A red houseboat moored on the River Thames in London

London CO boat safety project casts off

A project is under way to improve the carbon monoxide (CO) safety of people living on boats in London. The project, partly funded by the CO Research Trust, will be carried out by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and will involve fire station crews carrying out 1,758 home fire safety visits tailored to houseboat residents.

The research project will create a clearer picture of the demographics of London’s houseboat population and aims to give a much more informed picture of CO levels on houseboats.

LFB project manager Emma Fraser says: “Boats have small living spaces, much the same size as a small bedsit. However, they are also sealed containers – essential for keeping water out, but also equally effective at retaining gases and fumes.

“Many boats have multiple potential sources of fire and CO. They may also have multiple engines and appliances for cooking, heating, and lighting. Some of these will be powered on or in use while occupants are sleeping.”

“This project will make houseboat owners more aware of the risks of CO and fire, as well as helping to identify whether there are any trends, such as a seasonal variation in CO levels.”

LFB aims to deliver 1,758 home fire safety visits on houseboats over a 12-month period in the London borough of Richmond. Each visit will include tailored advice on fire safety, CO and water safety and also provide free smoke and CO alarms, as well as a CO logger. The logger will record CO levels for a month and will then be sent to Liverpool John Moores University for analysis.

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