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Hitchin pupil wins national gas safety competition

PUBLISHED: 19:11 29 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:01 20 February 2013

Isobel Porter receives prize from Katy Hatch and Stephanie Trotter

Isobel Porter receives prize from Katy Hatch and Stephanie Trotter

A creative pupil from William Ransom Primary School has beaten off stiff competition to be crowned the winner of a national poster competition, for her design promoting awareness for the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

A creative pupil from William Ransom Primary School has beaten off stiff competition to be crowned the winner of a national poster competition, for her design promoting awareness for the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.


Isobel Porter, age 11, from Hitchin, used the image of two people succumbing to CO poisoning in her poster highlighting the effects of the deadly gas - an odourless, colourless gas which kills around 50 people each year and injures over 200 more.


The national schools poster competition is run by independent registered charity, CO-Gas Safety, which works hard to prevent deaths and injury caused by CO poisoning and other gas dangers, while supporting victims and their families.


At a prize giving ceremony held at the House of Lords, the charity unveiled 16 years of its own data on the devastating effect of deadly carbon monoxide. It revealed there have been a total of 622 deaths and 4,148 near misses - 379 of which were found unconscious - caused by unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning (CO).



Pupils across England were invited to take part in the annual competition and to use their most imaginative ideas to teach people about the dangers of CO poisoning.


Isobels design was named overall winner for the South of England, while a striking poster of a flame saw 11-year old Francesca Pitfield from Sheffield High School crowned overall winner for the North.


The winning designs were unveiled at the special reception, which was attended by the pupils, MPs, industry leaders, charity representatives and families who have been personally affected by carbon monoxide poisoning. Isobel's teacher Steve Mills was among the guests. In 2009 Mr Mills won the UK Primary Teacher of the Year Award.


Isobel said: I knew a bit about carbon monoxide and decided to have a go at a poster. Id been talking to my mum about how fast it can affect you, so I thought it would be good to concentrate on that. Its important that people know about CO.


Stephanie Trotter OBE, President of CO Gas Safety, said: This years poster competition has been a great success and we got some fantastic entries.


What we frequently hear from people who have been affected by CO poisoning is that they didnt even know what CO was. Being a deadly gas which cannot be sensed by smell, taste, touch or hearing, it is vital that people are aware of the dangers and know the steps to take to reduce their risk of being poisoned.


CO is a toxic gas which can be emitted from the burning of any carbon based fuel, including gas, wood and oil.

Reducing Your Risk:



  1. Have all appliances powered by carbon fuel that burns, such as boilers, ovens, gas fires and oil burners, properly installed and regularly maintained according to manufacturers instructions by qualified people.

  2. Always check the person who turns up to check and fix your appliance is qualified to work on that particular appliance. For gas they should be Gas Safe Registered and check with the Gas Safe Register (http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/).

  3. Have chimneys and flues regularly swept and checked.

  4. Ensure there is adequate ventilation and dont block vents.

  5. As an extra safeguard, buy a CO alarm that works to standard EN 50291. Available at a cost of around 15-20 from any good DIY store and many supermarkets.


For more information about CO-Gas Safety please visit www.co-gassafety.co.uk

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