Whether you own or rent your home, it should be free from gas, fire and electricity faults.
If you are renting, your landlord is responsible for gas, fire and electrical safety. For more information on landlord responsibilities visit: GOV..UK. If you live in a House in Multiple Occupation your landlord has to provide extra fire precautions.
You should have your gas appliances and installations checked annually and only by a 'Gas Safe' engineer. Unsafe gas appliances produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO) and it can occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked. Heaters that burn gas, coal, oil or wood can also give off carbon monoxide if they are not working properly. Carbon monoxide is known as a ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see, taste or smell it. It can cause death as well as serious long term health problems such as brain damage.
So if you or anyone else is experiencing unexplained headaches, nausea, tiredness or confusion, stomach pain, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, please seek professional advice. A headache is the most common symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning and the symptoms can be similar to those experienced from food poisoning and flu. However, unlike flu, carbon monoxide poisoning does not cause a high temperature (fever). Another indication of possible carbon monoxide poisoning are that your symptoms only occur when you are at home, disappear or get better when you leave home and come back when you return home.
For more information about Carbon monoxide poisoning and to find registered 'Gas Safe' engineers in your area visit the Gas Safe Register website.
What to do if you smell gas?
If you smell gas or think you have a gas leak, call National Grid Emergency Service on 0800 111 999. They will advise you on gas safety and can provide an emergency response to make a property safe if there is a gas leak.
If the gas leak is in your home:
- Do not operate any electrical switches, as they may spark.
- Never use your mobile phone in your home if you suspect a gas leak. If you need to use a mobile phone for the emergency call, go outside or to a neighbour’s house
- Do not use any naked flame or smoke a cigarette.
- Turn off the gas at the gas meter.
- Ventilate your property – open doors and windows to help get rid of the gas.
- If the smell of gas is overpowering, evacuate the building.
- If you have evacuated the building, do not go back in, or let anyone else in (other than the person sent to repair the leak) until you have been given the all clear.
- Notify your neighbours if you think they will be affected.
Fire and electrical safety
Following some simple fire safety tips and advice will reduce the risk of a fire in your home.
- Install smoke alarms and test them regularly. These can be cheap to buy and easy to install.
- Take care when cooking. Do not leave young children unattended in the kitchen.
- Keep your kitchen clear of dirt and clutter.
- Do not overload electrical sockets. You can use the Electrical Safety First online Socket Overload Calculator to check.
- Check flexible cables on kettles and other similar appliances for signs fraying, general wear and tear, or a loose plug.
- Turn off any electrical equipment you are not using, especially at night.
- Look out for warning signs such as blowing fuses or a burning smell
- Make sure any electrical works are done by a qualified electrician and meet current building regulations
- Register your white goods - register your appliances with services such as www.registermyappliance.org.uk so you can be notified of faults and recalls from manufacturers.
You can also check whether any appliances have been reported as faulty at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk
For information about registered electricians in your area visit: www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk
To report a power cut or dangerous situation, another power issue or roadwork problem contact UK Power Networks. For power cuts: Text POWER and your postcode to 80876 or call 0800 31 63 105 or 105 (free from a landline or mobile)
Free safety checks
- Arrange a free home fire safety visit from fire officers by calling: 0300 303 0088 or visit: www.essex-fire.gov.uk
- Nominate any gas work you have had completed in the last six months for consideration for a free gas safety inspection to help maintain industry standards. To nominate and for more information visit the Gas Safe Register website.