Homes across the West Midlands will now enjoy life saving protection, thanks to new laws for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
The new legislation means that in England all landlords now have to provide a Carbon Monoxide alarm in their properties. The legal changes follow years of campaigning from the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group, which includes fourteen MPs and two members of the House of Lords, together representing five political parties.
But Carbon Monoxide campaigners say they’re still very concerned about safety, as following the energy price hike, people are desperate to keep household costs down and may be tempted to cut corners when trying to keep warm. Fatalities can be caused by using outdoor heaters or cooking equipment indoors, trying to self-service appliances, or using cookers for heat.
Campaigners are also concerned that people will put off having their gas and fuel burning appliances serviced as they simply can’t afford it. This makes it even more important for homes to have carbon monoxide alarms this winter.
The warnings come during the Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week campaign – still on until 27 November - to raise awareness of the risks of carbon monoxide and what can be done about it. Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week is the leading annual campaign for carbon monoxide safety, enjoying support from MPs, peers, charities, government bodies and departments, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the Royal College of Nursing and many healthcare and education providers.
Although most homes already have smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms are far less common. The English Housing Survey reported that more than half the dwellings in England (54%) do not have any carbon monoxide alarms at all.
Experts say indoors there is limited air flow, and carbon monoxide can build up to deadly levels very quickly. Lots of people are still not sure what carbon monoxide is and may be putting themselves in danger without knowing it.
With the winter months approaching along with spiralling energy prices, the group are concerned that cash strapped families are at increasing risk of putting themselves and their loved ones in danger.
Barry Sheerman MP, the co-chair of the All-Party Group welcomes the new laws: “By making carbon monoxide alarms a legal requirement, governments are sending a strong message – carbon monoxide is seriously harmful.
“If you don’t have an alarm, you need to get one for your home as soon as possible. I urge everyone to join the Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week campaign to raise awareness of the risks of carbon monoxide and what can be done about it.”