Background The Chief Medical Officer of England has highlighted the need to tackle carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning with over 40 deaths and 4000 hospital attendances a year. The Be Gas Safe Programme, the first national programme to distribute CO alarms, was delivered by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) for the Gas Safe Charity between 2012 and 2014. The programme aimed to equip consumers to deal with dangers that lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Description The programme was delivered through Over 70 local partnerships across the UK who included local authorities, the NHS, fire services, housing agencies, children’s and older people’s charities and the police. They identified vulnerable households in their communities to receive CO alarms and safety information. Each partnership also received a briefing pack. A website was developed providing resources, links and useful information.
Results 13,000 CO alarms were distributed giving families protection for up to 7 years. At least 130,000 people benefitted from local education activities and media coverage reached over 3 million people. Evaluation included a survey and case studies of families whose lives have been saved either by being prompted to have their appliances serviced or because the CO alarm providing early warning. It showed a significant increase in awareness of the dangers and prevention measures.
Conclusions Carbon monoxide alarms are a last line of defence and are no substitute for regular servicing and good ventilation. However, research shows that combining provision of equipment with safety education is more effective than adopting one of these approaches alone. Providing practical protection for a limited number of families most at risk helped to maximise opportunities to educate a wider audience
- Carbon Monoxide
- Gas Safe
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