A packed meeting at Glossop Labour Club heard High Peak MP Tom Levitt call for people whose work takes them into other people’s homes to carry audible carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.“CO is a deadly but hidden killer. It is clear that many people suffer from avoidable symptoms but only one home in five has a CO alarm,” he said. “People like meter readers, gas fitters, paramedics, even handy-men and housing officers should carry alarms which detect this poison.
Five people have died in High Peak in recent years from CO poisoning, making it one of the country’s worst ‘hot spots’. The father of a young woman who died six years ago from a badly maintained gas installation, David Worswick of Glossop, told the meeting that every death was avoidable and that people who were not qualified should never be allowed to fit gas installations.
Dr Chris Steele, better known as the ‘ITV Doctor’ for his appearances on the ‘This Morning’ TV show, agreed. He told the meeting that a large proportion of medical problems caused by low levels of CO were never detected. “How many cases of chronic fatigue syndrome or seasonal affected disorder are really low level CO poisoning?” he asked. He noted that doctors and other medical staff were not trained to look for evidence of CO poisoning as the symptoms were often minor and common. People who feel unwell, irritable or nauseous at home but recover when out in the fresh air may well be suffering from low level CO poisoning.The meeting was attended by a wide range of professionals, some of whom had traveled a long distance to attend.
These included senior representatives of British Gas, the Gas Safe Register and manufacturers of alarms. Local representatives attended from the NHS, High Peak Community Housing, Derbyshire Fire Service, the Ambulance Service, Gas Care of Glossop, the Handy Van service and Digital Outreach. Councillors Caitlin Bisknell and Anthony Mckeown from High Peak Borough and David Wilcox from DCC were also present, as were members of the public including people bereaved by CO.
“There was a fantastic level of concern and commitment. National campaign meetings like this have been held which I have attended but this may have been the first local meeting of its kind held anywhere in the country,” said Mr Levitt.
Picture shows (L to R) speakers Dr Chris Steele, Russ Pilkington (of CO-Alarms), Tom Levitt MP and David Worswick