TV star and stand-up comedian Greg Davies, who plays the infamous head teacher Mr Gilbert in hit E4 show The Inbetweeners as well as regularly featuring on Mock the Week and Ask Rhod Gilbert, has teamed up with gas and electricity company National Grid for a new campaign to make students aware of gas safety and the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning as they move into their private, rented accommodation for the academic year ahead.
A cult figure among students, Greg was shocked at a survey which showed students weren't bothered about gas safety or aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. He's fronting the National Grid campaign to raise awareness of the issues.
Greg explained: "As a former teacher of 13 years, contrary to popular belief - I am passionate about students. For many students this is their first time away from home, and I think it's important that they're made aware of basic tips to make their student house safe.
Recent research carried out by National Grid showed students' priorities when finding accommodation are the size of the room, and how close it is to the nearest pub. Worryingly, over 50% of students didn't know who to call in a gas emergency and nearly 60% didn't have a gas safety certificate from their landlord for the gas appliances in their home. So as the new term begins, thousands of students moving away from home are being reminded of the importance of gas safety by Greg and National Grid.
Students should remember these five simple tips if they smell gas:
- Don't smoke or light matches
- Don't turn electrical switches on or of
- Do open doors and window
- Turn off the meter at the control valve (unless the smell of gas and the meter are in the cellar, as often this will need a light to be turned on)
- Call the free 24 hour national gas emergency number 0800 111 999* whether the smell is inside or outside the property. *Calls are recorded and may be monitored
It is equally important to be able to recognise a faulty gas appliance which could be leaking deadly carbon monoxide gas. If the pilot light blows out easily or there is a lazy yellow/orange flame instead of a blue flame, the appliance may be emitting carbon monoxide gas and must be checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Students should ask their landlord for an annual gas safety certificate to prove the appliances have been checked and are in good working order.
National Grid has launched a "National Grid Student Union" Fan Page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Grid-Student-Union/171066440020. Over the coming weeks, the page will feature a series of videos starring Greg as he spends a day in a real student house, with hilarious consequences. Greg said: "Going back to the student house for a day was a genuinely disgusting experience. But as you'll see in the videos, I wanted to single-handedly save the lives of students.
Students can also win prizes! Greg said: "Students who click to 'like' the National Grid Student Union on Facebook will be automatically entered into a competition to win a luxurious weekend at a boutique hotel in Brighton with three friends.
Information can also be found at www.nationalgrid.com/studentsafety, which will also broadcast on student radio and university websites up and down the country.
Mark Fairbairn, National Grid's Executive Director, 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 60% of students would not recognise the symptoms of CO poisoning. 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 tips from Greg Davies.