The most dangerous time with gas appliances is probably when you are changing the cartridge or cylinder. Make sure you are familiar with the way the cartridge or cylinder fits on the appliance or regulator:
- Never change the fuel container inside your tent or inside a building. Do it outside and away from naked flames.
- If you think the appliance, cylinder or cartridge may be leaking, particularly if liquid gas starts to spray out, then get everyone away from the appliance until the container is empty and the gas has dispersed naturally.
- Dispose of empty gas containers with care.
- Never throw them on a fire because any gas residue inside could lead to an explosion.
- Never take a barbecue into a tent, awning, caravan or motorhome. Even a cooling barbecue gives off plenty of poisonous carbon monoxide (CO), which can kill.
- Never use a fuel-burning appliance to heat your tent or awning. Gas and kerosene heaters – unless they are permanently fitted in a caravan or motorhome – should only be used outside. Stoves and barbecues are designed for cooking not space heating.
- Never run a gas, petrol or diesel-powered generator inside a caravan, motorhome, tent or awning. Make sure fumes from a generator don’t blow into your unit or anyone else’s from outside either. Note – generators are not allowed at Bestival unless they are build into a Caravan or Campervan.
- 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.
- Consider using a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm, provided it is suitable for the condition you intend to use it, check with the supplier/manufacturer, though it should never be used as an alternative to the precautions above.
- Always have gas appliances in your caravan or motorhome serviced regularly.
You cannot smell, taste or see carbon monoxide but it can kill quickly and without warning. Early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning can give symptoms similar to food poisoning or flu, though without a high temperature.
- Symptoms to look out for include: Headaches; dizziness; feeling sick; tiredness and confusion; stomach pains or shortness of breath.
- Higher concentrations can give more severe symptoms: Symptoms of intoxication; vertigo, as if the environment is spinning; loss of coordination; breathlessness and high heart beat rate; seizures or unconsciousness leading to death.