Carbon monoxide detectors for elderly under scheme, Minister says

Kathleen Lynch announces extension following near tragedy in Cork city last month

Carbon monoxide detectors are to be given to elderly and vulnerable people as part of a review of an existing government scheme, Minister of State at the Dept of Health, Kathleen Lynch has said. File photograph: Thinkstock

Carbon monoxide detectors are to be given to elderly and vulnerable people as part of a review of an existing government scheme, Minister of State at the Dept of Health, Kathleen Lynch has said. File photograph: Thinkstock

 

Life-saving carbon monoxide detectors are to be given to elderly and vulnerable people as part of a review of an existing Government scheme, Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch has said.

Ms Lynch confirmed that the scheme which currently provides smoke alarms and panic buttons for elderly people is currently reviewed but will be extended to include carbon monoxide detectors for all who qualify.

“The scheme is operated by the Department of the Environment but I’ve spoken to Minister Alan Kelly and he has given a commitment that the scheme will now be extended to include carbon monoxide alarms which is great news,” Ms Lynch said.

Ms Lynch was speaking at the launch of an initiative by Blarney Street Community Association on Cork’s northside to provide 300 carbon monoxide alarms to local elderly residents following a near tragedy on the street last month.

Sisters, Eileen (92) and Noreen Naughton (82) were found unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning in their house in Blarney Street on the morning of November 29th and were rushed to Cork University Hospital where they are still recovering.

Neighbour, Angela Marshall noticed that the two elderly sisters were not up and about at their terraced house so she contacted Gurranebraher Garda station and Gardai Peter Desmond, Chris Daly and Kenny McGarry broke into the house to rescue the two pensioners.

Blarney Street Community Council Chairman, Tom Coleman paid tribute to Minister Lynch for her support which will see the Department of Health supply 200 carbon monoxide alarms with private firms, Apex Fire and EI Electronics supplying 50 each.

“This initiative is designed to make people aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide so that something like this will never happen again , we are grateful for the sponsorship from Apex and EI Electronics and the support of Minister Lynch for coming on board,” he said.

Apex Fire Regional Manager, Tom Butler said they were aware of the large number of elderly people living on Blarney Street and it was critical people were aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning particularly given people will be burning fuels with a cold snap forecast.

Tom Meehan of EI Electronics told how over the weekend, an elderly man living alone in Co Clare was saved when his carbon monoxide alarm went off and he was able to press his panic button and neighbours raised the alarm and the emergency services rescued him.

Victor Shine of Cork City Fire Service said it was “an amazing initiative” by the Blarney Street Community Association and the near tragedy three weeks ago highlighted the dangers of carbon monoxide which is a “silent, odourless, tasteless killer”.

Supt Con Cadogan of Gurranebraher Garda Station said the initiative would not have come about but for the averting of a near tragedy by the neighbours of the Naughton sisters, in particular Angela Marshall who noticed there was something amiss in the house.

“This story epitomizes the importance of neighbours- it was good neighbours who prevented a tragedy and that’s the message we want to get out to people - visit your neighbours over Christmas and check on them particularly if we get the really cold weather that is forecast.”