The registered charity Carbon Monoxide Awareness is looking for volunteers from within the healthcare professions to act as ambassadors who will raise awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning amongst their professional colleagues.
Lynn Griffiths, President of Carbon Monoxide Awareness, said: "Carbon monoxide poisoning is not necessarily the first thing that a doctor or nurse will think of when presented with a classic case. We know from contact with surviving victims and bereaved relatives of people who have died from CO poisoning that all too often people receive poor advice, investigation and treatment after their encounter with carbon monoxide.
"The scientific community's understanding of carbon monoxide toxicity has advanced tremendously over the past decade. Doctors and nurses also know about the subject but unfortunately it isn't always at the forefront of their minds when dealing with early-stage victims.
"Unless we do something to improve the overall state of awareness, cases of exposure to this common and potentially deadly poison will continue to be poorly managed, particularly in the initial stages, and the tragedy of avoidable illness and deaths will continue."
A medical advisor, Dr Ed Walker, said: "Carbon monoxide is unique among poisons. It is lethal and highly toxic 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."
Up to date medical information can be found at www.co-info.blogspot.com.
Lynn told FIRE that it's not only the public who are at risk - we know emergency responders who are exposed to potentially lethal environments when attempting to rescue or resuscitate victims. The first rule of any rescue is that rescuers should not be exposed to unnecessary risk, and we believe it is vital that emergency responders are issued with personal carbon monoxide monitors as a matter of routine.
The charity is inviting GPs, practice managers, nurses, toxicologists, paramedics, Accident and Emergency staff, pharmacists, ophthalmologists, opticians, radiographers, children's specialists and people who care for the elderly to join a group that will meet twice yearly to discuss ways of raising awareness of carbon monoxide amongst professional colleagues.
It is planned to hold the inaugural meeting of the group in the House of Lords in June. Anyone interested in joining the group should contact Lynn Griffiths by email at: LynnCoawareness@aol.com or Lynn@covictim.org Website: www.co-awareness.org or www.covictim.org