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Primary schools learn about the ‘silent killer’

silentkillerLIVE PERFORMANCES by a professional theatre company are aiming to save lives across west Wales – with the help of pupils from a primary school in Pembrokeshire.  Gas distribution business Wales & West Utilities has partnered with Theatr Na nÓg to take ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, which is a mixture of drama and storytelling, to schools across the company’s network. It focuses on the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, and pupils at the school have been asked to take the message home to parents, grandparents and carers. Carbon monoxide is known as ‘the silent killer’. It’s a poisonous gas that can be emitted by faulty appliances powered by gas or any other fuel that burns. It’s colourless, odourless and tasteless, but is highly poisonous and causes around 40 fatalities in the UK every year. The poignant live theatre performance to Brynconin Community School – part of Wales & West Utilities’ ongoing safety campaign – is one of the many schools visited during an eightweek tour that focuses on schools in areas that have been identified as being at particular risk of CO incidents. Jaime Falarczyk, Corporate Affairs Manager, said: “We needed to get across a hard-hitting message about the dangers of CO poisoning, but in a way that would engage such a young audience. Theatr Na nÓg has come up with the solution with this series of theatre performances, which are being held in schools across our network. “Anyone can be affected by CO poisoning, though young children, students and older people are most at risk. This play was created to target pupils in years five and six, and an invitation to the performance was also extended to grandparents. “We are taking ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ performances on tour to a number of schools in specific high-risk areas during June and July.” Sara Lewis, Theatr na nÓg scriptwriter and director, said: “The response has been wonderful. The ‘CO hakka’ which has been created as part of our story has gone down a storm and it’s been fantastic to see children and grandparents joining in and giving our cast a run for their money. “The feedback we’ve had from the schools we’ve visited has been really heart-warming and it has been a pleasure to perform to audiences who have listened, laughed, cried and hakka-ed with us. “It is difficult to get younger children to understand risks such as CO poisoning, but this show has a formula that really works in an engaging way.” If anyone suspects CO poisoning, they should turn appliances off and open doors and windows to ventilate the area. Get everyone outside into fresh air immediately and call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.