Know the dangers
The British public love the chance to get outdoors on their holidays. However, when hitching up our caravan or packing our tent, the one thing we often forget about is our attention to carbon monoxide safety.
Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas created when fuel doesn’t burn properly. Undetectable by smell, sight or taste it can quickly spread in a confined area, such as a tent or caravan.
Research we conducted uncovered that millions of families are unknowingly taking risks with their lives, exposing themselves to CO leaking from gas cookers, BBQs and heaters used on holiday. In our survey of 2,000 holidaymakers 45% of people admitted to cooking in their tent or awning, one in five have used a fuel burning appliance to heat their tent and a staggering 17% of people have brought a charcoal or gas BBQ inside the tent.
Only 13 per cent of people have ever had their camping and caravanning gas appliances serviced, despite owning these items for more than four years, on average. This compares with 54 per cent of people who have their domestic gas appliances serviced annually. Even this number is low, as every gas appliance needs regular servicing to ensure it is operating safely.
The roll call of recent tragedies involving carbon monoxide in holiday resorts makes horrific reading.
- In January 2015, retired couple Nan and Francie O’Reilly were found dead in their static caravan at a holiday park in Northern Ireland after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning.
- In 2013, John Cook, 90, wife Audrey, 86, and 46-year-old daughter Maureen were found dead in a caravan in Camborne, Cornwall.
- In nearby Devon the same summer, Bethan O’Brien, 20, died from CO poisoning while camping in Devon after a stove was left burning inside her tent.
- In May 2012, 14-year-old Hannah Thomas-Jones died at a campsite in Bucknell, Shropshire, when a portable barbecue was placed in her tent to keep her warm.
- Also in 2012, six-year-old Isabelle Harris from Gosport died in similar circumstances.
Knowing the dangers of carbon monoxide on holiday should be your first line of defense. However, a carbon monoxide detector can potentially avoid disaster. They are relatively cheap and work as an early warning system similar to a smoke detector. They work all around the home and can be easily taken with you on camping trips or caravan holidays
That’s why we are we are campaigning to make a carbon monoxide detector an essential component of camping safety kit, along with a fire extinguisher, emergency lighting and first aid kit.
For more information about how to stay safe on your holidays check out our checklist of top tips here.