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Parents whose children are moving out of home to start university this week are being warned to ensure they are safe from a silent killer by sending them off with their own alarm.

Carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty gas appliances is known as the silent killer as it is odourless and colourless. It claims around 30 lives each year in the UK.*

Research from WAKE UP, a national campaign highlighting the dangers of carbon monoxide – or CO – shows that nearly a third of people do not know what the gas is and nearly half (41 per cent) are unaware of its dangers.

So it is urging parents to make sure their children take their own carbon monoxide alarm with them to university to ensure they sleep safely away from home.

“Our survey has shown that almost three quarters of people – 74 per cent – do not have a carbon monoxide alarm, which is quite staggering,” said a spokesperson for WAKE UP.

“Students going away to university could be particularly vulnerable as they are even less likely to be aware of its dangers if they have not lived away from home before. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that problems are more likely to occur in rented accommodation.

“Packing a carbon monoxide detector for your son or daughter to take away to university is a cost-effective way of ensuring all of you can sleep soundly.”

WAKE UP is sponsored by members of the fire prevention industry and backed by prominent politicians and media personalities, including Lorraine Kelly.

It is also supported by FireAngel, one of the UK’s leading producers of high technology safety products, such as smoke alarms and fire protection devices.

The company manufactures a range of carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms, including portable carbon monoxide alarms small enough to fit into hand luggage as well the newly launched Wi-Safe alarm system the key to which is a remote warning handset which provides an instant wake up call in the event of a WiSafe Smoke or CO detector being triggered.

The issue of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning hit the headlines in October 2006 when a seven-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy were found dead in a hotel room in Corfu. The British brother and sister had been poisoned by a gas boiler next to their room.

For more advice on carbon monoxide alarms and home safety, visit


* - source CORGI survey showing 50 deaths in the UK from CO poisoning between January 2006 and June 2007.

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