South Western Ambulance Service warns of carbon monoxide poisoning

PUBLISHED: 20:23 11 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:59 10 June 2010

South Western Ambulance Service (SWAST) is backing a major campaign to raise awareness of a silent killer.

South Western Ambulance Service (SWAST) is backing a major campaign to raise awareness of a silent killer.

In April paramedic Johanna McLoughlin was hailed a hero after she suspected guests at a Newquay hotel were at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Tragically one guest died as a result of inhaling the deadly gas but, thanks to Johanna's quick thinking, over 80 other guests escaped though many - like Johanna and her crew mate - were already experiencing symptoms and needed treatment.

Monday November 17 marks the start of carbon monoxide (CO) awareness week - part of an ongoing campaign to warn of the danger of carbon monoxide poses in every home.

Simple precautions can be taken to prevent poisoning including servicing boilers and cookers once a year and fitting carbon monoxide alarms.

South Western Ambulance Service is called to many incidents involving carbon monoxide poisoning each year and sadly fatalities do happen, said a spokeswoman.

According to official body CORGI, over a 13 month period from January 2006 until April 2007, 50 people died and another 218 were injured as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning across the UK.

What makes the gas so lethal is that it has no taste, colour or odour but can kill in minutes.

It can come from any fuel-burning appliance like cookers, heaters, gas tumble dryers, hot water heaters and fireplaces, especially those that are not serviced properly.

Symptoms, which are flu-like, may not manifest immediately and can take weeks or months to become apparent by which time it may be too late.

Trust chief executive Ken Wenman said: "This awareness raising week is an excellent initiative and we as a trust are in full support of it as we take the health of local communities very seriously.

"It is important as an ambulance service that we take preventative measures to prevent people sustaining injury. The days of merely acting as a transport service are long gone."

For more information visit www.co-awareness.org

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