Merseyside residents tempted to reach for the central heating as autumn temperatures dip are being urged to get their boilers – and other gas appliances – safety checked.
- Gas safety plea to residents, in Gas Safety Week, supported by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service
- Cadent predicts rise in calls to national gas emergency service as people turn central heating on
- Safety message: get your gas appliances safety checked and buy / test CO alarms
Local gas network Cadent, supported by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, issued a safety message during Gas Safety Week, as the national gas emergency service gears up for an annual upturn in reports of suspected gas leaks.
This generally happens when temperatures fall below 15C during the day and 10C at night, as people start to turn on their central heating systems.
The number of reported gas escapes to the 0800 111 999* service from the Merseyside area was more than 2,400 in November 2016, compared to 1,422 in August 2017.
Cadent’s national call handling centre answers more than 1.6 million calls each year – which equates to one call every 20 seconds – on behalf of the four gas network companies in the UK (Cadent, SGN, Wales and West Utilities and Northern Gas Networks).
Dan Edwards, who manages the centre, said: “We’re here 24/7, 365 days a year, as the national gas emergency service. If people smell gas, or have another gas safety issue, such as suspecting carbon monoxide (CO), we’ll despatch an engineer to make sure everything is safe.
“However, it’s not our job to fix a faulty appliance; we will make it safe, and that can mean switching off the supply. That’s why we strongly advise people to get their appliances checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer, and test their CO alarm. We know many people will be turning on their central heating around now, so it’s a perfect time to do that.”
Gary Oakford, Group Manager for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is committed to making people safer in their homes. As an active and engaged stakeholder, we support the steps being taken locally by Cadent during Gas Safety Week.
“It’s imperative that people have appliances checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
“Warning signs that your appliances aren’t working properly include lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.
“We recommend people familiarise themselves with the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness – and have an audible carbon monoxide alarm, which should be tested regularly.”
The expected annual increase in calls this year comes during Gas Safety Week 2017
(18 to 24 September), the gas industry initiative to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly-maintained gas appliances, including the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Visit Gas Safe’s website to find a Gas Safe registered engineer in your area
and read these six top tips
to staying gas safe.
As well as managing the 0800 service, Cadent runs four of the UK’s eight regional gas distribution networks. Its own engineers work day and night to keep energy flowing to 11 million properties in North West England, the Midlands, East Anglia and North London.
Over the last 12 months (September 2016 to August 2017), Cadent has despatched engineers to more than 20,000 reported gas escapes in the Merseyside area.
Not all reported escapes turn out to be gas escapes, but Cadent engineers will check every report and ensure everything is safe. In some cases, engineers will find a fault with an appliance and may need to switch off the supply to remove the risk of it causing harm.
For more information on keeping your property gas safe and what to do in a gas emergency visit www.cadentgas.com/emergencies-safety
* Calls to this number are free. All calls are recorded and may be monitored.