Lack of Ventilation

Lack of Ventilation Major Contributor to CO Camping Death

A camping death in Cumbria in August 2012 , caused by carbon monoxide (CO) fumes from a barbeque, was exacerbated by the airtight conditions inside a camping 'pod'.

All barbeques should carry warnings, telling people that they should only be used outdoors. Unfortunately this is often interpreted as a fire prevention message, whereas the real danger comes from carbon monoxide which is released during and even more so after cooking.

Recent tests carried out by the Cornwall Fire Service have found that emissions of this deadly gas actually increase as a barbeque cools. It seems that with the recent cool summers people have been taking them inside for extra warmth. This is what appears to have happened in the tragedy in Cumbria where a 45 year old man died and his wife was found semi-conscious by his side. She had no recollection of taking the barbeque into the pod.

The pod was so well insulated that there was nowhere for the fumes to escape. However, even in seemingly well ventilated tents there have been deaths due to barbeques being taken inside them. The message remains: Never take a barbeque inside.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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.


Estimated Number of Deaths Every Year

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.

Source: ONS, User Requested Data, Refs 006780, 007476 & 009122


People Treated for CO Poisoning Every Year

Figures from the Department of Health and Social Care 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.

Source: Department for Health and Social Care


Number of People Hospitalised Every Year

According to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, around 200 per year are hospitalised in England and Wales as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Source: Department for Health and Social Care


Percentage of UK Households with a CO Alarm

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

Share Your CO Story

We share real-life stories of our customers to help raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide. Hearing about a near miss can sometimes prompt you to think about your own situation and may highlight a risk within your own home.

If you share your CO story with us, and it is posted on our website, we will give you a free carbon monoxide alarm. Help us spread the word and save lives.


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