POLITICIANS and the fire service are urging victims of flooding to be carbon monoxide safe and wary of the dangers posed by using outdoor pumps indoors after the death of a boy in Surrey.
Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monixide Group (APPCOG) issued a warning after a seven-year-old boy in Chertsey died from suspected Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
It is claimed that industrial pumps used to clear the family home of flood water caused his death, and similar scenes could be seen in Marlow if people do not take care, say MPs.
Barry Sheerman MP, co-chair of the group, said: “The temptation to use powerful, industrial pumps to clear homes of flood water is entirely understandable. But people must know the dangers.
“Outdoor pumps must be used as intended – outdoors, where natural ventilation will help disperse any accumulation of deadly carbon monoxide gas.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim of this awful tragedy. The public must understand that CO is a deadly gas which emanates from various sources, not just domestic fires or gas boilers as many believe.
“This tragic case reminds us that the proper installation, servicing and use of appropriate products according to their instructions, wherever you are, is critical. Exhaust fumes can kill in minutes in an enclosed space like a garage or house."
He added that Carbon Monoxide alarms should be installed as a precaustion, and that the campaign group is working with emergency services to make people aware of the dangers.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that can incapacitate and kill within minutes.
Any appliance or engine that burns carbon fuels such as diesel, petrol, gas, coal, wood and charcoal can emit lethal doses of carbon monoxide, particularly in enclosed and poorly ventilated areas.
Bucks Fire and Rescue, which has been conducting a round-the-clock pumping operation to help protect Marlow residents, said it takes the threat seriously and is issuing safety advice.
Safety, Improvement and Resilience Manager Ian Taylor said:
"Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is currently attending two protracted incidents at Garnet Court and St Peter Street in Marlow, where we are protecting properties by continuing to pump water away from about 150 houses, thus preventing untold damage.
"Our community safety team is active in the Marlow area, specifically handing out advice and fitting carbon monoxide detectors to properties that are using portable heating systems, generators and pumps."
Early symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be masked or mistaken for colds or flu.
Victims might suffer headaches, become bad tempered, feel sick and dizzy, they might be tired and confused or have stomach pains and start throwing-up.
More serious affects can quickly develop such as loss of balance, difficulty breathing or controlling limbs and eventually unconsciousness.