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Carbon monoxide poisoning caused by faulty gas appliances results in around 30 people dying each year. Excess carbon monoxide is produced when gas does not burn properly. Carbon monoxide is toxic. It is also tasteless, invisible and odourless which makes detection difficult. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
Poisoning can arise as a result of several factors including:
There are a number of steps that you can take to reduce the risk of poisoning. If you think that the appliance is not working properly (for example if you see soot stains around the appliance or orange/yellow flames or if the pilot light keeps going out) DON'T USE THE APPLIANCE. DO NOT cover an appliance or its vents, grilles or air bricks. DO NOT cover outside flues.
If you are worried that a gas appliance is unsafe or you suspect a gas leak, stop using the appliance immediately, turn off the gas supply, ventilate the room and contact National Grid UK on 0800 111999. Do not operate any electrical items or lights.
The landlord has a legal responsibility to ensure that all gas appliances they own in a rented property are maintained in good order and are checked for safety at least every 12 months. They must ensure that they keep a record of the safety check, usually in the form of a gas safety certificate, and issue a copy of it to the tenant before or when they take up residence. An existing tenant should expect to receive a copy of a new certificate within 28 days of issue.
Ask your landlord to provide you with a copy. You must ensure that the details provided are correct, that the correct number of appliances have been tested, that all appliances are safe for use, that the certificate is current (certificates are valid for a year from the date of testing). Ensure that the inspection has been conducted by a GasSafe engineer (formerly known as CORGI). The engineer's GasSafe Registration Number must be on the Gas Safety Certificate. If you are unsure if the engineer is registered, ask to see a current registration certificate or ID card. Alternatively you can contact GasSafe on 0800 408 5500 or go to www.gassaferegister.co.uk to check the validity of the issuing engineer's GasSafe Registration Number.
Write to your landlord requesting a copy of the current certificate, stating that you wish to receive it within 7-10 days from the date of the letter. If all attempts fail call the Health and Safety Executive advice line on 0845 345 0055 or Portsmouth City Council Housing Standards on 02392 688369.
All furniture and furnishings supplied by a landlord, whether old or new, should comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. All furniture whether second hand or new should have an appropriate label. Furniture produced before 1950 is exempt from the regulations.
Articles covered by the regulations are:
The regulations do not apply to:
There are two types of labels: permanent and display. Furnishings bought after 1 March 1990 should have attached labels.
If you are concerned about an item of furniture in your house or want further advice, please contact Portsmouth City Council Trading Standards on 023 9284 1295, on 023 9284 1295 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The landlord is responsible for maintaining the installation for electricity supply, including electrical sockets and wiring. Accidents with electricity are rare but it is important that you do the following:
Danger signs include:
If it becomes necessary for you to change a fuse in an electrical appliance, always make sure that you use the correct amp use.
For further information regarding electrical safety please contact Southern Electric on 0845 7444 555 or your local supplier. Alternatively, please visit the Electrical Safety Council at www.esc.org.uk.