Firefighters Called Out After Carbon Monoxide Alarm Activates, Formby

Firefighters were called to a house after a Carbon Monoxide alarm activated.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service was called at 8.52pm on Wednesday, January 16, to Harrington Road, Formby.

Watch Manager Matt Scott, who is based at Formby Community Fire Station and attended the call-out, said “The Carbon Monoxide alarm at the property had activated. When we arrived our own Carbon Monoxide equipment, ToxiRAE monitors which are carried on all fire engines in Merseyside, showed low levels of the dangerous gas in the property. We isolated the boiler by turning it off at the electrical switch, ventilated the property and requested a gas engineer.

“We advised the occupier of the property to leave the building until the arrival of an engineer. We also gave home fire safety advice while at the property. We advise that people have Carbon Monoxide alarms in their properties and that their gas appliances are checked annually by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.”   Firefighters carried out a Home Fire Safety Check while at the property. Transco isolated the gas supply to the property and provided electric fans for heating for the occupier to use.

The occupier was also advised to get another gas engineer to visit the property for replacement or repair of the boiler.   An appliance from Formby Community Fire Station attended the call-out.   Fire appliances in Merseyside are taking part in a new project to highlight the threat of Carbon Monoxide to homes across the area.

The new awareness campaign by the Gas Safe Register sees six appliances across Merseyside carrying messages raising awareness of the risks of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning and encouraging the public to have their gas appliances safety checked annually.   The new awareness campaign imagery for the fire appliances was unveiled at the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service headquarters after the first of the six appliances had the paintwork completed in January.

The Gas Safe Register has developed a number of tools including a web gas map tool which will inform consumers about gas safety statistics in their postcode area and offer an email reminder for when appliances should be safety checked.

Carbon Monoxide is known as the Silent Killer.

You can’t see it, taste it or smell it and it can kill quickly with no warning. Every year the Silent Killer attacks over 4,000 people in the UK.   All frontline fire engines in Merseyside are already equipped with ToxiRAE monitors, which are worn by firefighters and can detect dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide at locations visited by them either responding to incidents or while carrying out Home Fire Safety Checks.   Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is the only Fire and Rescue Service in the UK to carry the Gas Safe awareness campaign imagery.

The adverts see the hard-hitting words “4,000 victims. One silent killer” along with the website address where people can learn more about Carbon Monoxide.   Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are registered to work safely and legally on gas appliances. By law, all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register, which replaced CORGI registration in 2009.  As part of the new awareness initiative, Gas Safe Register has also developed a short film informing the viewer of the risks of Carbon Monoxide poisoning; the target audience range from people who know very little about CO or gas safety to those that do and don’t see it as a priority.

Is there a Silent Killer in your home? Visit to find out how safe your home is. Enter your postcode to find a Gas Map showing gas risks in your area plus top tips to keep you safe.   You can find out more about gas safety in your home, how to find a registered engineer in your area, and how to check that they are qualified to work on your gas appliances, at or call 0800 408 5500.   Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service firefighters visited 22,182 properties in Merseyside with Carbon Monoxide detectors as part of the Liverpool John Moores University research. In phase two of the study, which started in November 2011, houses were randomly selected for more in depth research. Data loggers took Carbon Monoxide (CO) readings a number of times each day recording the levels inside the properties during a period ranging from three days to up to six weeks at some properties.

Out of the 109 houses in Liverpool where data loggers recorded information, all of the properties measured maximum readings of greater than zero parts per million of CO. 32 of these had maximum readings of less than 10 parts per million, 53 with readings less than 50ppm but greater than 10ppm and 24 properties with levels of greater than 50ppm. Of the 22,182 properties visited by firefighters in Merseyside, 9.8% had a CO alarm installed.   The Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring (CoGDEM) provided the Fire Services with the data loggers and supplied CO detectors for households in the study. Funding for the project was obtained from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health. The study followed on from the work on social determinates for health inequalities by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, was split into two sections.   The study is thought to be the largest of its kind in the UK.

When the results of the study were released, Dr Andrew Shaw, lead academic on the study for Liverpool John Moores University’s Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute, said: “At levels of 50 parts per million you would be having symptoms such as headaches, tiredness and drowsiness. At 50 parts per million the Carbon Monoxide (CO) is starting to suffocate you without you knowing it. “It takes four to six hours for Carbon Monoxide to leave your system. It is very stubborn. It does not like leaving your blood. “According to the Health Protection Agency you would be feeling the effects of Carbon Monoxide if you were exposed to CO at 10 parts per million for eight hours and 50 parts per million for 30 minutes.”

At levels of between 400 to 600 Carbon Monoxide parts per million you could lose consciousness and vomit.   Coventry City Council also took part in the study. The research results were released in May last year (2012).

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