By Carl Jackson Friday 15 February 2013 Updated: 15/02 10:30
A LONGBRIDGE couple, who narrowly escaped death from carbon monoxide poisoning after staying awake to watch a Disney film, have urged others to invest in a device to detect the deadly gas.
Ashley Augustine, 28, and his girlfriend Amy Perks, 18, were hospitalised after a leak of the deadly odourless gas at their home in Beach Court, Longbridge.
The pair believe they would have succumbed to the silent killer if they had not decided against going to bed because they wanted to watch ‘Up’ on the TV.
It meant they were awake to hear the carbon monoxide alarm go off and could act quickly.
That morning, Ashley, a mental health worker, said the pair woke up with headaches and feeling sick.
They put it down to a winter virus and decided to rest in bed.
However as the day wore on, their symptoms got worse and Amy, a childcare student a Bournville College, started having stomach pains.
Feeling drowsy the couple were going to go to sleep but they changed their mind when they saw ‘Up’ was on.
About 8pm the alarm started beeping and it suddenly dawned on them why they were ill.
“We realised it was serious and put two and two together.” said Ashley.
He added it was hard to say whether they would have heard it if they had been asleep.
After calling NHS Direct and the emergency services, an ambulance, the fire brigade and National Grid arrived on their doorstep before long.
Ashley and Amy were taken to the Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and thankfully, after blood tests, were given the all-clear. The couple were sent home the following morning.
Ashley said: “It really scared us both. We could have died and no one would of found us.
“We can’t stress enough how serious it is to get a carbon monoxide alarm fitted. Our one saved our lives.
“Everyone should have one and if they haven’t they should consider getting one. It’s a small price to pay to save your life.”
The National Grid declared the gas appliances unsafe and the couple now have an electric fire and cooker.
However Ashley admitted he still felt nervous at home and refused to use the boiler because he did not trust it.
“I am finding it very hard to sleep at night now as I worry so much about what happened and how lucky we are to be alive.” he added.
A spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service said: “As well as having a working and correctly fitted carbon monoxide alarm to provide a vital warning, it’s really important that gas appliances are professionally installed and regularly safety checked by a qualified Gas Safe engineer.”
People are unable to see, taste or smell carbon monoxide, which is why it is so deadly.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu, food poisoning and viral infections. Even extreme tiredness can be an indicator.
Those suffering need to get fresh air immediately, turn off gas appliances, leave the property and see a doctor or go to hospital, where they will receive a blood or breath test.
The Gas Emergency Helpline is 0800 111 999.
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