Carbon Monoxide (CO)... The silent killer

For me as a Chimney Sweep, the issue of CO and it's dangers are extremely important.
The good news is that by installing and maintaining a good quality CO detector in every room that contains a fossil-fuel (Wood, Coal, Oil, Gas) burning appliance - Open fire/Woodburner/Gas Fire/Oil Burner/Boiler - using quality fuel properly and carrying out regular servicing/maintenance of the appliance,
the risk of exposure to Carbon Monoxide can be controlled.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal.
Carbon monoxide can be produced by any combustion appliance, including those that burn fossil fuels e.g. oil, wood and coal. When fuel is not burnt properly excess CO is produced, which is poisonous. When CO enters the body, it stops the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, organs.

You can't see, taste or smell it but CO can kill quickly without warning. According to the HSE statistics each year around 7 people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long period. In extreme cases paralysis and brain damage can be caused as a result of prolonged exposure to CO.

There are signs that you can look out for which indicate incomplete combustion is occurring and may result in the production of CO:
 > yellow or orange rather than blue flames (except fuel effect fires or flueless appliances which display this colour flame)
 > soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
 > pilot lights that frequently blow out
 > increased condensation inside windows
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused with food poisoning, viral infections, flu or simple tiredness and can include:
> headaches or dizziness  > breathlessness  > nausea  > loss of consciousness  > tiredness  > pains in the chest or stomach  > erratic behaviour  > visual problems
Action to take in event of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Presence
Call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999
Switch off the appliance and shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve
Open all doors and windows to ventilate the room
Visit your GP and tell him/her that you believe you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide
If you have one of these appliances you should make sure that it is serviced and maintained by a competent person and the chimney is regularly swept.

And fit a CO (Carbon Monoxide) Detector in each room where there is an appliance/open fire!

Gas Fire Flue obstruction This spider's web in a flue serving a gas fire. VERY DANGEROUS. GAS APPLIANCES REQUIRE ANNUAL CHECK