Wise up to the dangers of carbon monoxide

Plumb Center and Parts Center have launched ‘Wise Up to CO’, a new initiative to raise more awareness about the fatal effects of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

The initiative focuses on how installers can detect CO and prevent CO poisoning, as well as how to maintain the products which monitor it.

It is being run in partnership with Gas Safe Register, Testo, Honeywell, Anton, Fire Angel, TPI and Kane, and will take place in over 500 Plumb Center and Parts Center branches nationwide throughout March.

The focus in branches will be to inform and educate about CO poisoning so that installers can confidently and competently communicate to their customers how to detect and prevent a gas that can kill quickly without warning, due to the fact you cannot see, taste or smell it.

One key message for the installer to pass on to the end user is that there is a range of products to detect and prevent CO. Another is that CO doesn’t stem solely from gas appliances, and is produced when any carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal do not burn completely due to insufficient oxygen supply. Therefore, it can occur in any carbon burning appliance, including: gas and oil boilers, gas fires and cookers, coal, wood and oil-burning stoves, gas and oil burning ranges like Agas and gas-fired water heaters.

Installers will also be advised on the benefits that tackling CO can bring to their business. After 1 April, Gas Safe Registered engineers without a valid CPA1 certificate will not legally be able to work on central heating boilers or space heaters.

Obtaining CPA1 Certification and getting trained in the use of a combustion gas analyser, then using it for every installation and maintenance visit, will help to prevent and detect the escape of any CO. This will help installers win contracts as no CPA1 means no licence to operate. It will also help to enhance an installer’s reputation through referrals, but most crucially it will save lives.

Plumb Center’s sales and marketing director, Alan Stevenson, said: “Fitting CO detectors for every carbon-burning device in every home and building is vital in preventing needless deaths. Therefore it is crucial that installers have the knowledge to educate and inform their customers on how to ensure all appliances are tested regularly and maintained. We have an important part to play in helping installers reach the level of competence demanded; which is why we are launching the Wise Up to CO initiative.”

During March, a number of gas inspectors and manufacturers will visit as many branches as possible to educate branch staff and installers about CO. Installers will also be able to take advantage of a whole range of special offers including the launch of Kane’s latest high-range, hand-held CO monitor, exclusive to Plumb Center and Parts Center. It has an audible alarm, a belt clip and will be available for £138.22, excl-VAT, throughout March.

Wise Up to CO is the first initiative where the leading manufacturers of CO alarms and a merchant have come together to support the installer. Gas Safe Register’s marketing and communications director, Nick Terry, said: “Wise Up to CO is a life-saving initiative that will deliver practical advice to installers on how to prevent needless deaths from CO poisoning. Bridging the gap between manufacturer expertise and the installer needs to become the norm across the entire industry.”