Going camping? Beware of a ‘silent killer’

With the summer festival season in full flow people in Gloucestershire are being warned to keep safe from the silent killer.

Gas distribution businessWales & West Utilities is warning of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from camping stoves and barbeques and is asking parents to make sure their festival-going teenagers are well aware of the risks before they set off on their camping weekends.

aime Falarczyk, Wales & West Utilities CorporateAffairs Manager, said, “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun, but there are a few safety messages that need to be remembered along with the funky wellies and many packs of wet wipes for summer festivals and camping trips.

“People should generally not cook inside tents, but if there is a designated cooking area, then make sure that your cooker is properly ventilated. The big no-no is taking a BBQ inside a tent or into an enclosed space, and that includes even if it appears to have burnt out. Only a very small amount of carbon monoxide can kill or cause serious brain injuries, and you can’t see or smell it, so you don’t know it’s there.

“The message to everyone is, stay safe and keep BBQs out of tents.”

The so-called silent killer causes 50 fatalities a year in the UK leaving a further 200 seriously ill. Odourless and tasteless, symptoms from the gas include headache, dizziness, vomiting and shortness of breath.

Last Easter a six-year-old girl died during a familycamping trip to the New Forest as a result of fumes given off from a barbecue.

To protect against the risks of CO poisoning in the home, people can install an audible CO alarm, but the most important thing to do is to have an annual service of all appliances that burn any fuel – gas, coal, oil, petrol or wood, and to sweep chimneys and flues regularly. For tenanted properties, landlords are legally obliged to arrange annual gas safety checks.

Visible signs that CO may be present include gas appliances burning with a lazy yellow or orange flame instead of being crisp and blue and increased condensation on windows. Pilot lights may blow out frequently, and soot or yellowy brown staining may be seen around or on appliances.

If anyone suspects CO poisoning, they should turn appliances off and open doors and windows to ventilate the area. Get everyone outside into fresh air immediately and call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.

Wales & West Utilities is a regulated gas distribution business with around 35,000 km of gas distribution pipelines in Wales and the south west of England. With its main offices in Newport, South Wales and with around 1,300 staff, the company’s catchment area has a population of 7.5 million.

In addition to laying new gas pipes, making new gas connections and moving and replacing pipes and meters, it is Wales & West Utilities’ skilled engineers who respond to gas emergency calls in our geographic area, by providing 24-hour 365 days a year service to ensure the safety of our customers and consumers.

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