It’s National Picnic Week! Eating al fresco in the sun with family and friends is great fun. Many people will be tempted to add to the occasion by firing up the barbecue at home or going on a camping or caravanning trip.
However, as many as two in five campers and caravaners have admitted to bringing lit barbecues inside tents and caravans in a bid to keep warm when the unpredictable British weather turns bad and the rain starts to pour.
It’s vital to understand the risks involved when using gas cookers and barbecues – that all emit potentially lethal carbon monoxide, even when the flames are extinguished – in confined spaces.
Check out our health and safety tips to ensure that you make the most of the summer and National Picnic Week:
- Choose a safe place to set up your barbecue, ideally in an open space, so you can get adequate fresh air to avoid the fumes.
- If you’re using a disposable barbecue, place it on a flat surface when lit and keep it clear of any trees, shrubs or plants, in case they ignite.
- Keep a close eye on the kids at all times and ensure you warn them of the dangers of getting too close to the flames.
- Always keep a bucket of water close by, so in case of an emergency you can act quickly.
- Never cook inside a caravan, caravan awning, porch or tent with limited ventilation. Even after a lit barbecue has been extinguished, CO is still emitted, which can kill.
- Never use fuel burners or gas stoves to keep you warm in your caravan or tent.
- Be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning. They are similar to flu-like symptoms such as nausea, headache, breathlessness or dizziness.