This week marks Gas Safety Week and here Gary Oakford, Group Manager at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service reminds landlords of the importance of gas safety checks to tackle unsafe work and dangerous appliances.
Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning alone results in around 40 deaths and 200 hospitalisations in England & Wales.
Too many people fail to take the simple steps necessary to have their gas appliances checked.
We acknowledge that smoke and CO detectors alert people in the event of a threat and have had a significant impact on reducing the number of lives lost as a result. However correct servicing rather than sole reliance on detectors is the first line of defence in tackling unsafe gas works and faulty or dangerous appliances.
The Gas Safe Register has worked hard to increase awareness through high-profile campaigns including Gas Safety Week – as well as weaving the dangers of CO into the storylines of some of the highest rated TV programmes in the country, including Coronation Street.
Such campaigns do have impact for a period of time, but evidence suggests that lack of servicing or sub-standard servicing was the most frequently reported preventable contributory factor in a gas related CO incident.
Owner occupiers and private landlords in particular should be aware of the importance of regular servicing in accordance with British Standards and the appliance manufacturer’s instructions.
There are also a whole range of methods of communicating key messages for both landlords and tenants, social media, short clips on You Tube and interactive websites such as the Gas Safe Register’s heat map tool can be effective; these also offer an email reminder for tenants when appliances should be serviced. We would urge landlords to take such steps.
For more information on the Gas Safe Register and to find and check an engineer go to www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.