Councillor Patricia Stallard, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health, said: “The golden rule is never to use barbecues or any cooking equipment inside tents, or take them into the tent after they have been used. Barbecues give off carbon monoxide gas (CO), which is poisonous. It is not a problem in the open air because it is dispersed and concentrations are low, but it can be particularly dangerous in enclosed spaces. Camping is great fun, but we want people to be aware of the risks and to keep themselves safe.”
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. It is heavier than air, so builds up at ground level, which is especially dangerous for people who sleep on or close to the ground – for example, when camping in a tent. The human body can deal with a small level of CO, but it takes a long time to clear, so repeated small exposures can accumulate.
Here are the County Council’s top tips for camping and BBQ safety:
Pitch your tent a safe distance from other tents, leave a few metres between yours and the next tent. Sites often have minimum distance rules so it’s worth asking before you pitch up.
Ventilation is also important - it refreshes the air that you’re breathing. Don’t be tempted to block the vents.
Never use cookers or BBQs inside a tent. It is a serious fire risk and can be hazardous to anyone inside and in the surrounding area. Some tents have cooking areas, but there will be clear instructions about the precautions you must take.
Keep children well away from BBQ’s, other gas appliances and any fires.
More information on avoiding the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) is available on the NHS Choices web pages.