STUDENTS are being urged to be vigilant about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

They are most at risk from the ``silent killer because they often rent cheap, badly maintained homes that are most likely to have unchecked faulty gas appliances - the source of carbon monoxide.

Huddersfield University Students' Union worker Charlotte Mutton said: "Before taking a property, students should always ask to see the annual gas safety certificate on every gas appliance.

"If they have any doubts about an appliance they should stop using it and contact the landlord to ask that the appliance is checked.

"It is not always an issue that students think about. But we are trying to raise awareness."

As part of this campaign, the Students' Union is planning an awareness event next term.

It will also have a carbon monoxide information stand at the Freshers Fayre for new students on September 21 at Huddersfield Sports Centre.

The Students' Union also has a constant supply of information on carbon monoxide and gas safety at its advice and information centre on the university's Queensgate campus.

The information includes leaflets from the Health and Safety Executive and piping company Transco.

Also, a housing guide can also be found on the union's website

Ms Mutton added that the Students' Union held a ``housing week" in February, which touched on gas safety.

She said: "We run a housing week every February, which is about the time many students start to look for accommodation for the next academic year.

"At these events students can access information on a wide range issues.

"We also issue guides, including information on gas safety, house-hunting checklists and security issues."

* Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous, invisible gas with no taste or smell.

* It is produced by any appliance which burns carbon - but is most commonly given off by faulty gas appliances.

* Carbon monoxide poisoning claims up to 50 lives each year and injures hundreds of people.

* Warning signs include staining, soot or discoloration around gas appliances. Flames may also turn red or yellow instead of the usual blue.

* People exposed to the gas may feel extremely tired, have frequent headaches, dizziness, sickness, chest and stomach pains.

* Carbon monoxide can be picked up by detectors. The best ones work like a smoke alarm, emitting a loud piercing noise if there is a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide. They typically cost about £30 from DIY stores.

* If you suspect carbon monoxide in your home, turn off gas appliances, open doors and windows and if possible leave the house.

* Get the appliances checked by a Corgi registered engineer before re-using. You can also call Transco Gas Emergency line on 0800 111 999. You should also consult your doctor to see if your health has been affected.

* Remember to check the batteries in alarms regularly. You should also get every gas appliance in the home serviced every year by a Corgi registered engineer - or if you are a tenant, ask the landlord to do it.

* WE know many of you were disappointed to miss out on our free carbon monoxide alarm offer - but we're working hard with British Gas and local retailers to bring you another offer. Watch out for more news soon.