What every University student needs to ask their landlord

Is your student son or daughter renting private accommodation when they head back to University this month?

If they are, do they know how to protect themselves from the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas which cannot be seen, tasted or smelt. According to the NHS, it kills 50 people a year in England and Wales and causes a further 4,000 people to be hospitalised. However, this is thought to be much higher as there are no post-mortem checks for CO as a cause of death.

New research from Gas Safe Register shows that 1 in 5 people are unaware that carbon monoxide cannot be seen in a room, and 2 in 5 have no idea that the gas is odourless.

Around 1.1 million gas jobs are carried out every year by illegal gas fitters who are not properly qualified, putting householders at risk. And 84% of UK homes have smoke detectors but only around 15% have CO alarms.

Poster showing the six signs of carbon monoxide poisoning

Click image to see a larger version

Tips & Advice

Below are our simple tips and advice for students to help keep them gas safe:

  • Did you know that your landlord is legally responsible for your gas safety? Under The Gas Safety Regulations 1998, your landlord must arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to visit the property every 12 months to carry out a gas safety check; read more in the tenant guide to gas safety;
  • Your landlord must give you a copy of the gas safety record before you move in to your student accommodation and within 28 days of the annual check taking place;
  • Your landlord must maintain the gas appliances, gas pipework and flues in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
  • Check your accommodation has an audible carbon monoxide alarm. If it hasn’t, ask your landlord to provide one or consider buying one from a DIY store or supermarket;
  • Know the six main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness;
  • Other signs to look out for include: soot or staining on or around your gas appliance, excessive condensation in the room; lazy yellow flames instead of sharp blue ones, a pilot light that keeps going out;

What to do if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak

  • Turn the appliance off
  • Ventilate the room
  • Let your landlord know
  • Call the Gas Emergency Service 24 hours number 0800 111 999
  • Go to your GP or nearest A&E department if you are experiencing carbon monoxide symptoms.

 

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