Beware The Danger Of CO Poisoning When Using BBQs

Whether at home or on holiday summer is BBQ time, but they can pose a real risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if used in poorly ventilated or confined areas like inside a tent or the awning of a caravan.  Timely advice comes from the Carbon Monoxide Helpline.


23 April 2014 – It was this time last year that a young teenage girl died from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by the fumes from a disposable barbecue placed inside her family’s tent during their bank holiday camping break, and regrettably there have been a number of similar tragic incidents in recent years.


The Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES), who operate the free consumer advice service the Carbon Monoxide Helpline, say that too many families are still unaware of the risks involved with taking lit or smouldering BBQs inside tents, awnings or caravans; pointing out that barbecue charcoal can smoulder for hours after lighting and the remaining ash could also start a fire.  Even at home, a BBQ used in a sheltered or confined area can pose a danger.


Roderick Pettigrew, Chief Executive of B&ES, comments, “Families going camping or caravanning in the coming months need to be aware that carbon monoxide can build up very quickly in enclosed spaces, such as tents and awnings, to levels that can kill.  And with the chill of evening they might be tempted to use the still burning coals of a BBQ for warmth.   But this could prove fatal – BBQs should never be used or left inside tents or awnings once they have been lit.  Even at home there can be a danger, for example taking a BBQ inside a garage or car port if it starts to rain.


“Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless, non-irritant gas.  It is the most common cause of fatal poisoning in the UK, with 40 people each year being killed by it and hundreds more made seriously ill.  And, whilst the majority of incidents happen in the home, there is a risk from exposure in holiday accommodation, caravans, motor homes, tents and boats as these often use fuel burning appliances in what can be a poorly ventilated area.”


The Carbon Monoxide Helpline provides comprehensive information about the dangers of CO poisoning and how to keep out of harm’s way from this “silent killer”.  You can call the Freephone Helpline number 0800 810 8464 anytime or visit the website at: