‘BE Carbon Monoxide Safe this summer’ was the message this week from East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson.
Her warning comes as the camping and caravanning season approaches as tragic deaths occur every year from summertime carbon monoxide poisoning, normally caused by campers taking gas or charcoal barbecues into tents and other enclosed spaces. Generators can also produce lethal doses of the gas, especially within confined spaces such as boats.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas – often dubbed the ‘Silent Killer’ – and can kill quickly if inhaled in high concentrations. The symptoms of poisoning are similar to flu or food poisoning, and include headaches, nausea and dizziness.
Jo Swinson’s call is part of a new national campaign being organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group, a group of MPs from all political parties working to prevent CO deaths in the UK, in conjunction with research body Gas Safety Trust.
Ms Swinson said: “It’s vital that people take the necessary precautions to avoid the tragic loss of life that can occur from carbon monoxide poisoning in the summer months.
“Never make the mistake of thinking that CO poisoning is a winter-only issue. It isn’t. If you’re camping or picnicking this summer, the message is simple - follow the safety measures and protect your family.”
Advice to avoid CO poisoning:
• Never take a barbecue into a tent, caravan or motor home.
• Never place a lit barbecue near the sleeping area outside your tent.
• Never use a fuel-burning appliance to heat your tent or awning. Gas and kerosene heaters, unless they are permanently fitted in a caravan or motor home, should only be used outside.
• Never run a gas-, petrol- or diesel-powered generator inside a caravan, motor home, a boat, tent or awning.
• Do not cook with a stove inside your tent or awning, unless there is an area specifically designed for this purpose, and you are sure there is adequate ventilation.
• Use a portable carbon monoxide alarm as an added precaution.