CO-Awareness, established in 2005 is a registered UK charity, founded by Lynn Griffiths a widow and single mum, whose own direct experience began over 20 years ago after her entire family was poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO). The charity’s mission to provide information on the dangers of CO poisoning and to support victims and their families who have been killed or are suffering long term health effects of the problem, remains Lynn’s key objective.
“I can speak from personal experience,” says Lynn. “My children and I were chronically poisoned by carbon monoxide for over a decade. We know only too well the devastating effects this silent killer can have on family life. I believe with the support of Housing Association’s, Council's, Builders, Architects, Landlords, Registered Engineers, PCT's, Hospitals, Paramedic's, GP's, Nurses, Health Visitors, Fire and Rescue, Local and National Press, TV and Radio we can stamp out this silent killer, raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and prevent others from going through the same feelings of isolation, frustration, anger and grief that my family have."
Known as the ‘silent killer’, CO can be produced by a number of combustion products not burning correctly; these include coal, wood or oil as well as the more widely recognised gas. CO has no taste, colour or odour; it can, depending on the levels inhaled, cause permanent damage to major organs and even kill within a few breaths.
Knowledge is the key to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. In most cases of accidental poisoning, victims don't realise that CO was being produced or building up in the air they were breathing. Everyone needs to know about the dangers of CO and how to protect themselves from this silent killer. Older people, those with heart, lung problems, pregnant mothers, unborn babies, and young children are all particularly vulnerable to CO dangers.
CO poisoning needs to be taken more seriously by the general public, health care services (including testing at post-mortems) and industry. CO-awareness should be included as a National Curriculum key life skill to avoid deaths in young people.
CO-Awareness’s Four essential steps to improving the public’s CO poisoning awareness
- Put it in the school curriculum. Knowledgeable children are far more able to make adults do things than any other sector of society. By teaching children about the dangers of the modern world we increase their potential to be safe and enable them to carry home the message to their families and friends.
- Improve information and equipment to the medical profession. Emergency services and Accident & Emergency Department staff all acknowledge the benefits of non invasive diagnostic equipment and up to date information for rapid on site diagnosis. Aggressive multi-system presentation for which CO poisoning is the only tenable unifying diagnosis* can be confirmed immediately by the use of breath analysis or Pulse CO Oximetry.
- Create an information and advice resource for Solicitors and victims. Many victims fail to obtain proof of their condition or compensation for poisoning as they cannot afford to employ expensive legal and expert witness staff to collect evidence and fight the case.
- Ensure that all installation and servicing is carried out by competent operatives. Only one fuel (gas) requires the installer/service operative to prove competence to work safely and proper training has been replaced by modular academically based short courses. This means that many installer/service operatives in all three fuels lack the experience to recognise potential problem areas. All fitters and servicing personel must know what they are doing and have the incentives to do the work properly.
CO-Awareness is calling for medical practitioners and others across a range of disciplines to raise awareness and provide ongoing help and support to victims. Groups to be targeted include Housing Associations, landlord’s, Council's, Builders, Architects, Registered Engineers, PCT's, Hospitals, Paramedic's, GP's, Nurses, Health Visitors, Emergency Services, and schools services to educate young people about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide.
CO-Awareness is a registered charity: For details visit: www.covictim.org
The charity provides information on the dangers of CO poisoning and supports victims and their families who have been killed by or are suffering the long term health effects of the problem. We are keen to work with as many organisations as possible.
For further information contact:
Lynn Griffiths, President, CO-Awareness, Tel: 07715 899296, Email:LynnCoAwareness@aol.com
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