Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week

MEDIA RELEASE 

29 APRIL 2019

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (29 April – 5 May 2019) is an annual national event run by the Chase and Tyler Foundation raising awareness of fuel-burning appliance safety across Australia reducing illness, injury and death by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

This year, the foundation is partnering with Kidsafe Victoria and the Monash Children’s Hospital for the launch of the 2019 Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. The launch, held on Monday 29 April, located at the Monash Children’s Hospital.

This is a free public event held from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, where the public will learn about gas and fuel-burning appliance safety and carbon monoxide poisoning prevention. There will be free show bags and carbon monoxide alarms given away on the day, as well as the Metropolitan Fire Brigade who will be in attendance giving families and children the chance to meet firefighters and see the fire engines up close.

We will have a variety of gas appliances displayed by Energy Safe Victoria at the event to inform community members that all gas and fuel-burning appliances are a risk of spilling carbon monoxide, if not serviced regularly or used within the manufacturer’s guidelines. Qualified gasfitters will also be on site to provide technical advice.

The Chase and Tyler Foundation’s Founder and Executive Director, Vanessa Robinson said “With winter fast approaching, we’re encouraging all community members to ensure their gas and fuel-burning appliances have been serviced by a qualified, licensed ‘Type A’ gasfitter within the last 1-2 years to ensure their appliances are safe to use before winter”.

Monash Children’s Hospital Quote

“The symptoms tend to be non-specific and can look like flu or gastro,” said Dr Tobias Van Hest, Emergency Physician at Monash Children’s Hospital. “The most common symptom is headaches, but victims could experience any number of complaints including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, confusion, difficulty breathing, muscle cramps and abdominal pains. Young babies and children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with heart or lung diseases are most at risk.”

Quote from Kidsafe Victoria

Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, highlighted the dangers posed by carbon monoxide and the importance of people being aware of what they can do to reduce the risk in their homes and communities: “Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas with fumes impossible to see, taste or smell. Any appliances that use gas, oil, kerosene, or wood can produce carbon monoxide – operating these appliances in poorly vented or enclosed spaces or where vents, chimney and flue-pipes are blocked can increase the chances of carbon monoxide being produced.”

To learn more about the dangers, symptoms and preventative measures of carbon monoxide poisoning, go to www.chaseandtyler.org.au.

For further information, interviews and images, please contact:

Vanessa Robinson  
Founder and Executive Director
The Chase and Tyler Foundation
P: 0459 484 821
E: info@chaseandtyler.org.au

Kidsafe Victoria
Jason Chambers
General Manager
P: 03 9036 2306
E:  jason@kidsafevic.com.au

Fast Facts

What is carbon monoxide (CO) and who is at risk?

  • CO is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which interferes with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. Resulting in rapid damage to the heart and brain from oxygen starvation causing illness, injury and death.
  • CO is produced in high concentrations by incomplete combustion of various fuel sources such as coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane and natural gas.
  • The most common cause a failure to service and maintain the appliance, which can lead to blocked burners or flue, and inadequate ventilation in the room. Once CO is produced in dangerous levels, it can spill from the appliance and enter your home undetected.
  • All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning, though certain groups such as pregnant women, unborn babies, children, the elderly and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems are more susceptible to its effects.

Symptoms

  • It causes flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, burning eyes, confusion, drowsiness and even loss of consciousness.
  • Not only can CO kill, but prolonged exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can lead to long term chronic health problems. In very severe cases, CO poisoning can result in brain damage and death.

How to stay safe:

  • Gas and fuel-burning appliances are required to be serviced by a type ‘A’ licensed and registered gasfitter every 1-2 years.
  • Check for danger signs that your gas and fuel-burning appliances aren’t working correctly, e.g. lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks/stains on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.
  • Have your gas and fuel-burning appliance serviced every1-2 years by a Type ‘A’ licensed and registered gasfitter
  • Make sure the gasfitter you choose uses a carbon monoxide analyser
  • Never use kitchen or bathroom extraction fans while operating an open-flued gas heater
  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm as a secondary line of defence
  • Ensure all flues, vents and chimneys are unblocked and functioning properly
  • Do not bring outdoor gas and fuel-burning appliances indoors or within confined spaces

About the Chase and Tyler Foundation

The Chase and Tyler Foundation (CTF) is the only not for profit charity within Australia, dedicated to providing a national preventative health and safety effort on domestic gas and fuel-burning appliance safety, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning prevention and energy poverty. We do this by awareness, education, advocacy, research and services to financially disadvantaged community members.

The foundation was established by Vanessa Robinson after her sons, Chase 8 and Tyler 6, died from accidental CO poisoning in May 2010. This was caused by a faulty unserviced gas heater, which spilled deadly carbon monoxide into their rental property, killing Chase and Tyler and severely injuring Vanessa.

The accident highlighted not only a lack of knowledge about gas and fuel-burning appliance safety and CO poisoning by the Australian community but also within government, industry and emergency services.

Since the CTF’s inception, we’ve been critical in raising the level of awareness across Australia making a real difference in community health and safety.