Minister Foster launches initiative to help with 'silent killer'

Published: 24 Oct 2012 08:45

Health and Safety Minister Arlene Foster has launched a new carbon monoxide awareness badge for Girlguiding Ulster.

Health and Safety Minister Arlene Foster.

The dangers posed by carbon monoxide, dubbed the 'silent killer', became tragically all too obvious to the people of Fermanagh in November 2010 following the death of Irvinestown businessman Killian Scallon and his wife Pauline.

The couple died after a carbon monoxide leak at their family home.

It is hoped the badge will raise awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning among younger people, providing key information not only for their own future but also for their parents, grandparents and peers.

After a successful three-month pilot scheme, the Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) and Girlguiding Ulster agreed to roll the badge out to all Guides in Northern Ireland. Through this scheme, HSENI hopes to reach over 12,000 Girl Guides and their families.

Launching the badge in Enniskillen's Killyhevlin Hotel, Arlene Foster said: "Given the challenges faced in continuing to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important that particular consideration is given to the potential role of young people in helping to bring the message home that families need to service appliances annually. The new badge, delivered through Girlguiding Ulster, will help to do this."

Carole Graham, Girlguiding Ulster Chief Commissioner said: "Girlguiding Ulster volunteers have enjoyed working with members from HSENI to develop a fun and challenging activity pack. All girls and young women aged 4-25 years in Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to use this pack to help raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide. I believe it is good for girls of all ages to become involved in learning about their own safety."

The badge pack is made up of various tasks aimed at different age groups. It also includes a poster competition for the senior section of the Guides. They will be tasked with designing a poster aimed at students on how they can protect themselves from carbon monoxide poisoning. The winning design will form part of the Carbon Monoxide Awareness Student Campaign in September 2013 and will be displayed in every universities and further education college in Northern Ireland.

Further advice and guidance on carbon monoxide can be found at: http://www.hseni.gov.uk/watchout or via HSENI's helpine on 0800 0320 121.

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