Katie Haines campaigners call for mandatory carbon monoxide alarms across UK
November 13, 2012
The family of a newlywed who died from gas poisoning are calling for carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to be fitted by law in all UK homes.
All new builds in Northern Ireland must have the alarms after legislation was introduced last month, but Katie Haines’ family are campaigning for it to be extended to the rest of the country.
Katie Haines, 31, of Barkham Road, Wokingham, died after being overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a leaking boiler in 2010. Her mum Avril Samuel said: “We have been campaigning for a long time for carbon monoxide alarms to be made a legal requirement here.
“Since two young lads died in Northern Ireland, not long after Katie died, the authorities there have put in place so much legislation it’s amazing. I can’t understand why it hasn’t happened here.
“They even have carbon monoxide awareness Girl Guide badges which will lead to them growing up with the knowledge, so when it comes to buying a carbon monoxide alarm they will do it without a second thought.”
Katie’s husband, Richard, and her family set up the Katie Haines Memorial Trust to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide.
Richard, who was also affected by the fumes, added: “I think it is positive news. It is a great start and applies to new builds and if anyone changes a fossil fuel burning appliance, but we think it should be extended across the rest of the Great Britain.
“We would like to see a law that makes it compulsory for anyone renting a property to have a carbon monoxide alarm, but that is something we are trying to do through work with other charities.”
Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’. It is difficult to detect because it is colourless and has no taste or smell.
Mrs Samuel added: “It’s just so utterly bizarre that new homes have to have a fire alarm and a fire safety certificate but not a carbon monoxide alarm. We need to get it into people’s heads to look out for this silent killer.”
It is estimated that up to 50 people die and more than 4,000 people are diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK each year, although the figure could be much higher.
Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, sore throat, dry cough and nausea, all of which could be confused with cold and flu, food poisoning or general tiredness.
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “Our priority is to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide in the first place. Landlords are responsible for maintaining their properties, including the safety of gas and electrical appliances and must arrange for an annual maintenance check of gas pipe work, appliances and flues. wThis should be carried out by an engineer registered with the Gas Safe Register.”
For more information visit http://katiehaines.com/