FIRE reports from today's Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week launch seminar from the House of Lords, where speakers urged politicians to do more to protect the public from the silent killer.

Lynn Griffiths, President of Carbon Monoxide Awareness, and a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning herself, told attendees at the House of Lords launch: "Carbon monoxide poisoning is not necessarily the first thing that someone visiting someone in their home will think of when presented with even a classic case. We know from contact with surviving victims and bereaved relatives that all too often people receive poor advice, investigation and treatment after their encounter with carbon monoxide.

"Unless we do something to improve the overall awareness, cases of exposure to this common and potentially deadly poison will continue to be poorly recognised, particularly in the initial stages, and the tragedy of avoidable illness and deaths will continue."

Dr Ed Walker, a medical advisor for the charity, said: "Carbon monoxide is unique among poisons. It is lethal even in small amounts, yet is commonly found in homes and workplaces all over the world. As a society we are probably less aware of its dangers than we were 50 years ago, and unless that changes people will continue to die and be severely disabled."

Pointing to the good example of fire and rescue services, charity chair Tony Brunton called for training to be compulsory for everyone involved with carbon monoxide, including medical professionals. "Something is wrong when we're doing all that we are and doctors are sending people back to that deadly environment," he said, pointing to the tragic case of a couple who had visited their A&E department before dying in each other's arms hours later.

In a reprisal of emergency services' reframing of road traffic 'accidents' to 'collisions' he said the charity from now on would not refer to any occurrence of carbon monoxide poisoning as 'accidental' - "as they are all preventable" - referring to them as 'incidents'.

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Posted November 21st, 2011 at 1620 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: