Hurstpierpoint Couple Succumb to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Following Power Cut

The violent storms of the last few weeks have left thousands of homes without power.  The recent deaths of a Sussex couple from carbon monoxide poisoning is a warning of what can happen if homeowners use portable generators when their power goes down.  Ken and Dorothy Swallow were found by family members at their Hurstpierpoint home having succumbed to carbon monoxide fumes from a generator left running overnight following a power cut.

Commenting on this tragic incident, Roderick Pettigrew, Chief Executive of B&ES , the Building & Engineering Services Association, said, “When power goes down following a severe storm we urge homeowners to take extra safety precautions if they use a portable generator.  Whilst they can be useful to provide temporary power there is a risk from carbon monoxide poisoning if they are used is an enclosed or poorly ventilated area.  Never run a generator inside your home or even in an attached garage or porch and don’t run them too close to a door or window.

“Remember that with carbon monoxide there are no warning signs – it’s a deadly gas that’s invisible and odorless.   Similarly, do not use kerosene heaters in small or unventilated rooms and never use gas ovens or cookers to provide heat.”

Mr Pettigrew goes on to say that an important defence against carbon monoxide poisoning is to have one or more carbon monoxide alarms fitted.  Widely available to buy online or from DIY and electrical stores and typically costing under £30, they can help detect the presence of carbon monoxide in the home.

B&ES operates the free Carbon Monoxide Helpline – for more advice call the Helpline on 0800 810 8464 or visit their website at: http://www.cohelpline.org .