With the holidays upon us, OFTEC, which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Northern Ireland, is reminding the public to be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning whilst camping and caravanning.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is mostly associated with domestic fossil fuel burning appliances in the home. However, incidents and fatalities can also occur whilst camping with faulty gas cookers, appliances, petrol powered generators and even by gas or charcoal barbeques being brought inside.
David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland Manager said, ‘It’s holiday season and everyone deserves to enjoy a hard-earned break. We are keen to remind people that just because you are on holiday, it doesn’t mean that caution should also to be left at home. We all need to be aware that accidents, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, can be just as deadly away from the home and we hope our tips will help keep people safe this summer.”’
OFTEC recommends the following precautionary tips to protect you and your family when camping and caravanning this summer:
• Although we are used to our fair share of rain, never barbeque inside. Even a cooling barbecue gives off plenty of poisonous carbon monoxide (CO), which can kill, so never use it indoors.
• Never use a fuel-burning appliance to warm up your tent or awning. Although it can be tempting, gas and kerosene heaters that are not permanently fitted should not be used for indoor heating.
• Never run a gas, petrol or diesel-powered generator inside a caravan, motorhome, tent or awning. And when using one outdoors, it’s important to ensure fumes don’t blow into your unit or a neighbours.
• Install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in your caravan or tent as an extra safety measure.
• However, this is only one preventative measure and can provide a false sense of security. OFTEC strongly advices carvanners to have their appliances, such as boilers and cookers, serviced regularly by a qualified technician as they face a greater risk if they have an old or poorly maintained boiler. An OFTEC Registered Technician will use a flue gas analyser to check for carbon monoxide emissions and perform a combustion test that can lead to improvements in energy efficiency, cost savings on energy bills and can extend the life of the appliance by avoiding costly repairs/replacements to your caravan.
• For those who have an oil tank attached to their caravan, any service should include a tank check. This vital part of the oil heating system is often ignored as out of sight is often out of mind but all oil tanks should be checked annually for signs of wear and tear. It is recommended that tanks should be replaced if over 20 years old and a visual inspection will quickly identify if your tank is fit for purpose.