IGEM's 'Carbon Monoxide – Ignorance can be fatal' conference drove home the importance of CO alarms in homes.

One CO death is too many

Published:  24 July, 2013

One death from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is one too many – this was the clear message from a major conference recently staged by the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM).

‘Carbon Monoxide – Ignorance can be fatal’ was held on 11 July and attracted more than 200 delegates from across the heating industry, the medical profession, the emergency services, local authorities and the families of CO victims.

Many speakers wanted government legislation to ensure that where carbon-burning appliances are fitted, CO detectors are also installed.

Plumb and Parts Center, which runs an annual month-long ‘Wise up to CO’ campaign across its 500-branch network, was one of the delegates. It saw sales of CO detectors rise by 18% during its campaign in May.

The conference also heard from Stacey Rodgers, who established the Dominic Rodgers Trust following the death of her 10-year-old son. He died after gas leaked into their home from a neighbouring property.

“Dominic lives in me and our campaign,” said Ms Rodgers. “I won’t rest until every home in Britain has a CO detector.”

Despite the fact that 84% of homes in the country have smoke alarms, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government, just10 to 15% have CO detectors, according to the Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring.

Campaigning MP Barry Sheerman, co chair of the Carbon Monoxide All Fuel Action Forum, said: “There is good practice but it is not happening often enough and fast enough. This conference is about how we do it better. Seeing good practice like Plumb and Parts’ initiative is fantastic, but the number of homes with CO detectors is still too low – we need parity with smoke detectors.”

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