Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is something most of us associate with the winter and our central heating or gas fire. However, carbon monoxide is still a risk during the warmer months. Follow these precautions so you can enjoy a summer that’s both sunny and safe.
Camp stoves (and gas BBQs) are fairly low risk if they’re in good condition and used correctly. Just make sure there are no loose connections anywhere and no show signs of excessive wear or rusting.
Only use camp stoves and gas BBQs outside in well-ventilated areas – don’t be tempted to bring them inside if it rains. Flames should be blue – if orange or yellow you may be seeing incomplete combustion (which produces CO) and something might be wrong.
Burning charcoal gives off carbon monoxide. Concentrations of just one part per thousand can be fatal if inhaled for long enough, so make sure you take regular breaks and step away from the BBQ for a while, especially if you start to feel unwell.
If it starts to rain, don’t be tempted to move the BBQ indoors, even to somewhere with a large open door like your garage. Dangerous levels of CO can build up very quickly and it can take as little as 10-15 minutes exposure to start feeling the ill-effects.
If cooking inside, only use a properly fitted cooker intended for a caravan. When cooking outside, place your stove or BBQ at least three metres away from the caravan to prevent fumes getting inside. It’s also well worth investing in a carbon monoxide detector.
Car exhaust fumes are full of carbon monoxide so be careful not to run your engine for too long in an enclosed space. When outside, think about those around you. On a campsite, be aware your exhaust fumes could easily spread to nearby tents.
Just like a caravan, only use stoves designed for the purpose when indoors and think about getting a CO detector. Try not to sit or swim at the back of petrol-driven boats for too long, as you could inhale large amounts of carbon monoxide from the exhaust.
DIY and Gardening
If using petrol driven power tools make sure to keep the area you’re working in well ventilated. Carbon monoxide from the tools exhaust can quickly build up to dangerous levels.
Signs and symptoms
Carbon monoxide is odourless, colourless and tasteless, but can rapidly cause serious injury and even death. Early symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, tiredness, mental confusion, stomach pains and shortness of breath – all of which people can easily dismiss as flu or food poisoning.
If you’re a landlord, run a campsite, boatyard or any other business where carbon monoxide poisoning could be an issue, it is well worth getting some fire awareness training which includes plenty of information on carbon monoxide risk prevention.
To find out more or book a course, give us a call today on 01179 573 039.