Widely reported tragedies such as the 2015 deaths of 6 and 7-year-old Robert and Christianne Shepherd as a result of a "botched and bodged" boiler in their Corfu holiday home provide us with a powerful reminder of the dangers posed by incompetent gas engineers. The Gas Safe Register, the official gas registration body for the UK, helps to prevent such incidents by ensuring that all engineers on the register are qualified to work safely with gas. But how can you be sure that an installer you've hired really is Gas Safe?
Badly maintained gas appliances can lead to fatal gas leaks, explosions and, as in the case of Robert and Christianne Shepherd, carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless and tasteless gas that can kill quickly and without warning in just a couple of hours. The Gas Safe Register works to ensure the highest standards of gas safety and protect the public from unsafe gas work in the UK, Isle of Man and Guernsey in a number of ways. The register's national investigations team make it their mission to hunt down individuals working as gas engineers illegally and investigate all reports of unsafe gas work, as well as regularly inspecting Gas Safe Registered engineers to check that they are safe and competent to work. Another important part of Gas Safe's work involves educating consumers and raising the public's awareness of gas safety, encouraging people to "trust the triangle" - the Register's official mark of approval.
For a homeowner wishing to check the credentials of their gas installer, a useful resource is the Find an Engineer service on the Gas Safe Register's website, which allows you to find a local registered engineer simply by inputting your postcode. The website also allows consumers to check a business is registered by texting "gas" and the business registration number (found on the installer's Gas Safe ID card) to 85080, with a text message then sent to confirm whether the business is registered. Consumers can also freephone Gas Safe's helpline on 08004085500 and can request a photo of their engineer to be sent to their phone, providing their engineer has signed up to the service.
Anyone exhibiting the key symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness should seek medical help immediately or in the case of an emergency call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800111999. It only takes a matter of minutes to check your gas installer's credentials, and it could well save the lives of yourself and your family. Can you afford to take the risk?
Gas Safe Registered members of APHC can also be searched for on the Association's Find An APHC Installer facility at http://www.aphc.co.uk/find_an_installer.asp.