It’s a brutal message that doesn’t sit comfortably with our relaxed holiday pastime, but the reality is a lit charcoal barbecue gives off enough carbon monoxide (CO) to kill – even if it’s not hot enough to cook on.
Over the last year the Club has been at the forefront of a camping safety campaign and I’ve had the privilege of being involved. It’s been tough at times, especially when I spent an afternoon with Danielle –14-year-old Hannah Thomas-Jones’s mum. Hannah died in May 2012 after the family put their barbecue into the porch area of the tent overnight. Danielle is an amazing lady and the power of her testimony underlined the need for an awareness campaign. The family knew nothing about the dangers of carbon monoxide from a barbecue before Hannah’s death.
The Club produced a warning poster that’s displayed at all Club Sites and Camping in the Forest Sites and is available for any campsite to use – free of charge. We also spearheaded a campaign to raise awareness among festival goers last summer. Many festivals displayed our posters in camping areas and others were getting the message out in other ways.
I’ve also just discovered that our campaign to encourage tent manufacturers to include information in tents is also bearing fruit. Several tent brands, including Outwell and Khyam, will now carry our warning symbol.
Wouldn’t it be great if 2013 marked the first year that no-one said: “I didn’t know that”? And as a result no-one felt groggy – or worse – after breathing in the colourless, odourless gas that is carbon monoxide from a charcoal barbecue?
Please help spread the word.
Candy Evans is Test Editor for Camping & Caravanning.
She took a less conventional path into magazine journalism via physics and a decade in computer consultancy, turning to caravanning and writing during a career break as a full-time mum.
Her interests are wide and include the Club’s Archive – though she’s careful to wash her hands after checking 1919 editions of the Club’s magazine to avoid lurking traces of influenza.