FIREFIGHTERS have been called to more than 350 gas related incidents in Herefordshire and Worcestershire in the last ten years, figures reveal.

In total, 40 percent of the calls involved a fire, while the incidents caused over 110 casualties and nine people were rescued between April 2010 and March 2020, the fire service said.

Carbon monoxide leaks were involved in 38 percent of gas escapes in homes.

This is a rise on the previous ten year period, when the service attended 342 gas related incidents, 40 percent of them involving a fire. The incidents caused some 94 casualties and seven people were rescued.

During the period, 35 percent of gas escapes in homes involved carbon monoxide leaks.

With increased deaths and gas-related injuries over the years, it is crucial that people have their appliances checked each year to be assured they are working safely and efficiently, and Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has pledged its support for Gas Safety Week.

Coordinated by Gas Safe Register, the tenth annual Gas Safety Week is urging organisations from across the UK to work together, to encourage all gas consumers to ensure they have their gas appliances checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and protect against the dangers of unsafe gas appliances, such as fires, leaks, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Group Commander Stu Crebbin, of the Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service Community Risk department, said: “The rise in gas leak cases in our area reflects the national increase in incidents and I would urge people to ensure they have their appliances checked by a professionally qualified Gas Safe engineer.

“This will provide vital protection against the dangers of unsafe gas appliances, not only from fires, leaks and explosions but also carbon monoxide poisoning.

“This is especially important in view of coronavirus, as organisations prepare for a return to office working. It is critical that in preparing work premises for the return of staff, those responsible don’t compromise safety measures.

“People should ‘Trust the Triangle’ and check that their engineer is Gas Safe registered.

“Anyone working on gas appliances while not being registered is working illegally.”

Jonathan Samuel, managing director for Gas Safe Register, said: “It’s great to have the support of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service during Gas Safety Week. By working together, we can reach more people and help to reduce the number of dangerous gas appliances that could be lurking in the homes of the UK’s 23 million gas consumers.

“We know from our own investigations data that one in six gas appliances in the UK are unsafe, meaning far too many people are victims of preventable gas related incidents.”