Carbon Monoxide Awareness

hink CO aims to save lives by making people more aware of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning with people who work in the homes of vulnerable people.

Most people have heard of carbon monoxide, but few know its causes and symptoms or what to do if they suspect someone may be at risk. To meet this challenge, Gas Safe Charity developed the Think CO campaign with a range of free materials to increase awareness.

What makes Think CO different is that the messages and materials are targeted at frontline staff and volunteers of trusted organisations who visit people in their own homes. They use this new knowledge in their day-to-day work. More and more organisations are providing services in vulnerable people’s homes by placing paid staff or volunteers to provide care and support. Think CO approached charities to train and inform their workers.

Think CO builds on what an organisation is doing already. The materials are developed to be integrated with existing training and induction programmes and cascaded through the organisation. They are aimed at people with little or no CO knowledge. Feedback has been positive; organisations welcome Think CO’s pragmatic and flexible approach, which helps them to fulfil their duty of care. Staff and volunteers like the easy to understand, memorable messages which they can use in their personal lives as well as in their jobs.

Launched in spring 2015, Think CO has made steady, positive progress, not only with charities across the UK, but also with the public and private sectors. “The Think CO project has helped us in raising awareness of CO risks and in particular recognising our duty of care responsibilities to staff and volunteers,” says Nick Maslen, Chief Executive of Age UK, South Staffordshire.

Partner organisations include Age UK, Age Cymru, British Red Cross, Royal British Legion, SSAFA, Alzheimer’s Society, RVS, National Energy Action, Wales Council for Voluntary Action, Home Instead, Changing Lives, Visionary and Christies Care.

The focus of the first year of Think CO has been to engage with large charities. This has widened to include private home care agencies as well. We have tested and proven that the approach works. Now, we are expanding our audiences to those in social and healthcare charities or private care agencies, local authorities and the NHS.

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