As news emerged that almost 1,500 homes across the North East have been found not to be gas safe, Alex Cunningham has added his support to a campaign to raise awareness and improve preventive measures that will boost protection from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Stockton North MP, who previously worked in the gas industry, heard from charity Gas Safe in Westminster how at least 40 people each year die of carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK while a further 4,000 are admitted to A&E for treatment.
The Labour MP also heard how a lack of awareness has led to Britons on holiday abroad also succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning, with the tragic case of two children recently poisoned in Corfu drawing attention to the importance of being carbon monoxide aware – even when on holiday.
A Gas Safe report to MPs showed that inspections by the Gas Safe Register found defects classified as “at risk” or “immediately dangerous” in 1,451 homes in the North East area.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. The work that Gas Safe is undertaking is very important and I hope that, in particular, people and local agencies who work with vulnerable people – and those who may be at risk – will support their Think CO project and make our homes safer.
“Having worked in the gas industry for many years, I have seen first-hand the devastating consequences of dangerous gas work. Carbon monoxide poisoning is an avoidable tragedy that unnecessarily afflicts thousands of people across the UK each year. It is a highly poisonous gas. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it, but it can kill quickly with no warning.
“By taking proper care of gas appliances, people are also taking care of their homes and their loved ones, and I strongly encourage residents across the Stockton borough to follow the simple checks that could save lives.”
Chairman of Gas Safe, Gordon Lishman, said: “Gas Safe supports a wide-reaching programme of practical work to help the people who are most at risk, from grants to educational programmes in schools. We are working to make people more aware of the threat to their lives.”