There have been several tragic deaths in the news recently, regarding barbecues that have been used in campsites. This is because people who are camping have either taken a disposable barbecue into the tent with them to keep them warm, not knowing that it will be giving off poisonous fumes of carbon monoxide, or they have left the barbecue burning close to their tent and the smoke has managed to get inside. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous substance which is created when certain fossil fuels, such as gas and charcoal and wood, fail to combust fully due to a lack of oxygen. Carbon monoxide is odourless, tasteless and unlike gas, you cannot smell it, but it is deadly and can kill quickly with no warning. So if you are going camping this year and are planning to use a barbecue, whether or not it is a disposable barbecue, gas or charcoal barbecue, keep yourself and your family and friends safe by following these barbecue safety rules:
- Never take a barbecue into a tent, caravan or cabin that is lit or still smouldering.
- When you have finished cooking, keep your barbecue outside as it will continue to give off fumes for a good many hours afterwards. If possible you should try and extinguish the barbecue by spraying water on a disposable and charcoal one and turning off a gas barbecue.
- Never use a barbecue inside to keep you warm.
- Never leave a lit barbecue unattended or while sleeping
- Plan to have your cooking area well away from your tent and ensure there is plenty of fresh air circulating around the area where the barbecue is being used.
- Only use appliances in accordance with the operating instructions.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, remember, the six main symptoms to look out for are:
- Loss of consciousness
Being aware of the symptoms could save your life.
Carbon monoxide symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and simply tiredness. That’s why it’s quite common for people to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else. If you suspect someone is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning you should get them into the fresh air as soon as possible and away from the source of the poisoning. Call 999 and administer CPR if required.
If you’re using gas camping equipment, following these extra tips will help to keep you safe:
- Check that the appliance is in good order, undamaged and that hoses are properly attached and undamaged.
- Make sure the gas taps or cylinder valve are turned off before changing the gas cylinder and only do this in the open air.
- Don’t over-tighten joints.
- When you have finished cooking, be sure to turn off the gas cylinder before you turn off the barbecue controls – this means any gas in the hose and pipework will be used up.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions about how to check for gas escapes from hoses or pipework, e.g. brushing leak detection solution around all joints and looking for bubbles.
Take care this summer and don’t put yourself or your family at risk. For more information or call 0800 408 5500.