In January 2010, a very happy Katie Haines celebrated her 31st birthday with her new husband Richard and both of their families, watching their wedding DVD from the previous month. Just three weeks later whilst at home, she was overcome by the silent killer carbon monoxide poisoning and tragically passed away, leaving their friends and families shocked and devastated.

Although the majority of people know that carbon monoxide (CO) kills, very few still have an alarm in their house that would alert them if required. In 2012, over 20,000 homes were inspected by the Merseyside and West Midlands fire services. Less than 12% of the 17,649 properties visited on Merseyside had a working alarm, according to a report by the BBC.

Throughout the UK, this would mean tens of millions of people are at risk. To help prevent any other families suffering a similar loss, the family and friends of Katie Haines set up a trust in her name to raise awareness – please visit for more information.

We did some research, and found some truly horrifying facts:

  • Did you know using a portable BBQ indoors can give off dangerous levels of CO, and that people have died from this? Festival goers at this year’s Glastonbury received this warning.
  • On average, more than ten people are treated in hospital every day for carbon monoxide poisoning! The worrying thing is that because the symptoms are so similar to flu, many more will be undiagnosed.
  • You don’t even need to have gas in your home to be at risk! People have died from the odourless gas coming from a neighbouring property, as happened to 10yo Dominic Rodgers, details here.
  • CO poisoning happens when any fuel fails to burn properly, it can be from a woodburner, or any other fuel; even a propane-powered refrigerator caused a boy to die in America.




As you can see, carbon monoxide detectors look just like a smoke alarm, and are just as inexpensive. All of the above families have to suffer with the knowledge that a £15 alarm would most likely have prevented their tragedy. People are even taking them on holiday with them now, because even if a property has all necessary safety certification, you still don’t know if a problem has developed since the test was carried out. Why run the risk?

Even being in the trade, we didn’t know half of this information. Make sure you are protected, and do your customers a favour, and make sure they are all aware too. The more people who know about this silent killer, the less lives will be lost so needlessly.


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