this new life-saving legislation is available here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/614/article/2/made

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