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Fumes safety warning to holidaymakers; Danger message on carbon monoxide.


SCHOOLS are shutting down for the summer and parents are preparing to jet off with their children on holiday.

But before they board the plane, British Gas is urging everyone to educate themselves about the danger of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal - as in the case of 10-year-old Huddersfield boy Dominic Rodgers, who died in February 2004.

Fumes from a neighbour's faulty boiler seeped into the bedroom of his home at Spaines Road in Fartown.

Since then, his mother Stacey has campaigned for better awareness of carbon monoxide dangers.

She is keen for people to have appliances serviced regularly and have carbon monoxide detectors in every home - and in holiday accommodation abroad.

She said: "We want everyone to have alarms too at home and abroad.

"People need to know that this can happen to them."

While people may have gas safety measures in their own homes, it can be something they forget to check in hotels on holiday.

The importance of being aware of the dangers while abroad has been highlighted by the case of Horbury youngsters Christianne and Robert Shepherd, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a hotel room in Corfu in October 2006.

They were on a half-term break when the colourless, odourless gas seeped into their room and fatally poisoned Christianne, seven, and six-year-old Robert.

Their father Neil Shepherd and partner Ruth Beatson fell into comas but recovered.

Two Thomas Cook employees were due to go on trial last month in relation to the deaths, along with 10 Greeks. But the case was adjourned until February 2010.

Chris Bielby, head of safety at British Gas, said: "We want people to have safe, enjoyable holidays. Incidents of CO poisoning are rare but this shouldn't stop families being vigilant.

"A few simple checks on arrival can put minds at rest."

People should: . Check for staining, sooting and discolouration around boilers, fires or water heaters.

. Never dry clothes on electric heaters or block ventilation.

. Buy an audible carbon monoxide alarm and take it abroad and check the travel agent and tour operator's safety credentials.

Companies approved by the Associ-atioof British Travel Agents should have inspection procedures in place for accommodation they use.

Almost 50% of people are unaware of what the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are.

They include headache, tiredness and flu-like illness. If symptoms are worse indoors than outside, carbon monoxide poisoning could be the cause. If you have symptoms, seek immediate medical advice.

Carbon monoxide is inhaled and absorbed into the bloodstream, taking the place of oxygen.

It has a greater effect on children as the smaller the victim, the more quickly the person is overcome by the effects of the gas.

Around 30 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, but even those who survive can suffer lasting neurological damage.


* BE AWARE: Stacey Rodgers (above) with a photo of her son Dominic, and (right) Christianne and Robert Shepherd, who were killed by carbon monoxide at a bungalow apartment in Corfu (above right) in 2006
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Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 15, 2009
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