A survey carried out among Warwick University students searching for new rented accommodation has shown that just 43% of students are aware of the symptoms that could be a sign of potentially fatal carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
The survey was carried out by local home safety products specialist, Sprue Safety Products, at the University’s annual Housing Day, where students looking to move off campus for the next academic year gather information and advice from local housing providers and community groups to help them in their accommodation search.
With no taste or smell, CO is undetectable to the human senses and the University is worried that this could have ‘devastating consequences’ for students.
Organiser of the event, Students’ Union Advice Centre Manager, Amanda Woodfield said: “Looking for accommodation off campus can be a daunting task, especially at a time when many are only just settling into university life and living away from home for the first time. Our Housing Day aims to make that process easier and ensure students are equipped to make an informed, safe choice.”
“Sprue’s involvement this year was hugely valuable in providing essential advice to ensure students know what to ask for from their landlord and understand how to stay safe from any potential sources of carbon monoxide.”
“It also gave us the chance to find out how much students knew about CO and to remind them of the risks and symptoms that could indicate poisoning – a couple had even had personal experience. Although there was a general awareness of CO, the survey clearly highlighted a need for further education, so we hope to run a similar event at the start of the new academic year.”
Often dismissed as flu, food poisoning or a hangover, carbon monoxide poisoning affects around 4,000 people in the UK every year, but it is estimated that one third of a million people suffer from exposure to this poisonous gas in their homes every year unknowingly.
The only way to detect its presence is with an audible carbon monoxide alarm. As a smoke alarm alerts you to fire, a properly placed CO alarm detects the lowest levels early, warning you before the gas becomes life threatening so action can be taken to stay safe.
Sprue Safety Products has produced an installation video to clarify how to fix and locate a CO alarm correctly. This can be seen at: http://youtu.be/6oUoon1GVNg. Further guidance is available in BS EN 50292 and at Sprue Safety Products’ websites: www.sprue.com or www.fireangel.co.uk.