The site is for students, but the advice is universal.

Gas Safety

There are two risks associated with faulty gas appliances, leaking gas and carbon monoxide poisoning.

A gas leak should be detectable by the distinct smell of gas. If you suspect a gas leak turn off the gas at the mains, and do not turn on any lights or use naked flames.

Contact National Grid TRANSCO (the Gas Board) immediately. The emergency free phone number is 0800 111 999.

Carbon monoxide is HIGHLY POISONOUS and it is hard to detect as it is colourless, odourless and tasteless. Any appliance that burns gas, coal or oil emits carbon monoxide. Effective ventilation and regular servicing can reduce risks considerably.

Insist on a gas safety certificate

It is a landlord's legal responsibility to have all gas appliances checked for safety by a CORGI registered technician. The Student Housing Offices only list properties after seeing the current gas safety certificate. Your landlord is also legally required to provide tenants with a copy of the certificate. Be sure and ask for this.

Ensure adequate ventilation

Gas appliances need air to burn safely. If there is too little air or the vent, chimney, or flue is blocked or obstructed, carbon monoxide may not be able to escape.

Look out for warning signs

These include stains, soot or discolouring around a fire, the flame on a gas fire or heater burning yellow or orange and a strange or unusual smell when the appliance is on.

Be aware of the 4 main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

* unexplained headaches
* sleepiness
* streaming eyes and
* general lethargy.

(These can easily be confused with other ailments (e.g. flu or a hangover) If anyone in your house has any of the above symptoms after using a gas appliance they should consult their doctor.

If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak - stop using the appliance immediately.

Contact National Grid TRANSCO on 0800 111 999 (24 hrs)