CASES of potentially-deadly carbon monoxide being present in homes across the region are on the increase.

And it's believed the cost-of-living crisis could be a factor behind the rise, as people ditch annual appliance services and safety checks in a bid to save cash.

Northern Gas Networks says the number of confirmed or suspected cases of carbon monoxide, or CO, in properties in Yorkshire which have led to emergency callouts has soared by nearly 40 per cent since 2021 – from 1,205 to 1,658 last year.

Laura Ratcliffe, for the company, describes the data as "worrying".

"It shows just how many more cases of CO have been suspected or confirmed by our emergency engineers since the cost-of-living crisis hit," she says.

"This could be attributed to people's increasingly stretched finances, with many sacrificing regular servicing of carbon-burning appliances, chimney sweeps and basic home safety to cover other rising costs.

"We understand that households are stretched financially, but ensuring your home is safe should be a priority. It's so important to have an audible CO alarm installed in your property and to take the time to regularly check it's working properly. By making basic safety checks part of your regular household routine, you will help to protect yourself and others from carbon monoxide. It could save your life.

"CO alarms are widely available at a cost of around £15. If you are struggling to afford an alarm, or keep up with home safety measures, contact your local advice service to find out what help's available."

Research commissioned by Northern Gas Networks has shown that 21 per cent of people in Yorkshire don't have a CO alarm in their property, while 19 per cent said they would do nothing if they heard their alarm beeping.

Signs of CO poisoning can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse or loss of consciousness.

Anyone who believes they may be affected should immediately turn off the appliance they suspect might be the cause, open windows and doors, leave the building, seek medical advice and call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111999.

In addition to ensuring CO alarms are installed, tips for householders include get your gas boiler serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer, and look out for signs of danger from gas fires and cookers including 'lazy' yellow and orange flames and black sooting around the appliance.

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