Carbon monoxide safety: Position statement

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is committed to making people safer in their homes using the skills, knowledge, and experience of the Fire & Rescue Service (FRS).

People likely to be affected by Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning share many of the characteristics of those most likely to experience a fire in the home.

NFCC recognise that although many organisations collect information relevant to CO safety, there is an incomplete picture of CO risk, exposure, and response in the UK.

NFCC recognise that FRSs may be able to contribute to the collection of  relevant CO data to aid further understanding of the exposure risks.

NFCC recognise that regulation and standards relating to CO safety are not always clear, consistent, and supportive of improved CO safety.

Some FRSs provide CO alarms as well as smoke, and heat alarms during home fire safety checks/visits. NFCC supports FRSs who install CO alarms as part of its person-centred framework approach to a holistic home safety solution.

NFCC will:

  • Encourage FRSs to consider CO safety and advice as part of its Person-Centered Framework
  • Promote consistent CO safety messages to the public and partners that takes account of the level of risk and promotes safety.
  • Promote the fitting of CO alarms in all rooms with fuel burning appliances (whether solid, liquid or gas fuel) in all property
  • Assist with the national collection of CO incident data by encouraging FRSs to ensure staff are trained and equipped to identify and collect CO data; and to share data on the CO incidents they attend including (where possible):
  • Information on where CO alarms were fitted.
  • Information on their effectiveness in raising the alarm.
  • Categories of CO incident information according to whether they were a false alarm, CO incident no injury, CO incident injury, CO incident fatal.
  • Record the source of the CO and any potential exposure levels, to aid health partners and research organisations more easily identify CO exposure.
  • Work with the fire industry, interested parties and suppliers such as the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG), Co Research Trust, Gas Safety Register, National Association of Chimney Sweeps and the Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring (CoGDEM) to:
  • Promote the inclusion of CO alarms in home safety systems, integration with other alarm types, reduce costs, and increase connectivity between systems/devices.
  • Promote education and training for the public and staff to have increased awareness of CO causes, risks, and safety measures.
  • Increase the use of sealed for life battery CO alarms that replace the detection element when batteries are replaced.
  • Increase the use of CO alarms with easily available CO concentration information at the point of exposure to aid CO poisoning diagnosis.
  • Incorporate this position into all NFCC work and lobby for CO safety to be reflected in all relevant standards, regulation, and guidance.