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CO poisoning a danger to holidaying Brits warns Gas Safe Register

By Katie Anderson on July 19, 2013

With most of Britain currently experiencing unusually high temperatures, Brits enjoying their summer holidays are being warned about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

More than 29 million Brits are due to holiday close to home this year, leading to large numbers of people staying in caravans and tents or renting holiday cottages and boats. CO poisoning presents a real danger for holidaymakers, yet many are completely unaware of the danger they face if they go to light up their barbeque or use a portable gas camping stove, should a sudden cold spell set in.

In the last two years 40 holidaymakers in Britain have been injured or died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in such circumstances. The UK’s official gas safety body, Gas Safe Register, has teamed up with the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) to highlight the dangers.

A lack of knowledge surrounding carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the main contributing factors, according to a Gas Safe Register survey which took into account the views of 650 people. The research, carried out in June 2013, revealed some disturbing results, with 53% of Brits saying they were unaware that a smoking charcoal barbeque in a caravan, motor home or tent can result in CO poisoning.

Setting aside common sense, 38% of the survey’s participants claimed not to realise that a portable gas camping stove can lead to CO poisoning while 22% of those questioned didn’t realise that gas appliances in poorly ventilated spaces, such as caravans and motor homes, can lead to a build up of carbon monoxide. 8% said they would probably even go so far as to move a barbeque into their caravan or tent if they needed to warm up.

Known as the silent killer because it has no smell and cannot be seen or tasted, carbon monoxide is a potentially lethal poisonous gas. What makes CO poisoning even more tragic is that in many cases injury and death has the potential to be avoided if more people were aware of the risks involved and familiar with the warning signs if it strikes.

Top tips to stay safe this summer

  • The symptoms of CO poisoning can be hard to spot. But there are six main signs to look out for: dizziness, headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.
  • If your holiday accommodation has gas appliances check that they have been serviced and have undergone a safety check. If you’re renting accommodation property owners are required to do this by law.
  • Check that gas appliances are in good order and undamaged.
  • It’s important to recognise the signs of a dodgy appliance. Look out for black stains or marks around the appliance. A yellow flame instead of a crisp blue one is another indication that the gas appliance isn’t working properly.

For more information read our article 10 things you need to know about carbon monoxide poisoning.