While the British public are more aware of the effects of carbon monoxide than ever before, with more than half of homeowners having a detector in their home, far less are apply the same standard when they go on holiday.
Our research uncovered that millions of families are unknowingly taking risks with their lives, exposing themselves to CO leaking from gas cookers, BBQs and heaters used inside their tent or caravan.
The Survey Results
Our survey of 2,000 holidaymakers revealed a worrying lack of understanding about the risk that campers and caravaners are taking, using gas appliances that emit the deadly fumes in confined areas. 45% of people cook 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.
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 – yet our research showed more than a quarter of people (28 per cent) surveyed believe that you can smell it, while almost one in 10 believe you can taste it. Almost one in two (43 per cent) do not know how the gas is created
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. One in ten surveyed didn’t know that appliances burning with a yellow (rather than blue) flame would give cause for concern.
Early symptoms of CO poisoning involve headaches, fatigue and nausea before victims become unconscious, leading to long term brain damage and effectively suffocating the victim through oxygen deprivation. However of those surveyed, many couldn’t recognise the symptoms, with some expecting to experience blurred vision (30%), cough (22%), streaming eyes (9%) or stomach pains (6%).
What you can do?
A carbon monoxide detector taken on holiday could be a lifesaver. 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.
Mark Leslie, CEO of CORGI HomePlan, comments, “Cooking appliances should only be used in well ventilated spaces and never taken indoors afterwards, even if they are cold to the touch. By packing a simple CO detector in your luggage and setting it up in your tent or holiday caravan, it leaves you free to enjoy a worry-free holiday.”
Our top tips for CO Safety on holiday
- Don’t use a barbecue inside your tent, awning, caravan or motorhome. The smouldering coals of a barbecue release poisonous carbon monoxide (CO), which can kill.
Remember – barbecues give off carbon monoxide during use, and may continue to do so for some while after use.
- Do not move a barbecue into a confined space until it is extinguished and has cooled down and NEVER use a lit or extinguished (but still warm) barbecue as a source of heating in a tent or awning.
It is not safe to cook inside your tent or awning as there may be inadequate ventilation and there’s also the risk of fire.
- Always ensure there is adequate ventilation when using your caravan or motorhome cooker.
- Always check there are no obstructions covering ventilators.
- Never use a gas, petrol or diesel-powered generator inside a caravan, motorhome, tent or awning.
- Never use fuel-burning appliances such as refrigerator, gas-powered heaters or lamps inside a tent or awning.
- It is vitally important to have gas appliances serviced and tested annually.
- A carbon monoxide (CO) alarm is a good idea. Choose a ‘Type B’ alarm that complies with the BS EN 50291 standard, and install it 1-3m (measured horizontally) from any potential source of carbon monoxide, but not directly above a source of heat or steam.