With the weather becoming increasingly colder, people are beginning to use their gas and heating more regularly.

However, Gas Safe Register and the Fire and Rescue Service have issued a joint safety warning for homes across the UK to ensure their gas appliances are checked by a registered engineer.

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December was found to be the time of the year where the highest number of unsafe appliances were found in the UK, and in the last five years, one in six boilers, fires and cookers were found to be dangerous. This can have extremely terrifying consequences, such as gas leaks, fires explosions and carbon monoxide (CO2) poisoning.

Edinburgh, London, Birmingham and Sheffield were all in the top 10 UK cities for unsafe appliances, with up to 40% of appliances found to be unsafe.

The staggering statistics shows that many people, especially in big cities, neglect gas safety in their homes, despite it being important that you get your appliances checked annually.

“Things can quickly go wrong over the holidays if families’ gas appliances stop working or become unsafe,” said Jonathan Samuel, chief executive at the Gas Safe Register. “We are urging families to ensure they get their annual gas safety check, so that you can enjoy the holidays with peace of mind.”

Mark Jones from Merseyside Fire and Rescue reinforced the important of having an annual gas check-up saying it is the first line of defence. He reiterates the importance of keeping appliances well maintained and ensuring the appropriate safety measures are taken.

He said: “As a first line of defence, it is important to keep all appliances well maintained and ensure that the appropriate safety checks are carried out regularly, as well as having both CO and smoke alarms installed in homes.”

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The Fire and Rescue and the Gas Safe Register offered the following tips to ensure gas safety:

1. Only employ a legal Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. You can find or check a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk

2. ‘Trust the Triangle’ and always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which will state which gas appliances they are qualified to work on.

3. Sign up for a reminder service to make sure your gas appliances are checked annually: www.StayGasSafe.co.uk 

4. If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, or suspect carbon monoxide, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.