Gas Safety Information for Students

Signs of a good night out? Or carbon monoxide poisoning?  Knowing the difference could save students' lives

A record number of first year students are expected to take up places at university this year, increasing competition for decent and safe student accommodation. This has prompted warnings from Gas Safe Register, which is advising students to know their tenants' rights and how to recognise danger signs in poor quality accommodation.

Paul Johnston, chief executive at Gas Safe Register says: "Most students are living away from home for the first time and understandably excited about their new student lifestyle.  The last thing on their minds is how safe their student digs are.  But with lack of renting experience, limited budgets and poor quality housing, students are particularly vulnerable to gas dangers. We want to make sure that young people are equipped with the knowledge that could save their lives."

Students should learn to recognise the symptoms of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be very similar to the after effects of a good night out. To help them, Gas Safe Register has created a Student Guide which can be downloaded from its website, www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk/students

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that leaks from faulty gas appliances. You can't see, taste or smell CO, but it can kill quickly and without warning. By law landlords must ensure that all gas appliances in their property are safe to use by having them regularly serviced and maintained.

Knowing your tenants' rights and recognising the signs of CO poisoning could save your life. Follow Gas Safe Register's tips to stay gas safe in student digs.

  1. Recognise the signs of CO poisoning: Headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse or loss of consciousness are all signs of CO poisoning.  If you have these symptoms at home but feel better when are away from your accommodation, CO poisoning could be the cause.  Seek medical help immediately.
  2. Ask for a gas safety record before you move in: You may think your gas appliances are safe, but to prove they've been checked your landlord must give you a copy of the Landlord Gas Safety Record. Gas safety checks must be carried out annually, so make sure this record, sometimes referred to as a landlords certificate, is up to date.
  3. Make sure all gas appliances burn with a crisp blue flame: If the flames on your cooker, boiler or fire are floppy and yellow, this could be a warning sign of CO.
  4. If you think your gas appliances are faulty - turn them off and contact your landlord immediately: Your landlord has a legal duty to ensure all gas appliances provided in their properties are properly maintained and checked.
  5. If an engineer visits your home to check or fit a gas appliance, check their ID card: By law, any engineer working on gas appliances must be on the Gas Safe Register. Check their Gas Safe ID Card to make sure they're registered. Check the back of the card to make sure they are qualified to do the type of work required e.g. cooker, boiler, gas fire.
  6. Fit an audible CO alarm in your home: Get one marked with BS EN 50291. They cost around £20 from DIY stores and supermarkets and you can take them with you from home to home.

For further information and to download our free student fact sheet and guide go to www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk/students or call 0800 408 55 00.