Nearly eight million older people could be at risk from unsafe gas appliances in the UK as Gas Safe Register reveals 81% of registered engineers believe the elderly should be offered better support to help them be gas safe in the home.
A survey of engineers, released on September 15 to mark the launch of Gas Safety Week 2016, reveals that a third of registered engineers feel that people over 65 are less likely to be aware of the dangers of gas appliances. Furthermore, 83% say they regularly give older or vulnerable customers support in understanding how to look out for signs/symptoms of unsafe gas appliances.
When asked what support could be offered to help the elderly stay gas safe, responses from engineers included direct advertising and extra information such as, leaflets, safety booklets and step-by-step guides, discounts on carbon monoxide (CO) alarms for the over-65s, and regular updates from the industry.
Jonathan Samuel, managing director for Gas Safe Register, said: “Registered engineers are at the front line of gas safety in the UK, and have the best insight into the safety of elderly or vulnerable residents.
“During this year’s Gas Safety Week, we are urging engineers to help ensure the public, and particularly the elderly, know the risks of faulty gas appliances and the importance of getting an annual safety check.”
More than 260 over-65s are injured by gas appliances every year, accounting for the majority (57%) of deaths from gas fires at home.
As a result, Gas Safe Register has issued three tips to help keep older people gas safe which engineers are encouraged to share with their customers during Gas Safety Week.
- Sign up for an annual gas safety check –only 16% of people speak to their older relatives annually about gas safety. Sign up for an annual gas safety check reminder at: www.staygassafe.co.uk.
- Get savvy with CO poisoning symptoms –one in nine (11%) over 75s has little or no knowledge of the dangers of CO and less than half (47%) of Britons can recognise CO poisoning symptoms in their older relatives.
- Recognise unsafe gas appliance signs – just over half of Britons (53%) 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.
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 (six per cent) as other age groups (15%) to have a gas installation or service carried out by a professional to ensure their gas appliances are safe.