Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week starts today (Monday 19th November) and Midlands Air Ambulance is supporting the campaign to get everyone to fit an alarm that could save their life.

Specialist paramedics from the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) are urging people throughout the West Midlands to fit a carbon monoxide alarm to their home.

The call comes after ambulance crews had to take six people to hospital from Wolverhampton after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning.

Each year carbon monoxide poisoning kills around 50 people in England and results in 200 being hospitalised and another 4,000 needing treatment in A&E.

John Woodhall, who is a paramedic and Support Manager with the West Midlands HART Team, said: "Carbon monoxide is a silent killer which sadly leads to deaths every year. It is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. Breathing it in can make you unwell, but can also kill. 

The vast majority of people now have smoke alarms, having a carbon monoxide alarm similarly doesn’t cost much, but what price can you put on the life of a loved one?

Other ways to prevent these avoidable tragedies is to make sure gas and fuel appliances are properly installed and maintained.

With temperatures already dropping close to freezing quite regularly now, we all turn the heating up which can be the trigger to tragedy.

We should all be vigilant and check that heating appliances are working properly and are well ventilated. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar to those for flu and food poisoning including persistent headaches, a sore throat and eyes, sickness and tiredness. 

Exposure to levels that produce only minor symptoms may, in some cases, be associated with lasting neurological effects, such as memory loss and difficulties in concentrating.

Carbon monoxide is released when carbon-containing fuel such as gas, oil, coal, coke, petrol or wood, does not burn fully because not enough air is available. The majority of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are due to faulty combustion heating and cooking appliances.

Please don’t take the chance, get an alarm fitted and make sure it, along with your smoke alarm, works each week. Your life could depend on it."

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