An online poll of 2,000 people carried out by OnePoll on behalf of the Gas Safety Trust found that despite a sustained campaign over the last few years, almost half of those questioned (49%), who had been to a festival in the last six months, said that they would use a barbecue inside their tent.
The poll also found that as many as 61% of the same festival goers thought it safe to do the same with a gas cooker and that 52% of them would use a cooking appliance to heat the tent.
It was also discovered that four out of five campers fail to take a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm with them whilst over one third of campers overall would use a gas cooker inside the tent.
CO is a highly dangerous toxic gas that can kill. It is produced by any fossil fuel (e.g. gas, coal, oil, wood, charcoal) that burns incompletely. It has no smell, taste or colour.
Commenting on the polls’ findings, Chris Bielby, Chair of the Gas Safety Trust said:
"It is very important that festival goers are aware of the serious health risks from taking barbecues or camping stoves into tents. Over recent years we have seen an emerging trend of injury and fatalities from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by barbecues and camping equipment.
The Gas Safety Trust urges anyone going camping to take an audible carbon monoxide alarm with them and to make sure they cook in an open well ventilated area. It is important to remember that even a cold to the touch barbecue can be a source of carbon monoxide and should be kept out of your tent or caravan.
Being carbon monoxide aware will keep you safe from the silent killer".
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