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Tips on staying safe ahead of Gas Safety Week

by TKOAdmin
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The team at John Williams Heating Services in Chippenham are highlighting the importance of staying safe ahead of Gas Safety Week, which takes place this year between Monday September 11 and Sunday September 17.

The awareness week was started 13 years ago to raise awareness of gas safety across the UK and reduce deaths, illnesses and accidents caused by unsafe gas supplies and appliances. John Williams says he welcomes the annual opportunity to raise awareness.

“It’s so important that people understand how simple measures can make a massive difference to their own safety,” he says. “By ensuring a few easy steps are put in place, they can rest assured they’re doing all they can to keep themselves and their family safe. We’re really keen to help spread the word about how best to do that.” 

As an expert in gas safety with many years of experience behind him, John’s put together ten tips to help consumers ensure their gas usage at home is safe and up to date.

1. Check your appliances for signs they’re not working properly

Just like other kinds of conveniences in the home, gas appliances suffer from wear and tear and it is easy to forget they need to be regularly checked to ensure they are still safe to use. Warning signs include black marks or stains around the appliance, a poor or weak yellow flame instead of a sharp blue one, and too much condensation in the room where the appliance is kept.

2. Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning

More than 1000 people in the UK are affected by carbon monoxide poisoning each year. Prolonged exposure can be fatal and symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness and lethargy. In the later stages of poisoning, sufferers can lose consciousness and collapse. If you or a member of your family is suffering from any of these symptoms, it may be that there is too much carbon monoxide in your home.

3. Fit a carbon monoxide alarm

These alarms are cheap to buy, easy to fit and could save your life. They monitor the amount of carbon monoxide in the room’s atmosphere and alert you with a noise if levels exceed the accepted maximum so you can take quick action.

4. Keep your gas appliances serviced annually

Keeping your appliances, including your gas boiler, adequately serviced is essential to help keep you safe. Do this every year. If you live in rented accommodation, your landlord should pay for this and supply you with a copy of the Gas Safety Record. It is the law for them to do this.

5. Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer

When it comes to fitting, servicing, or fixing your gas appliances, it is essential that you only use a Gas Safe registered engineer. There may be others, and even friends or family members, who have some knowledge of gas and offer to help with your appliances, but the importance of using a properly qualified specialist cannot be over-emphasised. The difference can literally be a matter of life and death. As an extra tip, remember to check the back of your engineer’s ID card as information to confirm they are qualified is on both sides. You can find and check an engineer at GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.

6. Understand the risks

Gas that is unsafe in your home presents a very real risk not only of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal, but also of leaks, which can cause fires and explosions. The number of domestic fires and explosions caused by gas in the UK has risen since 2017 and the Health and Safety Executive and the Gas Safe Register have both raised concerns about the rising risk of deadly domestic blasts as more and more homeowners skip their annual checks. This is easy to do in a cost of living crisis however it’s an investment that’s vital. Gas safety in your home should be a priority.

7. Only use appliances for their intended purpose

Do not be tempted to use a gas appliance for something other than its actual purpose. For example, do not use a gas cooker to heat a room, or attempt to heat water on top of a gas heater.

8. Keep chimneys and vents clear at all times

It is tempting to block up air vents, especially in the winter, to help with insulation and to prevent drafts. Many people do not realise, however, that keeping these open is essential to ensuring appliances burn safely. Similarly, chimneys need to be kept clear and, if being used, checked annually.

9. Know what to do in an emergency

You must act quickly in a gas emergency. If you smell gas or think there is a dangerous situation with your supply or an appliance, leave the property immediately and call the Gas Emergency Number: 0800 111 999. Do not return until you have received advice from the line. If a gas pipe is struck or damaged, even if you think there hasn’t been a gas leak as a result, it is still important to call. The number is manned 24-hours a day.

10. Help spread the word!

Now that you know how to keep yourself and your home safe, tell your friends and family!

John says it is vital that people are educated about gas safety. “The vast majority of illnesses, incidents and accidents that happen around gas are entirely avoidable,” he says. “Gas is an incredible resource. If we can just make sure that safety measures are in place and that people are vigilant about their supply and their appliances, then unfortunate situations can be avoided. That’s the message we really want to highlight during Gas Safety Week and beyond.”

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