As many as eight million older people are at risk from unsafe gas appliances, with more than 260 over-65s injured by gas appliances every year, according to information from the Gas Safety Register.
It says that half of all gas fireplaces are dangerous and around one in six gas appliances are unsafe.
The official safety body is releasing the information to encourage people to make older relatives more aware of the dangers. The drive also forms part of annual Gas Safety Week (19 – 25 September).
Gas Safety Register research shows older people are half as likely (6%) as other age groups (15%) to have a gas installation or service carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Despite this, only 16% of people speak to their older relatives annually about gas safety, even though one in 10 people aged over 75 have little or no knowledge of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO).
Furthermore, fewer than half (47%) of Britons can recognise CO poisoning symptoms.
Protect against CO poisoning
Only half know the signs of unsafe gas appliances. These include a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame, and soot or staining on or around the appliance. There may also be excess condensation in the room.
CO has no smell, taste or colour, and symptoms can often be confused with other illnesses. These symptoms of poisoning include headaches; dizziness; nausea; breathlessness; collapse and loss of consciousness.
The Gas Safe Register is prompting people to sign up for an annual gas safety check and is offering free annual safety tests at www.staygassafe.co.uk.
Source: The Mirror