- Gas Safety Week takes place for the tenth year running
- People reminded of basic gas safety advice including ensuring annual gas safety checks are carried out on their gas appliances
- East Anglian gas emergency engineer Peter Cullum, now in his fourth decade of service, offers some gas safety insights
Now in his fourth decade of working as an emergency gas engineer, Peter Cullum is more than qualified to offer some timely advice during Gas Safety Week.
This week (14-20 September) is the tenth year of Gas Safety Week, the annual campaign which seeks to inform the public of gas safety issues and to remind everyone of the importance of having an annual gas safety check by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Gas appliances that have not properly been maintained can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see, smell or taste it. You'll find lots of helpful gas safety advice on our Gas Safety Week 2020 page
If you ever suspect a gas escape, or carbon monoxide, ring the national gas emergency number 0800 111 999* immediately. This number is available 24 hours, 365 days a year.
Gas Safety Week is an ideal time for Peter Cullum, 52, to pass on some gas safety tips and share some of the things he’s seen in a career which first began as a young apprentice back in 1984.
An FCO (First Call Operative), whose job it is to respond to and deal with suspected gas escapes, Peter is based in Cadent’s Norwich depot and responds to emergency call-outs across the East Anglian gas distribution network.
Reflecting on the thousands of emergency call-outs he’s attended since 1984, Peter said: “I find generally people are quite good at getting their gas appliances serviced each year it’s just some of the other things they do they put themselves and others at risk.”
He explained: “If people smell gas they need to call the emergency gas service right away delaying can have devastating and even fatal consequences.
“I never fail to be surprised at the number of people who call us to report a gas escape and when I arrive they tell me they’ve been smelling the gas for ‘a couple of weeks’!
“I well remember one lady who called us to report a gas leak in the middle of the night and when I got there she told me that she’d not be able to sleep because she’d been worried about the smell of gas!”
Delaying calling the gas emergency service isn’t the only thing that puts people at risk, not maintaining carbon monoxide alarms correctly and replacing batteries or the alarms when required, is another problem.
Peter recalled: “I responded to a call-out once and the inner walls of the house were covered in soot, a classic sign that carbon monoxide is leaking from a faulty appliance. It was so bad the house had to be repainted.
“I asked the resident if he had a carbon monoxide alarm and was very surprised when he said he had, however when we tested it, unsurprisingly we found that it was faulty.”
He added: “It’s vital that people not only have a carbon monoxide alarm but that they also test it regularly, change batteries as required and that they also ensure they know when it should be replaced as the alarms do have a finite lifespan.”
Gas Safe Register is the official register for legally qualified engineers. You can find a registered local engineer to carry out your annual gas appliance safety checks by visiting the Gas Safe Register website
Jonathan Samuel, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said: “In these uncertain times, it’s important to regard the safety of our local communities. This Gas Safety Week we’re delighted to have the support of Cadent and by working together we can keep the public informed of gas safety and help reduce the risk of dangerous gas appliances across the UK, helping the whole nation to stay gas safe.”
Top tips on how to stay Gas Safe this Gas Safety Week:
- Know the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning; headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness.
- Ensure you have a working Carbon Monoxide alarm which is tested regularly and is disposed of and replaced at the correct intervals
- If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.
- Ensure you have your gas appliances checked each year by a Gas Safe registered engineer
- Never attempt to work on a gas appliance yourself, always seek the help of a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer who can work on your gas cooker, boiler or fire in a safe way.
- Don’t cut corners - only employ a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home.
- Always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which will state which gas appliances they are qualified to work on.