London Fire Brigade

Woman saved by carbon monoxide alarm

19 November 2014

We are urging everyone to get a carbon monoxide alarm after a woman was alerted to the harmful gases when hers sounded this morning.

Our crews were called to Holmesdale Road in South Norwood, after the resident heard her carbon monoxide alarm going off. The woman had ventilated the kitchen where the boiler was before crews arrived and thankfully she was uninjured. We left the incident in the hands of gas engineers.

A silent killer

Watch Manager Danny Kelly said:

Carbon monoxide can be a silent killer so without her alarm sounding this could have been much more serious. Don’t take risks with your boilers, fires and cookers, get them checked and serviced regularly, and make sure you have a working carbon monoxide alarm.”

So far this year we have attended 268 carbon monoxide incidents – equivalent to five a week, and last year they went to 419 incidents, more than one a day.

We want Londoners who think there may be a problem with any gas appliance in their home to contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician. People should also visit the our website to check if a product is subject to a recall.

Symptoms

The timely reminder comes during Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill quickly, you cannot taste, see or smell CO but the symptoms include:

• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Nausea
• Breathlessness
• Collapse
• Loss of consciousness

One of the most high profile CO incidents occurred in January 2013 in East Ham, when six young children were hospitalised after a woman used a barbecue indoors to dry her clothes.