Getting a gas safety check is the best way to protect your property, says HSE. That’s the message to people in Kingstanding who might be concerned after a gas explosion destroyed a house in the Birmingham neighbourhood last month. A woman died and a man was seriously injured in the incident.
Gas incidents such as the Kingstanding explosion are devastating but extremely rare. HSE’s statistics show there were 25 gas-related fire and explosion incidents in 2020/2021. This is despite there being more than 22 million households using gas across the country.
The authorities recommend some simple steps people can take to keep their homes safe:
• Gas appliances should be checked regularly to prevent gas escapes and stop carbon monoxide being released. HSE says homeowners should get an annual gas safety check carried out by a qualified engineer listed on the Gas Safe Register.
• People living in rented accommodation should check that their landlord has had an annual gas safety record check carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer.
• Everyone should find the gas emergency control valve (also called gas emergency shut-off valve) in their property. It’s usually at the gas meter. Householders should check they have access to it. If they ever smell gas, call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999.
• In some circumstances, energy suppliers can offer free gas safety checks through the Priority Services Register.
John Rowe, HSE policy lead for gas safety, says: “Our thoughts are with those affected by the terrible Kingstanding incident. When something so devastating happens, people understandably worry.
“The truth is gas is an incredibly safe way of fuelling our homes. Serious incidents are extremely rare. We should all be careful and not unduly concerned about using gas in our home. We’re encouraging householders to get a gas safety check, carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer. Everyone should know where their emergency gas safety value is and that it is accessible. These steps will help keep people safe.”
Bob Kerr, Gas Services Director at Gas Safe Register, says: “Regular safety checking and servicing of gas appliances can ensure that they are operating safely and as intended. Having an audible carbon monoxide alarm is also a good second line of defence.”
Alex Shapland, Area Commander with West Midlands Fire Service, says: “Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by the devastating incident in Kingstanding; in particular those who grieve and the man who was injured. The events of 26 June are a stark reminder of how important it is to get gas appliances regularly tested by a Gas Safe professional.”