- Students have a chance to win a year's rent through the National Grid's Student Union on Facebook.
- The National Grid Student Union on Facebook will host the first ever live Magic Show on 28 October at 7pm.
Leading professional illusionist, 25 year old Damien O'Brien, has teamed up with gas and electricity company National Grid to help teach students the tricks to living safely, ensuring students are aware of gas safety and the risks of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning as they move into their new homes at the beginning of a new university year.
Damien, an up and coming illusionist who recently featured on Penn and Teller Fool Us, knows all too well about the dangers of CO poisoning, having seen one of his close friends almost succumb to it.
The survival tricks come on the back of research revealing students' priorities in choosing their new homes. The study by National Grid found that over a fifth (21%) cited "good access to the pub and nightlife" and over a third (36%) having "a good bedroom" as key reasons for choosing a property.
Perhaps equally unsurprisingly, only 7% rated having a smoke detector as one of their three most important considerations, just 5% looked for a safe, regularly serviced boiler and fewer than 2% said a CO alarm was of prime importance.
54% of students currently in rented accommodation say their boiler does not have the gas safety certificate their landlord should by law provide. A worrying fact when unserviced boilers, significantly increases the danger of CO poisoning and three quarters of students do not have an audible CO alarm.
Almost half (46%) don't recognize light headedness, headaches, nausea, dizziness and shortage of breath as symptoms of CO poisoning, while over 70% don't know the indicators of a potentially faulty gas appliance: a weak yellowy/orange flame, black marks around the appliance and a pilot light that blows out easily.
Add the fact that 88% don't know who to call if they suspect a gas or CO leak, then the potential dangers are obvious. If you smell gas, call the free national gas emergency service on 0800 111 999.
To launch the campaign, Damien spent a day at a student house to produce a series of videos featuring magic tricks and tips on how to survive university life and make sure students know that when it comes to gas safety there are no illusions.
Follow "National Grid Student Union" on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Grid-Student-Union/171066440020 and over the coming weeks, the page will feature a series of videos starring Damien in a real student house, with magical results. Damien said: "Going back to the student house for a day was a genuinely disgusting experience. I wanted to see if I could make the mess disappear or at least give the illusion it was clean.
Students can also win prizes! Damien said: "Students who watch the videos on National Grid Student Union on Facebook can enter via the video player and I will make the rent disappear for a year for one lucky winner. This winner will also take part in the first ever live magic show on Facebook. This will be streamed live onto the National Grid Student Union Facebook page on 28th October at 7pm.
Simple safety tips for students can be found at www.nationalgrid.com/studentsafety, which will also broadcast on student radio and university websites up and down the country.
John Pettigrew, National Grid's chief operating officer for, Gas Distribution, added: "Through this campaign we are hoping to reach thousands of students at the start of the new term. "The information we are providing could save lives as research shows that 54% of students don't have a gas safety certificate for their boiler and 88% don't know who to call if they had a gas leak. We hope as many students as possible will visit the National Grid Student Union on Facebook to get life-saving advice, as well as some tricks from illusionist Damien O'Brien.
Further information about Magician and Illusionist Damien O'Brien can be found athttp://www.damienobrien.com/