NIFRS and HSENI silent killer co-operation agreementNorthern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) and the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) have signed an important co-operation agreement to help safeguard the public from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The “Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU) will see NIFRS and HSENI working in partnership to provide carbon monoxide safety advice to the public and to raise awareness of the risks and causes of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Dale Ashford, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said: "This formal agreement with HSENI will enable both our organisations to build upon an already strong relationship to help educate and protect the public from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and will also enhance our operational response to these types of incidents.

"As part of this agreement our Firefighters will be able to provide carbon monoxide safety advice to the public when carrying out Free Home Fire Safety Checks. This collaborative approach means that not only will firefighters check your home to make it fire safe,  they will also provide you with advice to help reduce a build-up of carbon monoxide in your home helping keep you and your family safe from this ‘silent killer’."

Further reading: 'Less than half of students know the symptoms of CO poisoning, survey shows'

Through the Carbon Monoxide Safety Group, both organisations will share skills and expertise in this area, working alongside other industry partners and charities, to ensure a cohesive and joined-up approach to carbon monoxide safety and education in Northern Ireland.

Keith Morrison, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland added: HSENI and NIFRS recognise that it is crucial for us to raise awareness of the potential dangers from carbon monoxide.  Today’s agreement builds upon the work both organisations already do to promote key messages and advice in tackling the dangers. It also underlines the importance of forging partnerships between organisations to help keep our community safe - together we can achieve much more than either organisation could achieve on its own.

"Exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal and even low level exposure can cause long-term damage to your health. The best way to protect yourself and others against this ‘silent killer’ is to make sure all fuel burning appliances are serviced at least annually by a registered engineer who has the correct qualifications and competence for the work they are carrying out.  In addition, chimneys and flues should be inspected annually and swept, if required, by a registered technician.  As an added back-up precaution, an audible carbon monoxide alarm should be installed."

Gis A Hug raises CO awareness
Installers in Northern Ireland have also been buying thousands of FireAngel carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in support of manufacturer, Sprue Safety Products’ campaign with the Gis A Hug Foundation to keep more people safe from the dangers of the 'silent killer'.

Sprue is donating one carbon monoxide alarm to Gis A Hug for every 20 FireAngel CO-9XT alarms sold from wholesalers and merchants who have signed up to the campaign. So far, participating stockists across the region have sold thousands of alarms, which will see hundreds more CO-9XTs donated to groups supported by the charity.

“The Gis A Hug Foundation does a tremendous job in raising awareness of carbon monoxide and has already provided thousands of CO alarms to the elderly, students and other vulnerable groups,” said Brian Trueman, Sprue’s area specification manager for Scotland and Ireland.

“It’s great to see so many wholesalers and installers in Northern Ireland responding to the charity’s call. Their support throughout this campaign will boost donations to protect more people. Progress is being made with tougher regulations on CO now in place in Northern Ireland and heating engineers can make a real difference as part of their job by ensuring people understand the dangers and take the right action to stay safe.”