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Be gas safe before you turn the heating on

Autumn is upon us and there's a nip in the evening air, so thoughts are already turning to putting the heating back on.

If your heating is fuelled by gas then now is the time to get those appliances checked over. This week is Gas Safety Week and the call has gone out for friends and family to make sure older people avoid gas dangers in their homes.

More than 260 over-65s are injured by gas appliances every year, accounting for the majority (57 per cent) of deaths from gas fire heaters at home. As a result, Gas Safe Register is providing three tips to help keep older friends and relatives gas safe at home:

  1. Sign up for an annual gas safety check - Only 16 per cent of people speak to their older relatives annually about gas safety. To make it easier, sign up on their behalf for an annual gas safety check reminder at www.staygassafe.co.uk.
  2. Get savvy with CO poisoning symptoms - One in nine (11 per cent) of over 75s have little or no knowledge of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) and less than half (47 per cent) of Britons can recognise CO poisoning symptoms in their older relatives. 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 - Just over half of Britons (53 per cent) 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, excess condensation in the room.

Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Get your gas boiler, cooker and fire safety checked every year and serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm to alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.

If you do smell gas call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999.

Check out the Gas Safety Week website for top tips to keep you and your family safe www.gassafetyweek.co.uk   

Gas Safe Register investigations find around one in six gas appliances are unsafe , with half of the gas fireplaces investigated found to be dangerous .

Worryingly, older people are half as likely   as other age groups  to have a gas installation or service carried out by a professional to ensure their gas appliances are safe. Make sure they know to "Trust the Triangle" by asking to see their engineer's Gas Safe ID card and checking it to make sure the engineer is covered to check or fit the appliance in question.