Carbon Monoxide - The Silent Killer
For personal reasons March is always a difficult month for us here at FrazerPart. It marks the month that Robert, (or "Bob" to his family, friends and customers) the founder of FrazerPart died unexpectedly at the age of 31. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning in March 2006 and was the innocent victim of some extremely shoddy and sloppy building work to the chimney in his home. The builder responsible, Mr David Paul Johnson, was eventually charged with his manslaughter, found guilty and received a custodial sentence in May 2008.
Carbon monoxide is an odourless and tasteless gas. It is often referred to as the "silent killer". Whilst this tragic and preventable accident occurred in the home, it is worth reminding readers that carbon monoxide can occur when any form of fossil fuel is incompletely combusted. This includes petrol within an internal combustion engine. From personal experience, we at FrazerPart encourage you to tinker with running engines in well ventilated environments and to invest in a battery operated "British Kitemark approved" carbon monoxide alarm in both your home and workshop/garage.
Once poisoned by the gas, the symptoms are very similar to the 'flu namely nausea, headaches, tiredness and lethargy. It really doesn't take long for carbon monoxide levels to build up to dangerous levels as we have found out. Bob was exposed to lethal levels within minutes from his central heating system.
Carbon monoxide detectors
Without electronic detectors, we can not detect or sense carbon monoxide. It kills, it kills silently and it can kill quickly. It killed a young and fit Bob at the age of 31.
Please don't let this put you off working on your car. It's certainly the last thing Bob would have wanted. He wanted everybody to enjoy their Porsche and he wanted to make Porsche motoring affordable to the enthusiast. That's why he set up FrazerPart. He openly encouraged the "do it yourself" approach and would have wanted you (and would have helped you) resolve your vehicle problems yourself. We are doing our best to build upon Bob's business legacy and plan to offer the same level of service he did long in to the future.
FrazerPart have no commercial affiliation with Harry at Safelincs. We were introduced to him and his business after we approached a carbon monoxide detector manufacturer following Bob's death. He has kindly arranged for all of our customers to have access to his range of British Kitemark approved audible carbon monoxide alarms. He isn't the only person that sells these detectors. They are available in all good DIY stores, but to date, Harry is the only person to offer to help our customers. The link can be found here here.
Please don't have any second thoughts about purchasing an audible carbon monoxide detector. You probably already have a smoke alarm, so why not have one of these? They cost considerably less than the average monthly mobile phone bill. It's a small price to pay for some peace of mind, especially when you and your family are all asleep. Carbon monoxide can and does kill 24 hours a day.
At a minimum, please invest in a carbon monoxide alarm/detector for your home and become carbon monoxide aware.
At 31, the Porsche community has already lost one knowledgeable Porsche enthusiast. We do not need to lose any more.
Remember, when tinkering with the Porsche, tinker safely.......
Details of a "real life" example of in vehicle exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning can be found here:-
Read the story, watch the video to the end and prepared to be shocked at how Carbon Monoxide nearly killed this driver whilst on a track day
Additional BBC news weblinks covering Bob’s death can be found at:-
In January 2010, as part of the Carbon Monoxide - Be Alarmed! campaign ITV Granada raised public awareness on the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning
In November 2010, in conjunction with the National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, Bob's girlfriend Vikki Courtman launched a national campaign, "The CO Angels" at the Houses of Parliament in London to help raise the awareness of this killer poison.
Additional information and guidance on the dangers of carbon monoxide can be found at:-
Download Department of Health Carbon Monoxide - Are you at risk? leaflet in a number of languages
Further comments from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
UK law prohibits builders, double glazing companies and anyone else from carrying out alterations that have an adverse effect on the safety of any gas installation, for example by restricting the amount of ventilation or enclosing / blocking a flue.
Anyone carrying out work on flues and chimneys should check that they are inspected and tested sufficiently to ensure that they are in a safe condition and working effectively.
The law also requires that only trained, competent installers can work on gas appliances such as boilers, and the only approval currently recognised by HSE is membership of CORGI. If you are having gas work done, always check the installer's CORGI identity card before you let them start work.
HSE strongly advises that gas appliances and/or flues are serviced regularly for safety by a CORGI-registered installer. If you live in tenanted accommodation, your landlord has a legal duty to carry out an annual gas safety check and maintain gas appliances. They must provide you with a copy of the completed gas safety check certificate.
HSE strongly recommends the use of audible carbon monoxide (CO) alarms as a useful back-up precaution but they must not be regarded as a substitute for proper installation and maintenance of gas appliances by a CORGI-registered installer. Before purchasing a CO alarm, always ensure it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. CO alarms should be installed, checked and serviced in line with the manufacturer's instructions.
You can be particularly at risk from CO poisoning when you are asleep, because you may not be aware of early CO symptoms until it is too late. Having an audible CO alarm could wake you and save your life.