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
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.