MPs urged to back CO alarms law

“Save lives now”:  This was the challenge to MPs at a recent House of Commons reception, held by campaigners pressing for carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted in every home in England and Wales.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced by the incomplete combustion of any carbon-burning fuel – so gas, oil, coal and wood appliances are all potential killers, say the campaign organisers who want alarms to be mandatory when any appliance is installed.

The event gave politicians the opportunity to see a new hard-hitting film, which graphically illustrates why CO is an indiscriminate threat, which can kill in minutes. It has been produced by the Katie Haines Memorial Trust, which was set up by the family of 31-year-old Katie, who drowned in her bath in 2010 when overcome by the deadly gas from a faulty boiler.

Gordon Samuel, the father of Katie Haines and chair of the charity, said: “We won’t rest until everyone in the UK understands the dangers of CO and takes steps to ensure they don’t fall victim to it. This is why we are calling on the government – and all political parties – to wake-up, take notice and change the law as soon as possible.”

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) says 40 people die every year from accidental CO poisoning and 4,000 people are treated at A&E departments with CO symptoms, which can lead to brain damage and strokes.

Gail van Dijk, ‘Make CO Alarms Law’ campaign manager at Plumb and Parts Center, said: “We hope politicians will act decisively because this is a matter of life and death.

“Scotland and Northern Ireland have already changed the law and we are calling on the government to follow suit and change the law in England and Wales. With the general election just weeks away, we are also calling on all political parties to make a clear manifesto commitment to change the law and raise awareness of the deadly threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

The ‘Make CO Alarms Law’ campaign is being led by Plumb Center, Honeywell and the Katie Haines Memorial Trust.