Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week takes place 21st – 27th September 2015

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week takes place 21st – 27th September 2015

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


  • 1.2 million adults at risk of carbon monoxide (CO) because they don't have a CO alarm and live in a house at risk of CO
  • Over 100,000 people over 65 and living alone at risk because they don't have a CO alarm
  • 43% of those who don't have a CO alarm don't know where to buy one and this rises to 60% in people under 35 years of age
  • Only 38% of respondents surveyed have an audible carbon monoxide alarm in their home
  • Of those who do have a CO alarm (38%) only 1 in 3 (31%) checked it in the past month
  • 4 in ten (39%) have not had their boiler serviced in two or more years
  • 45% have not had fuel burning appliances (such as gas and LPG fires and heaters, solid fuel stoves, ranges, etc) serviced in two or more years
  • 32% have not had their chimney swept in two or more years
  • Only 22% consider carbon monoxide as the most important safety risk in the home (second to fire at 43%), despite the fact that CO can kill in 3 minutes
  • Awareness levels are increasing as 54% of people now know that all fuels that burn can produce carbon monoxide - up from 38% this time last year

New research has shown that 1.2 million adults are at risk of carbon monoxide because they don't have a carbon monoxide alarm in their homes. The research also found that over 100,000 people over the age of 65 and living alone are at risk because they don't have an alarm. The results of the research were announced by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Alex White, T.D., at an official launch to mark Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, which takes place next week from the 21st September to 27th September.

The research also identified that of those who don't have a CO alarm 43% don't know where to buy one and this rises to 60% in people under 35 years of age. Installing an audible CO alarm is important for added protection and peace of mind.

Now in its fourth year, Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and the advertising campaigns running throughout the year have delivered a higher level of awareness of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide. 54% of people now know that all fuels that burn can produce carbon monoxide - up from 38% in 2014.

Exposure to CO can cause illness and even death. CO can kill in three minutes and each year claims the lives of six people in Ireland. Carbon monoxide can occur when any fossil fuel is burned including oil, gas, peat, turf, wood & wood pellets, petrol, diesel and coal.

There are a number of preventative measures that can be put in place to reduce this risk of CO poisoning and they include getting fuel burning appliances serviced annually by a registered gas installer, oil technician or qualified service technician for your fuel type. However, this research has shown that many people are not doing so, with four in ten (39%) not having their boiler serviced in two or more years, 45% not having had fuel burning appliances (such as gas or LPG fires and heaters, solid fuel stoves and ranges, etc) serviced in two or more years and 32% not having had their chimney swept in two or more years.

Speaking at the launch of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2015, Minister White said,

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week addresses the regrettable fact that, notwithstanding previous safety campaigns, we continue to see terrible tragedies as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is officially autumn now, and people will be switching on boilers that haven’t operated for six months, lighting fires and closing windows – all things which potentially increase risk. This colourless and odourless gas is highly dangerous and I would urge people to take the simple preventative actions and install an audible alarm so they can rest assured knowing that they and their families are protected.

Also speaking at the event, Paul McGowan, Commissioner at the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), said,

The aim of this awareness campaign is to highlight the fact that carbon monoxide (CO) can, and does, kill. It is colourless, odourless and hard to detect, and it can kill in less than three minutes.

This is the fourth year that Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week has been held after being established in 2012. It is a public safety initiative supported by organisations across the energy sector and related industries, safety and public health bodies including the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), Gas Networks Ireland, Register of Gas Installers of Ireland (RGII), Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC), National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), Irish Liquid Petroleum Gas Association (ILPGA), EI Electronics, Bord na Móna and all of the major energy retailers.

Further information on Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is available on www.carbonmonoxide.ie.

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