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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Advice, Symptoms & Who To Call
What is carbon monoxide (CO)?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This can happen when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked. Solid fuels, such as coal, wood, petrol, as well as oil, can also produce carbon monoxide when they burn.
CO can be deadly and is especially dangerous because you can’t see, taste or smell it, and some symptoms mimic the effects of viruses and even a bad hangover. It’s important to know the physical symptoms of CO poisoning to ensure you seek help quickly.
What are the physical symptoms of CO poisoning?
CO poisoning occurs when you breathe in CO and it replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream, causing body tissue and cells to die. Even small amounts of the gas can cause poisoning, and long term exposure can result in paralysis, brain damage and death.
CO poisoning symptoms are similar to those of flu, food poisoning, viral infections, fatigue, and a hangover which makes it easy to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else.
The six main symptoms to look out for are:
- Loss of consciousness
Anybody who has overdone it on a night out will be familiar with some or all of those symptoms, but if you experience them without drinking it’s time to be concerned. Being aware of these symptoms could save your life.
There are also other signs that could indicate CO poisoning, such as:
- Symptoms occur when you are at home but seem to disappear when you leave.
- Others in your household (including pets) are experiencing similar symptoms at a similar time.
It’s important to know the signs of a carbon monoxide leak in your home, because knowing the signs can ensure you aren’t exposed to dangerous levels of CO for an extended period of time.
What are the signs of a carbon monoxide leak?
Any of the following could be a sign of CO in your home:
- Floppy yellow or orange flame on your gas hob, rather than crisp blue
- Dark, sooty staining on or around gas appliances
- Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- Increased condensation inside windows
If you detect any of these signs, please contact a Gas Safe registered engineer immediately to come and inspect your gas appliances and flues. If you are a Platform rented customer and we are responsible for your repairs, please contact us 0333 200 7304 to report an emergency repair, or - if you think there is an immediate danger - call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999. Once any immediate danger is addressed you will need to contact Platform to arrange for a further inspection and reinstatement of service.
If you are a leaseholder, shared owner or otherwise responsible for your own repairs, you can find engineers who are qualified to investigate the presence of CO on the Check The Register page of the Gas Safe Register website.
What to do if you suspect CO poisoning
- Don’t delay - get fresh air immediately.
- Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house.
- See your doctor immediately or go to hospital. They can do a blood or breath test to check and can advise if you need treatment for CO poisoning.
- If you think there is an immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999 (this number is free from all UK landlines and mobiles)
You can also visit the NHS website for detailed information on the symptoms of CO poisoning, what action to take and the treatment that’s usually provided.
Latest Service Update
During these difficult times we are doing all we can to continue to provide the services you need, when you need them.
Your safety and the safety of our team is our priority and now all of us are spending more time at home, servicing your boilers and checking your gas and electrical supplies are more important than ever, so if you are able please let our team in to carry out these essential works.
If you would prefer us to not attend your home as planned or have any concerns, please talk to us. This short video explains more about what will happen if we need to visit and the safety measures we have in place.
All our offices remain closed, and will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The quickest and easiest way to access our services is via this website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use the new Your Platform customer portal. Find out more here.
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For more information about restrictions, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Reporting An Emergency Repair
If you have an Emergency Repair you can call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on:
0333 200 7304
If you suspect you have a gas leak, you must phone the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 and ensure you are safe before calling us.
Please don't report emergency repairs via email or web-form, as it will mean a delay in us being able to attend and fix the issue for you
Emergency Repairs include:
- Complete loss of electric or exposed bare wires
- Complete loss of water supply or uncontainable major leaks
- Complete loss of heating
- Complete loss of hot water for vulnerable customers
- Making un-secure properties safe
- Lift breakdowns.
- Gas leaks - however, if you suspect you have a gas leak, you must phone the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 and ensure you are safe before calling us.
If you are unsure whether your repair classes as emergency, please call us and a member of our team will be happy to advise you.
Reporting A Non-Emergency Repair
Reporting a repair to Platform is quick and easy, you can:
Customers - Please register to the new Platform Portal facility by clicking here.
Non-Customers - Please fill in the form at the bottom of this page.
Use the 'Live Chat' feature at the bottom right of this website.
Our call centres are open from 8:30am to 5pm.
Before reporting a repair, please make sure that it is not a repair that you are responsible for as this may lead to a recharge. There is a list of repairs that you are responsible for available on this website here.