Gas Safety Week sets out to help the vulnerable

Gas safety confusion is putting vulnerable people at risk, according to latest research by the Gas Safe Register.

This Gas Safety Week (16-22 September), the organisation has called on people to protect themselves and loved ones by getting clued up on gas safety.

One in five UK homes have unsafe gas appliances, according to latest UK inspection figures.

Gas Safe’s research involved 2,001 people who care for or check in on an elderly or disabled loved one who doesn’t live with them.

Three quarters said safety was a key reason for checking in on their vulnerable loved one. Yet 92% did not know at least one of the crucial signs that a gas appliance is unsafe.

Over half did not know that a lazy yellow flame on appliances such as cookers is a warning sign, while three quarters were unaware that increased condensation inside windows is a red flag. More than half, 55%, didn’t know to look out for sooty stains on or around appliances such as cookers.

There was also evidence of confusion around the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Almost half of respondents didn’t know that breathlessness is a symptom, while 38% were unaware that nausea can be a sign of poisoning and were unaware that headaches can mean an appliance is emitting carbon monoxide.

The survey also revealed the extent to which vulnerable people may not be protected by an audible carbon monoxide alarm. A fifth of those surveyed said they weren’t sure if the person they care for has an audible carbon monoxide alarm and 17% said they know their loved one doesn’t have one.

Some warning signs to look out for:

  • Floppy yellow or orange flames on gas appliances, such as cookers, instead of a bright blue one
  • Increased condensation inside windows
  • The pilot light repeatedly going out or the boiler fails to light
  • Black or sooty marks on or around gas appliances

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “Those who look after others care deeply about their safety and wellbeing and feel a lot of responsibility. We don’t want to add to the list of things to worry about, but we want to raise awareness of the signs of unsafe appliances. Unsafe appliances can be deadly and knowing the warning signs can protect you and your loved ones from harm.