Wales & West Utilities - Say No to CO

Network Rail Cymru Wales Building Stronger Communities Award, Big Tick - Winner 2014, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

The Say NO to CO campaign run by Wales & West Utilities aims to eradicate carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by raising awareness amongst the public and making them as familiar with audible CO alarms as they are with smoke detectors.

Social impacts

  • Distributed 10,000 free audible CO alarms in 2013 and saved one family, who discovered a CO problem after using their alarm.
  • Received more than 1,000 requests for copies of film CO, The Silent Killer produced by the Royal Wales College, including some from the Emergency Services
  • Distributed 30,000 cardboard thermometers giving key advice on how to keep warm and facts about CO to elderly people.

Business impacts

  • All First Call Operatives (FCOs) now wear personal alarms to detect CO, and all 1,300 staff have been issued with a CO alarm for their homes, with the result that no further incidents have affected employees.
  • Gained recognition from the regulator through the discretionary reward scheme, which increased by 380% from £350,000 in the 2011 review, to £1.35m in 2013.

Wales and West Utililties

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and Wales & West Utilities have been working together for the last three years. Through this collaboration, the partnership has ensured that gas safety messaging has been carried to those participants, including the creation of ‘The Silent Killer’ film starring one of our graduating actresses, which particularly highlighted the dangers of CO poisoning.

- Lucy Stout,
Director of Development at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
In order to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from CO poisoning, Wales & West Utilities (W&WU) used innovative data analysis tools to develop a strategy that considered their unique geography and enabled engagement with a wide variety of groups and communities.

W&WU worked with a broad range of partners to support engagement through a range of media including radio campaigns, theatre performances, a short film, puppetry and tea dances.

Amongst the key partnerships established for the campaign was one with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.  They worked collaboratively to develop an awareness programme using theatre and puppetry which reaches13,000 participants annually, including 10,000 children from the most disadvantaged communities in south Wales. They also worked collaboratively to produce a promotional film: CO, The Silent Killer.

Additonally, W&WU ran a competition, Create a Campaign, with Swansea Sound, for which children wrote and starred in their own radio commercial. The competition reached more than 300,000 listeners at a third of the cost of advertising.


W&WU also developed a unique partnership with Age Cymru to develop materials targeted at older people, including a CO Thermometer which also gave advice about keeping warm.

This level of activity was supported with significant time and resources, and investment in the programme was in evidence at all levels within the business.

The success of the campaign has helped develop W&WU’s reputation as a leader in the industry. The company now sits on a Task and Finish stakeholder group in Wales and on the All Party Parliamentary Group Carbon Monoxide Action Forum in Westminster, helping to inform Welsh and UK policy

The efforts have also been recognised by the regulator which increased its discretionary reward to W&WU, worth more than £1m to the business in 2013.

- Private group -