Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer and a danger to life. Project SHOUT is a UK national campaign to shout about Carbon Monoxide alarms and Carbon Monoxide poisoning. The importance of regular maintenance on all fuel-burning appliances in the home such as gas cookers, gas grills and boilers cannot be emphasised enough and is an essential part of the campaign as well as encouraging people to buy home carbon monoxide alarms. However, this campaign goes further encouraging personal Carbon Monoxide alarms.
Currently some 16.4 million households in the UK could be at risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. This summer in the UK 4,000 people will go to A&E with suspected CO poisoning. Over 200 will stay in hospital and 50 will die. Some of these will be campers who have a faulty appliance in their caravan or have disposed of a charcoal barbecue in a poor way. Project SHOUT is encouraging all people to buy Carbon Monoxide alarms. It emphasises that these are not only for the home but also personal alarms to use while travelling. If you are camping or away on a package holiday you should pack a Carbon Monoxide alarm in your case. There are some tragic cases of Carbon Monoxide poisoning entire families, with fatalities, and these could be prevented by using a suitable alarm.
Carbon Monoxide: Facts
- In the UK 1.2 million people go camping regularly
- Never take a smouldering or lit BBQ into a tent, caravan or cabin. Even if you have finished cooking. The BBQ should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use, even when cold
- Never use a BBQ inside to keep you warm
- Never leave a lit BBQ unattended or while sleeping
- Place your cooking area well away from your tent
- Always ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in the area where the BBQ is being used
- Only use your BBQ in accordance with the operating instructions
Carbon Monoxide: Signs and Symptoms
Remember the signs and symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness. NHS advice on avoiding Carbon Monoxide tragedy includes:
- Warning signs can include symptoms that disappear if you are away from your house, or are worse in winter when the central heating is on
- Other people in the house, or pets, fall ill with similar symptoms
- Clues to a leak can include black, sooty marks around gas fires, boilers or stoves
- Smoke building up in rooms due to faulty flues
- Do not sleep in a room that has an unflued/poorly ventilated gas fire or a paraffin heater
- Make sure your kitchen has an extractor fan
- Yellow instead of blue flames from gas appliances
- To be safe, you should never use ovens or gas ranges to heat your home
- Never use oversized pots on your gas stove, or place foil around the burners
- Make sure rooms are well-ventilated and do not block air vents
- Take a Carbon Monoxide alarm when you travel
Finally, and most importantly to avoid the dangers of Carbon Monoxide always use an alarm wherever you may be.
For more information, please visit Project Shout.