Be carbon monoxide (CO) aware
Never take a lit or smouldering barbecue into a tent or caravan. The charcoal from a barbecue emits poisonous carbon monoxide, which is odourless and colourless, for a long time after you have finished cooking.
Ideally you should keep barbecues down wind and well clear of tents to ensure the fumes do not build up in any nearby tents.
Barbecues, gas and charcoal all emit poisonous CO. Never use them indoors or within tents during camping.
Carbon monoxide (CO) awareness
Making sure your appliances are safe
Check your appliances regularly:
- look for signs of incomplete burning of fuel, such as when the pilot light or flame from a gas appliance is burning orange or yellow instead of mostly blue or the pilot light is frequently blowing out
- CO can also be found in the smoke coming from solid-fuel, wood or oil-burning appliances
- paraffin heaters in poor condition can also be a source of CO
- CO may be present if you notice sooty or yellow / brown staining on or around the appliance or if you see or smell smoke or have excessive condensation in the room where the appliance is installed
- blackening of the china clay radiant of gas fires is another sign of poor combustion
- appliances installed in rented student accommodation should receive an annual safety check to ensure that they function properly. This is a responsibility of the landlord
Barbecue and patio heater safety tips
When you're having a barbecue:
- make sure your barbecue sits flat and away from fences, trees and sheds
- keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies
- use only enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue to a depth of about five centimetres (two inches)
- never use petrol or paraffin to start, or revive, your barbecue. Use only barbecue fire lighters or starter fuel on cold coals
- keep children and pets away from the cooking area
- don’t leave the barbecue unattended
- after cooking make sure the barbecue is cool before trying to move it
- empty ashes onto bare soil not into a bin
Be aware that the area underneath a disposable barbecue becomes hot enough to cause serious burns.
When moving a portable barbecue, ensure that no-one, especially children and animals, can burn themselves by stepping on the area where it was positioned. Cool the area by covering it with cold water, or dig the area over straight away with cool sand.
Never put a disposable barbecue into a dustbin until it is completely cool.
Gas barbecues and patio heaters: additional tips
Follow these extra tips if you are using a gas barbecue or patio heater:
- make sure your barbecue or heater is in good working order
- make sure the tap is off before changing the gas cylinder and do it in the open air
- don’t over-tighten joints
- when you have finished cooking turn off the gas cylinder before you turn off the barbecue controls. This means any gas in the pipeline will be used up
- read the manufacturer’s instructions about how to check for leaks in the cylinder or pipework eg brush soapy water around all joints and look for bubbles
Storing gas cylinders safely
Don’t keep more cylinders than you need. Gas cylinders should be kept outside, away from direct sunlight and frost. If you have to keep them inside your house, do not store them under the stairs.
If there is a fire they could explode and the stairs are likely to be your escape route.