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In light of the recent fatal gas explosions in Bedford and Birmingham, the Health and Safety Executive is urging the public to get their gas appliances checked now, before the weather turns colder and households use more gas.
The HSE is reassuring people that they don’t need to be “unduly concerned”, but they should be on top of safety by getting all their gas appliances (boilers, cookers, and fires), flues, and pipework regularly maintained and serviced every year by a qualified engineer listed on the Gas Safe Register.
Gas incidents can be devastating but remain extremely rare, the regulator says. There were 25 gas related fire and explosion incidents reported in 2020/2021, despite there being over 22 million households using gas across the country.
The HSE emphasises that getting a gas safety check in summer can ensure people’s homes are safe while also helping to keep bills lower in winter.
Help is available for those struggling to pay for checks. In some circumstances, suppliers can offer free gas safety checks through the Priority Services Register. For further advice and information homeowners can contact their gas supplier (i.e. the company they pay their bills to).
John Rowe, HSE policy lead for gas safety, says: “Gas is an incredibly safe way of fuelling your house. Serious incidents are still extremely rare, although of course for those involved they can be devastating.
“We should all be careful and not unduly concerned about using gas in our homes. We’re encouraging householders to get a gas check. Doing so could save them money in the long run but will also keep them safe. The summer months are perfect time to get your appliances checked so come winter you know they are working safely and efficiently.”