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School’s out for summer!

It’s finally here, the end of term is just days away and the great holiday escape will be on! It is estimated some 3.7 million Brits go camping or caravanning in the UK (and beyond) each year, if you are one of them you need to make sure your experience is a fun, worthwhile and safe as possible.

Whether you are camping at a festival or having a family holiday in the great outdoors, you need to be aware of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide.

‘But there are no gas boilers here!’ I hear you cry, but the reality is that a lit BBQ will emit carbon monoxide. While this isn’t a problem in an open space, where the fumes will naturally disperse, take the BBQ into an enclosed area such as a tent or a caravan and the gases can build up to potentially lethal levels.

Because carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas you simply don’t know it is there until you begin to feel the effects of poisoning which are similar to flu and include headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness and weakness. The CIPHE offers the following advice to those camping or caravanning this summer:

1) Never take a barbecue into a tent, awning, caravan or motorhome. It will emit carbon monoxide whether it is fully lit or smouldering.

2) Never use a fuel-burning appliance to heat your tent or awning.

3) Never run a gas, petrol or diesel powered generator inside a caravan, motorhome, tent or awning.

4) Don’t cook inside your tent or awning, unless there’s an area specifically designed for this purpose and there is adequate ventilation.

5) Don’t use any other gas, charcoal or liquid fuel appliances inside a tent or awning. Gas-powered fridges and lamps, for example, also need plenty of ventilation to prevent them producing poisonous carbon monoxide. Tents and awnings aren’t generally designed with this in mind.

6) When attaching a walled awning to a motorhome or caravan ensure that flues from built-in water heaters and space heaters are well outside of the awning to ensure safe and correct operation. Remember that built-in water heaters may fire automatically to maintain stored water temperatures.

7) Don’t rely on a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm to keep you safe in a tent or awning. They may be useful at home, in a caravan or in a motorhome, but they are not designed for the conditions found in a tent or awning.

8) Always have gas appliances in your caravan or motorhome serviced regularly.

For more information on Carbon Monoxide visit http://www.ciphe.org.uk/professional-members/public-health/carbon-monoxide/