Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas which is colourless and odourless. It is produced when a fuel such as charcoal, gas or petrol burns incompletely. This might be because an appliance isn’t working properly. And you may not realise that barbecues produce carbon monoxide even when they are working well.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Breathing in carbon monoxide can make you feel unwell. Telltale signs of CO poisoning are headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness and weakness.
Higher concentrations of CO will give more severe symptoms. Symptoms may include vertigo, loss of coordination, breathlessness, increased heart rate, seizures or unconsciousness. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can kill; it is known as the silent killer.
In the UK more than 200 people go to hospital every year with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning which leads to around 50 deaths.
Keep Yourself and Your Family Safe
- Do not take a smouldering or lit BBQ into a tent, caravan or awning. Always leave the BBQ outside as it will give off fumes for a number of hours after use.
- Do not use a fuel burning appliance or BBQ inside as a way to keep warm.
- Do not use any other gas, charcoal, liquid or solid fuel appliances inside a tent or awning. Gas-powered appliances need plenty of ventilation to prevent them producing poisonous carbon monoxide. Awnings and tents are not designed with this in mind.
- Fit a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. Ensure it is suitable for the conditions you intend to use it, check with the supplier/manufacturer.
- Always have gas appliances in your caravan or motorhome serviced regularly by a qualified person. If you suspect a problem, get it checked out.
- Never leave a lit BBQ unattended or whilst sleeping.
- Always ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air where the BBQ is being used.
- Only use appliances or BBQ in accordance with the operating instructions.