Devastated family set up petition for enforced carbon monoxide detectors after Manchester student death

The family of an ex-Manchester university student who died from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are urging the public to sign an e-petition to make detectors mandatory throughout England and Wales.

Two months after her wedding Katie Haines died tragically due to accidental CO poisoning at her home, inspiring her family to create The Katie Haines Memorial Trust.

Years later her friend and former university student Lucy Chant nearly suffered the same fate, but her life was saved thanks to a carbon monoxide detector which showed an alarmingly high amount of CO.

“As I walked into the kitchen, our carbon monoxide detector showed high levels of CO being given out by our boiler – with a reading 600 on the digital detector,” Lucy told MM in 2013.

“If we hadn’t had the alarm, we could have been dead within three hours.”

Now a year later, Katie’s family have being working closely with carbon monoxide manufacturers Honeywell to help spearhead a campaign on improving awareness.

They have started an online petition to change the law so CO alarms are mandatory in England and Wales, in places where carbon burning appliances are installed.

Speaking about the decision to start the petition, Katie’s mother Avril Samuel, 63, said: “We are very frustrated that legislation exists in Northern Ireland and Scotland but not in England and Wales as we deserve the same duty of care.

“Many people we speak to seem to think that legislation already exists here.

“We need 100,000 signatures just to force a debate.”

In 2013, the Department of Health released figures showing how each year in England and Wales around 40 deaths and 200 hospitalisations are caused as a result of CO poisoning. 

Around 4,000 people visit accident and emergency departments to seek treatment for symptoms linked to CO poisoning in England alone.

While a considerable number of people die from accidental acute COpoisoning, it is now confirmed many more are injured by sub-lethal exposure.

As only 15% of UK homes currently possess CO alarms, countless numbers of families and individuals are left in danger.

Despite no substitute for annual servicing and maintenance of appliances, a professionally installed CO alarm could save lives and is a message the trust are determined to spread.

LEGACY: Katie’s family setup the Katie Haines Memorial Trust after her death

“Many people think that smoke alarms detect carbon monoxide,” Mrs Samuel added.

“CO alarms are the second line of defence – the first being to have all carbon burning appliances regularly maintained and serviced by a registered engineer and chimneys swept by a registered sweep.

“There is a lot of misinformation concerning carbon monoxide and it isn’t something that just happens in the winter – there are also incidents of carbon monoxide in the summer months at camp sites, boats and caravans.

“It would be useful to learn about the dangers of carbon monoxide at school and then that information would be carried forward into adulthood.”

To support Katie’s family and their mission to make carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in England and Wales, sign the online-petition at

Images courtesy of Facebook, with thanks

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