Safety Message for Students

  • 24th November 2014
  • admin

If you’re a student, you’ve already survived fresher’s week, you’ve made new friends and some of you may be getting used to living away from home for the first time.

There’s a lot to consider – studying, travelling, finding your way around a new city, how to make your money stretch, how to hone new skills such as cooking, and how to get your washing done.

It’s no surprise that you are too busy to think about carbon monoxide, and you might also not be aware of the deadly gas and its effects.

Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer for good reason. It’s undetectable to the human senses and less than 2% of CO can kill in between two and three minutes. It is deadly because it starves your body of oxygen.

We were alarmed today to hear about a carbon monoxide scare among students from the University of Reading. Please read the link below:

There’s also a link here to a good student’s guide from the University of Reading:

We’d like to highlight the dangers and ways to protect yourselves.

How to protect yourself:

  •  Check that your accommodation has an audible and working carbon monoxide alarm. If youare in rented accommodation your landlord may provide one or you can buy one yourselffrom DIY stores or supermarkets for as little as £15. See our tips below for buying a COalarm.
  • Ask your landlord for an up-to-date gas safety certificate for the property – your landlordshould make sure all fuel-burning appliances are safety checked and serviced annually by aqualified and registered engineer with the appropriate organisation. For more informationon please see the Gas Safety Register website for lots of useful information.

  • If you are getting any appliances checked, make sure the person doing the maintenance is aGas Safe Register engineer. Don’t be afraid to check his credentials and ask. Check the GasSafe Register for more information:

Know The Signs:

  • Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include nausea, dizziness, tiredness, headaches, loss of balance and forgetfulness. These symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of flu (and hangovers!)
  • Other people in your house, flat or University building could be having similar symptoms.
  • The symptoms disappear when you leave the house or go away on holiday and return when
    you come back.
  • The symptoms may be seasonal. Headaches can appear during the winter when the central heating is turned on.

Other Signs:

  • There may be sooting or staining on or around your appliance.
  • Where the appliance is installed there could be excessive condensation in the room.
  • Flames could be lazy yellow or orange coloured.

What to do:

  • Immediately open doors or windows for ventilation.
  • Call the relevant emergency advice line: Gas Emergency Service (24 hours) 0800 111 999
  • Go to your GP or nearest A & E department, call NHS Direct or, if it is urgent, call 999 for an ambulance.
  • Have all appliances serviced and checked.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.

Tips for buying a Carbon Monoxide alarm:

  • ‘Black Spot’ indicators are not as accurate and will not alert or wake you if there is carbon
    monoxide present.
  • When buying a carbon monoxide alarm, make sure it meets current European safety standards. Look for alarms marked with the ‘EN50291 standard.
  • This may be written as BSEN 50291 or EN50291 together with the ‘CE’ mark, both of which  should be found on the packaging and product. Alarms will have either a ‘Kitemark’ or Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) logo to show independent testing or certification.

Good websites for further information on renting:

Be CO aware, stay safe while you’re studying and living away from home. Being a student is an exciting time of your life, enjoy it, and good luck with your studies!