Spreading the word: carbon monoxide from barbecues kills

The CO warning poster

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 avatar Posted by
Candy Evans
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Candy Evans

Candy Evans avatar

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.

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Camping & Caravaning Comments - 2 comments

john parsons

A carbon monoxide monitor alarm is a must have,when camping or caravanning.I recently bought a secondhand caravan.My concern was wether the gas heater was safe & not emitting dangerouse carbon monoxide.Pleased to report it was ok & monitor did not detect any...Was not going to use the heater untill proven.After all theirs me & the wife n kids...Cost is peanuts...no exuse for anybody not to have one.By the way my alarm is duel.Its a smoke alarm as well..

March 17, 2013 Reply to this Comment

Candy Evans

Thanks for this John and I agree about the CO alarm in a caravan – though please get your gas systems checked out by a qualified person anyway! The monitor doesn’t replace a proper safety check.

Also – tent campers should be aware that the current CO monitor standard (EN50291:2-2010) doesn’t seem to cover the damp conditions you can find in a tent so the Club doesn’t recommend relying on a CO monitor in a tent or awning.

March 18, 2013 Reply to this Comment

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