Accidental carbon monoxide poisoning currently kills around 40 people in the UK each year with many more people hospitalised. However such tragedies can be avoided by taking simple steps.

What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas, so it’s difficult to detect. It’s produced when fuels including gas, oil, coal or wood don’t burn properly due to:
  • an incorrectly fitted gas appliance
  • a poorly maintained gas appliance
  • a blocked flue, chimney or vent
  • a disposable or gas BBQ that’s not properly extinguished.
Gas appliances which can cause CO include:
  • cookers
  • fires
  • free-standing heaters
  • boilers and water heaters.

What are the signs to look for?

If you spot any of the signs below, it doesn’t definitely mean that there is a release of CO, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Gas flame appears ‘floppy’ and burns orange or yellow rather than mostly blue
  • Pilot light frequently blows out
  • There is soot or yellow-brown staining on or around an appliance
  • You see or smell smoke or have excessive condensation in the room where you have a gas appliance.
  • If you’re concerned about any of the above, call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999*

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

It’s worth remembering some symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to viral infections or tiredness, so try not to panic. However, call your doctor if you experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or feeling sick
  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning call immediately on 0800 111 999*.


Teaching children in schools about Carbon Monoxide

We are on a mission to raise awareness about Carbon Monoxide and to help keep your family safe. One of the ways we are doing this is by teaching children in schools about Carbon Monoxide with the help of Safety Seymour.

Safety Seymour

Further advice

How do I choose a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm?
How do I install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm?
What are the signs of carbon monoxide to look out for within properties?
How do I get my gas appliances checked?