MPs urged to back life-saving law

law‘Save lives now’. This was the challenge to MPs at a House of Commons reception, staged by campaigners who want to see carbon monoxide alarms (CO) in every home in England and Wales.

CO is produced by the incomplete combustion of any carbon-burning fuel – so gas, oil, coal and wood appliances are all potential killers. The Make CO Alarms Law Campaign says alarms should be mandatory when any appliance is installed.

The event gave parliamentarians the opportunity to see a new hard-hitting film, which graphically illustrates why CO is an indiscriminate threat, which can kill in minutes.

It has been produced by the Katie Haines Memorial Trust, which was set up by the family of 31-year-old Katie, who drowned in her bath in 2010, when overcome by the deadly gas from a faulty boiler.

Avril Samuel, the mother of Katie Haines and trustee of the charity, said:

“Katie’s death spurred us to try and make a difference. We believe it is vital for the law to change so as to protect others from suffering the same fate as Katie. We feel it is the most important thing we have done in her memory.”

Gordon Samuel, the father of Katie Haines and chair of the charity, said:

“Katie was a journalist and if this had happened to any of us she would have moved heaven and earth to raise awareness. We won’t rest until everyone in the UK understands the dangers of CO, and takes steps to ensure they don’t fall victim to it.

“This is why we are calling on the government – and all political parties – to wake-up, take notice and change the law as soon as possible.”

The Health & Safety Executive says 40 people die every year from accidental CO poisoning and 4,000 people are treated at A&E departments with CO symptoms, which can lead to brain damage and strokes. But chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, says the number of people affected by sub-lethal exposure is likely to be even greater than reported.

Gail van Dijk, ‘Make CO Alarms Law’ campaign manager at Plumb and Parts Center, said:

“We hope politicians will act decisively because this is a matter of life and death.

“Scotland and Northern Ireland have already changed the law and we are calling on the government to follow suit and change the law in England and Wales. With the General Election just weeks away, we are also calling on all political parties to make a clear manifesto commitment to change the law and raise awareness of the deadly threat of CO poisoning.”

Adrian Keats, Honeywell’s national account manager, said:

“Getting the law changed will save lives so we need to shout the safety message from the rooftops.

“We’ve been working with the Katie Haines Memorial Trust for several years and Katie’s story is heart-breaking. Surely it’s time to put an end to these needless tragedies.”

The ‘Make CO Alarms Law’ campaign is being led by Plumb Center, Honeywell and the Katie Haines Memorial Trust.

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