Tents and caravans: Carbon monoxide safety reminder

Wed 1 Jul, 2015



Firefighters are urging people to be aware of all the hazards of outdoor living, including the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, when camping or caravanning.

The message is aimed at everyone planning their summer holidays, and the thousands who will be congregating near Silverstone this weekend for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

The county boundary runs through the middle of the world-famous circuit, with four campsites lying within Aylesbury Vale. The largest of these will be home to 16,000 people during the event.

Richard Priest, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety manager, said: “Our key message is to remind people not to take a barbecue into an enclosed space, even if it is only smouldering or almost out, because the fumes can kill you.”

Figures from gas safety charity Gas Safety Register show that over the past three years, 28 people in the UK have been killed or injured by carbon monoxide poisoning after bringing a barbecue into a confined area such as a tent. Click here for a Gas Safe Register leaflet.

Firefighters from Buckingham Fire Station have been visiting campsites to raise awareness of safety messages and of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.

They are encouraging people to follow these safety tips:

Tents

  • Never take a smouldering or lit barbecue into a tent.
  • Never use candles in or near a tent. Torches are safer.
  • Set up tents at least six metres apart and away from parked cars.
  • Make sure you know what the fire arrangements on the campsite are and where the nearest telephone is.
  • Don’t smoke inside a tent.
  • Place your cooking area well away from the tent.
  • Keep your cooking area clear of items that catch fire easily, including long, dry grass.
  • Put cooking appliances in a place where they can’t easily be knocked over.
  • Keep matches, lighters, flammable liquids and gas cylinders out of the reach of children.
  • Have an escape plan and be prepared to cut your way out of your tent if there is a fire.

Caravans

  • Never take a smouldering or lit barbecue into a caravan.
  • Having working smoke alarms when you’re staying in a caravan is just as important as having them in your home.
  • Ensure caravans and tents are at least six metres apart and away from parked cars.
  • Make sure you know what the fire arrangements on the campsite are and where the nearest telephone is.
  • If you smoke, use metal ashtrays, and never smoke in bed.
  • Don’t leave children alone inside.
  • Don’t block air vents – if any leaking gas builds up you may fall unconscious and be unable to escape.
  • Turn off all appliances before you leave the caravan or go to bed.
  • Recognise the warning signs that your gas appliances are not working properly including lazy yellow flames and black marks around the appliance. 
  • Never use a cooker or heater while your caravan is moving.
  • Don’t dry clothes over the stove.
  • Remove any litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.

If there's a fire in your caravan:

  • Get everyone out straight away.
  • Call the fire and rescue service and give your location with a map reference, if possible, or provide a nearby landmark, like a farm.