Calls for carbon monoxide alarms in new-build houses

A carbon monoxide alarm

Carbon monoxide is not detectable by sight or smell

Campaigners are lobbying the Welsh government to amend building regulations to ensure carbon monoxide alarms are installed in new homes.

The Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed group say only 38% of homes in Wales own a carbon monoxide alarm.

As well as new-build regulations, it wants landlords to be forced to provide alarms in properties as part of annual gas safety inspections.

The Welsh government has been asked to comment.

Members of the group will meet assembly ministers at the Senedd at an event hosted by Islwyn AM Gwyn Price.

Campaign spokeswoman, Christine McGourty, said: “There are two simple steps we’d like the Welsh Government to take.

“Firstly, building regulations should be amended so that new homes come with alarms already installed.

“Secondly, providing an alarm should be part of a landlord’s annual gas safety inspection.”

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Believe me, spending £20 on an alarm is worth it – it can protect you and your family from permanent brain damage and it might save your lives”

End Quote Adele Forbes Lost her son to carbon monoxide

Attending the event will be Adele Forbes, from Blackwood, in Caerphilly county, who lost her five-year-old son McCauley and her grandparents in 2005 to carbon monoxide poisoning.

McCauley Thomas, five, had been staying with Patrick Chidgey, 71, and his wife Gloria, 68, at Pontllanfraith, near Blackwood, in October 2005.

A Newport inquest heard carbon monoxide had built up in the house because of a blocked chimney from a coal fire.

An investigation showed the chimney had not been swept and the boiler not been serviced for “some time”.

McCauley Thomas died six years ago McCauley Thomas died six years ago

Ms Forbes said: “We hadn’t got round to putting an alarm into our home, and I now have to live with that forever.

“Too many lives are lost or harmed each year because people don’t realise the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“I want every parent in Wales to buy a carbon monoxide alarm this week.

“Believe me, spending £20 on an alarm is worth it – it can protect you and your family from permanent brain damage and it might save your lives.”

Gwyn Price AM said he hoped the event would be a “significant first step to achieving the campaigns objectives, here in Wales”.

The campaign group claims 1.8m people in Wales are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning because they do not have an alarm.

It says research shows 74% of people are unaware that carbon monoxide – which has no colour, taste or smell – can kill, and only 15% realise it can cause brain damage.