July 24: Thanks for raising awareness of carbon monoxide threat

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From: Stephanie Trotter OBE, President & Director of CO-Gas Safety, Isle of Wight.

THANK you for Tom Richmond’s excellent article (The Yorkshire Post, July 18). We loved the passion in it. The Yorkshire Post is to be congratulated for its commitment to trying to raise awareness about carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning over the years. We are very grateful to the paper.

I have checked with the House of Commons and tourism comes under the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, so that’s why Tracey Crouch MP as Minister was chosen to respond. It would have been better if that had been made clear during the debate.

I am a barrister (not practising as such at the moment) and have run the charity as a full-time volunteer since 1995 supported by other voluntary directors, mainly victims, with some MPs and one industry member, Jonathan Kane of Kane International which makes flue gas analysers. CO-Gas Safety is an independent registered charity committed to working to prevent deaths and injuries from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning from all fuels.

We did what we could to provide victim support for the Corfu family and they have fought incredibly hard and well. We thought Mary Creagh MP was excellent at the debate at the House of Commons last week. We have written to her to congratulate her and we have also written to all the other speakers.

We have recorded 677 deaths and over 4,700 near misses/injuries since September 1, 1995, and have 19 years of data. By the end of August 2015, we will have 20 years of data. We check deaths with Coroners and most now help us.

Our data has been validated twice by an independent statistician and inspected by Public Health England.

Within a few weeks of starting and talking to the families and victims, we learned that most people don’t know about CO and even if they do, they don’t know how to prevent their loved ones or themselves dying or being injured by CO. We have been lobbying for a sustained campaign of prime time TV warnings since 1995.

This should cover all fuels (gas to wood), all appliances (boilers to barbecues) and all accommodation/scenarios (houses to holidays on boats).

Quite apart from the unnecessary suffering and human tragedy, so much money is wasted by the NHS because medics too often simply don’t think about poisoning by CO and the other products of combustion.