Council highlights risk of carbon monoxide poisoning this summer

Published: 9th July 2018

With the main tourism season fast approaching,  Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is supporting the Public Health Agency’s campaign to raise awareness of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning this summer.

With many tourists coming into the district to enjoy camping, caravanning or boating holidays during the season, the Council is taking the opportunity to highlight the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in enclosed spaces.

Commenting on the initiative, the Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Cllr Howard Thornton, said:

“While we may think carbon monoxide is usually associated with domestic fossil fuel-burning appliances, incidents and even deaths can also occur in caravans and on boats. Given the significant number of visitors to our district on camping, caravanning and boating holidays, and the large number of caravan and camping sites and marinas in the district, the Council is keen to raise awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe holiday experience in our district”.

Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer at the Public Health Agency, Hilary Johnston said:

“Carbon monoxide can build up very quickly in enclosed spaces to levels that can kill and has been linked to deaths where people have brought gas and charcoal barbecues into tents and other small enclosed spaces.  It is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas that is non-irritating and as a result can be very hard to detect.”

The signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for other illnesses, such as food poisoning or flu.  Anyone who suspects they have carbon monoxide poisoning should immediately go outside into the fresh air and seek urgent medical attention.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • headaches;
  • dizziness;
  • breathlessness;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • exhaustion;
  • drowsiness;
  • light-headedness;
  • collapse and loss of consciousness.

Safety steps to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm in your caravan, holiday home or boat. These alarms have a limited life span, so if you’ve had one for a while, please check to see if they are working properly – it might be time to buy a new one;
  • Never take a barbecue inside;
  • Never use a fuel-burning appliance to heat your tent, awning, caravan or boat. Gas and kerosene heaters, unless they are permanently fitted in a caravan or motorhome, should only be used outside;
  • Never run a gas, petrol or diesel-powered generator inside;
  • Don’t cook inside your tent or awning;
  • Don’t use any other gas, charcoal, liquid or solid fuel appliances inside a tent or awning. Gas-powered fridges and lamps, for example, also need plenty of ventilation to prevent them producing poisonous carbon monoxide. Tents and awnings aren’t generally designed with this in mind;
  • Always have gas appliances in your caravan or boat serviced regularly, by a competent Gas Safe registered engineer.

For further information or advice on Carbon Monoxide poisoning or on obtaining Carbon Monoxide alarms, please contact the Home Safety Officer, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council by telephone on  0300 303 1777 (all calls charged at local rate) or Textphone on 028 8225 6216 or by email at home.safety@fermanaghomagh.com

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