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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Saving lives

I am on a train back to Cardiff after an interesting and useful series of meetings in Westminster yesterday afternoon and evening. A number of these meetings were around the Silk Commission report on funding the Welsh Assembly, but the most important in my view was a session with the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group on how we can increase the number of carbon monoxide detectors in people's homes.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning causes 50 deaths a year, 200 serious injuries and 4,000 minor injuries which costs the health service in England and Wales £178 million annually in medical and care costs as well as creating immeasurable human suffering.

Currently any new solid fuel appliance must come with a Carbon Monoxide detector but that does not apply to other fuel types. A change in the regulations to require that the mandatory installation of a detector with all at-risk appliances and a programme of installing hard-wire detectors in all social housing in Wales could make a big difference and save many lives. After all, smoke detectors are virtually standard in many homes, and we now have a law requiring sprinklers, why not one requiring the much cheaper Carbon Monoxide detectors.

It is my view that we have an opportunity through the Welsh housing bill later this year to widen the use of Carbon Monoxide detectors. All I have to do now is to work out how to best conduct the campaign to try and make that happen.
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