Nearly eight million older people could be at risk from unsafe gas appliances in the UK as Gas Safe Register reveals that three-quarters of Britons have never discussed gas safety with older family members.
The official safety body is therefore urging friends and family to help older people avoid gas dangers in their homes during this year’s Gas Safety Week (19-25 September).
The video features Mark Jones from the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service as he recounts a case of an 81 year old man who was exposed to alarmingly high Carbon Monoxide levels, which could have been fatal.
More than 260 over-65s are injured by gas appliances every year, accounting for the majority (57%) of deaths from gas fires at home.
Gas Safe Register investigations have found that around one in six gas appliances are unsafe, with half of the gas fireplaces investigated found to be dangerous.
Only half know the signs of unsafe gas appliances, which include a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame, soot or staining on or around the appliance and excess condensation in the room.
Worryingly, older people are half as likely (6%) as other age groups (15%) to have a gas installation or service carried out by a gas safe registered engineer to ensure their gas appliances are safe.
As a result of the research, Gas Safe Register is providing three tips to help keep older friends and relative’s gas safe at home:
1. Sign up for an annual gas safety check - Sign up on their behalf for a free annual gas safety check reminder at www.staygassafe.co.uk.
2. Get savvy with CO poisoning symptoms – Although CO has no smell, taste or colour, symptoms of poisoning include: headaches; dizziness; nausea; breathlessness; collapse and loss of consciousness – all of which can be mistaken for something else.
3. Recognise unsafe gas appliance signs – Signs of unsafe gas appliances include: a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame; soot or staining on or around the appliance; excess condensation in the room.