Well-seasoned campers and enthusiastic novices alike are exploring the great outdoors, however, the occasional rains and cold spells force the campers back into the tents. What to do with the barbeque left outside in the rain? Take it inside the tent, leave it underneath the flaps of the tent in the hope of warming the tent at the same time? This could be an extremely dangerous mistake to make, as BBQs, especially when slowly dying down produce large amounts of carbon monoxide gas (shortened to CO) which is very dangerous.
The gas is created in small amounts when burning fossil fuels such as coal, woods and LPG gas. The amount of CO increases rapidly if the fire does not burn at high temperatures or with sufficient oxygen. Hence, a BBQ with its dying embers produces large amounts of the gas. Carbon monoxide, when inhaled reacts with your red blood cells and makes them incapable to carry oxygen through your body. The first signs of CO poisoning are headache, nausea, tiredness and eventually death. Carbon monoxide cannot be detected by human senses. It has no taste or smell and cannot be seen either.
So your BBQ that has nearly died down being taken into your tent will fill your tent rapidly with carbon monoxide and will overcome you, especially when you are already asleep.
Even BBQs brought close to a tent are dangerous. There have been cases where children died sleeping in the tent while the parents were having a BBQ in the entrance area which was slowly dying down. A safe distance should therefore be maintained between your sleeping area and your cooking area, with general advice suggesting a minimum space of 3 metres.
You could also be at risk from fumes coming from portable generators. They can also be a potent source of carbon monoxide, so you should always try to avoid being down wind of any exhaust fumes when camping.
You can protect yourself by taking a carbon monoxide detector with you on your travels. It is worth noting, tough, that not all CO detectors are suitable for use when camping. Whilst any audible carbon monoxide detector is better than no detector at all, care should be taken to ensure the device you buy and take with you to protect your family and friends is up to the task.
FireAngel's entire range of carbon monoxide detectors, including the CO-9B, CO-9D, CO-9X and C0-9X-10 models, have been manufactured to be robust enough to stand up to the rigours of travel. FireAngel also contributes heavily to initiatives such as Project Shout which has long advocated the importance of taking carbon monoxide detectors with you when camping or holidaying (#GoWithCO).
To help you purchase the right CO alarm for your camping trip, fire safety company Safelincs have created a dedicated section containing a wide range of carbon monoxide detectors which are able to stand up to the rigours of camping. Models start from less than £15, and all CO detectors supplied by Safelincs come complete with batteries and are ready to travel.
Many people are unaware of the devastating effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide has no colour, smell or taste and cannot be detected by the human senses. It is extremely dangerous, binding itself to the haemoglobin in red blood cells and preventing them from transporting oxygen around the body.
According to statistics released by the Office for National Statistics, throughout England and Wales there are an average of over 60 deaths every year due to accidental exposure to carbon monoxide - up to 45% of which occur in the home.
Figure from the Department of Health show that there are around 4000 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning treated in A&E Departments across England each year - even mild cases can exacerbate existing conditions such as respiratory illnesses, leading to fatalities.
A study of more than 27,000 properties by the Liverpool John Moores University, supported by the Merseyside and West Midlands Fire Services, found that less than 10% of homes have a single carbon monoxide alarm to protect occupants from this deadly gas.
Source: Liverpool John Moores University