Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
12:00 AM 1st June 2024

Beware Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning This National BBQ Week

Image by Hai Nguyen Tien from Pixabay
Image by Hai Nguyen Tien from Pixabay
Gas company warns of ‘silent killer’ after increase in emergency call outs; Carbon monoxide (CO) kills 60 people and hospitalises 4,000 every year in the UK; 40% of people have a low awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide

With National BBQ Week just around the corner (4-9 June 2024) and warmer weather on its way a local gas company is issuing a warning to stay CO-safe when using barbeques, camping stoves, pizza ovens and other carbon fuel burning devices.

Cases of hospitalisations and even fatalities from carbon monoxide poisoning involving barbeques and portable cooking devices occur every year in the UK. Northern Gas Networks is now issuing further CO-safety advice ahead of National BBQ Week.

Laura Ratcliffe, Social Strategy Programme Manager from Northern Gas Networks, says:
“While many recognise other risks of barbequing or cooking outdoors, such as food poisoning, burns, child safety, garden fires and accidents, there is still such a gap in knowledge about the danger of CO fumes that are emitted.

“The fact is, you should never, ever use a barbeque or any other carbon fuel burning cooking equipment indoors or in a tent or caravan, as the fumes can be fatal in confined spaces. If you’re having a barbeque with family and friends this weekend, or going camping where you’ll be using a stove outside, please be extra vigilant.”

Never take a smouldering or lit BBQ into a tent, caravan or cabin. Even if you have finished cooking, the BBQ should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use
Never use a BBQ inside to keep you warm
Never leave a lit BBQ unattended or while sleeping
Place your cooking area well away from your tent.
Always ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in the area where the BBQ is being used
Only use your BBQ in accordance with the operating instructions.
If you are heading on a boat trip or camping holiday, pack an audible CO alarm
Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.

Laura adds:
“The dangers of being too close to an open fire are clear to most of us, but what many people don't know is the potentially fatal threat of carbon fuel cooking equipment – for example, on a barbeque or camping stove - that is no longer burning. Once the flame has gone out, carbon monoxide continues to be produced and is no longer burnt off. In a well-ventilated area, this is no problem, but in a poorly ventilated area, the carbon monoxide can accumulate to toxic levels. That’s why it’s so vital that equipment such as BBQs, camping stoves and pizza ovens are never brought inside.”

Barbeques should never be used indoors as they can cause death. They should only be used in well-ventilated outdoor areas. Never bring a barbeque or camping stove inside an enclosed area, such as a home, tent, caravan or boat. Even when they are extinguished and cold to touch, they can still pose a CO risk.

Call 0800 111 999 if you smell gas or suspect carbon monoxide. The National Gas Emergency Service is in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Find out more tips for keeping CO-safe: