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Northern Gas Networks cracks down on the silent killer

Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the North of England’s gas distributor is supporting a national week which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning, a dangerous gas which is difficult to detect because you can’t see, smell or taste it.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2014, which takes place this week (17– 23 November), is designed to educate people about the dangers of this silent killer, which is responsible for more than 50 deaths in the United Kingdom every year*.

To mark the week NGN has released data about the number of CO related gas emergencies responded to in its region, which covers northern Cumbria, the North East and much of Yorkshire.

Since April NGN’s emergency teams have made safe over 300 properties following a CO related incident of which 142 of these customers were living in the Yorkshire area and 102 in Tyne and Wear.

Chris Nevison, Customer Operations Area Manager, Leeds said: “Our emergency teams are on the streets 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, responding to calls to the National Gas Emergency number, making properties safe and briefing customers on their doorsteps about the dangers of CO and the tell-tale signs and symptoms.

He continued: “Since April our Emergency teams have responded to 142 CO related gas emergencies in Yorkshire.  In many cases the customers had no idea that they were being potentially exposed to CO.  That’s why we’re focused on working to not only protect customers against the dangers of this harmful gas, but to educate the wider public about CO safety through a range of initiatives.

NGN is helping to protect the public from the silent killer through a range of awareness initiatives which include dedicated projects as well as part of its day to day work.  These include iCOP, an innovative smartphone app aimed at 18-24 year olds living in rented accommodation, which has recently been nominated for the Community Awareness Campaign Award at the Yorkshire & Lincolnshire CIPR PRide Awards.

Other initiatives include a CO education programme for Key Stage 3 pupils, which is delivered in schools by NGN colleagues and is linked closely to the National Curriculum, as well as educational briefings which are delivered to customers in their homes.

Tom Bell, Head of Social Strategy, Northern Gas Networks, said: “CO Awareness Week is an important way of raising awareness of this harmful gas.  Many people aren’t aware of the potential dangers of CO, with only 12%**of the UK having an audible CO alarm. It’s important that people know the signs of CO poisoning and how to stay safe when they are at home or outdoors. You can find more information about the signs, symptoms and steps to take to ensure you and your family stay safe by taking a look at our animated CO infographic, on our website – northerngasnetworks.co.uk.”

NGN engineers will be carrying information and leaflets on CO to give to customers throughout the week.

Anyone who smells gas or suspects CO should call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.