GAS SAFE NEWS 2012
Health warnings for festival goers
7th August 2012
- Gas Safe Register warns of the dangers of carbon monoxide
following several campsite deaths and CO poisoning incidents
- NHS Choices advises how to avoid falling ill or getting
injured, following a high number of incidents throughout last
year’s festival season
Heading to a festival this year? Then don’t be one of the
thousands taken ill, injured, or worse, killed. Last year St.
John’s Ambulance treated almost four thousand people at festivals
where it was the designated first aid provider. In addition, there
have been at least 24 incidents of people being poisoned and dying
from exposure to carbon monoxide caused by barbeque and gas camping
equipment in campsites in the past twelve months.
To try and help revellers stay safe and have fun, NHS Choices -
the health information website for the NHS - and Gas Safe Register
– the government approved gas registration body – have published
separate safety guides offering practical tips on how to stay
When fuels such as charcoal, gas or petrol are burnt
incompletely they cause carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. This is a
highly poisonous gas which can kill quickly, especially in areas
where there is not enough air supply. In the last year, there have
been seven deaths and seventeen injuries in campsites from misuse
of barbeques, including the recent and tragic death of 14-year-old
Hannah Thomas-Jones, who died in May 2012 after her family took
their disposable BBQ into their tent to keep warm.
Gas Safe Register has published a guide on BBQ and camping
safety, available at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk/BBQ which
includes the following top tips:
- Never take a smouldering or lit BBQ (charcoal or gas) or gas
stove, light or heater into a tent, caravan or cabin, unless it is
a permanent fixture, installed and maintained correctly. Even if
you have finished cooking, your BBQ will still give off fumes for
some hours after use.
- Place your cooking area well away from your tent. Always ensure
there is an adequate supply of fresh air where the BBQ is being
- Remember the six main signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide
poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse
and loss of consciousness. If concerned seek medical advice.
- If using a gas appliance check that the appliance is in good
order, undamaged and, where present, that hoses are properly
attached and undamaged. If in doubt get the hoses replaced or don’t
- If using a gas appliance, make sure the gas taps or cylinder
valve are turned off before changing the gas cylinder. Only do it
in the open air. Don’t over-tighten joints.
Too much alcohol, sun and sex, can also be a health risk at
festivals, warns NHS Choices. According to St John’s Ambulance, a
lot of injuries and illnesses treated at festivals could be
NHS Choices has published a guide on festival safety, available
and includes the following advice:
- Drink sensibly – stick within your recommended
limits, and drink plenty of water to avoid a nasty hangover.
- Keep your medication safe – if you take
medication, make sure you take it with you and store it
- Stay clean – reduce your risk of picking up
nasty germs and spreading disease by washing your hands regularly
and using antibacterial gel.
- Sex – Stay safe and use a condom to prevent
STIs and pregnancy. If you need emergency contraception, go to the
festival medical centre.
- Keep feet dry – to prevent fungal infections,
give your feet a break from damp warm wellies and change your socks
- Stay connected – mobile reception can be
unreliable at festivals, set a pre-arranged meeting place so you
don’t lose your friends.
- Give your ears a break – speakers around
stages can reach 110 decibels. So if you do get close to speakers,
wear ear plugs.
- Be sensible in the sun – don’t forget to wear
sunscreen, drink water and keep covered up to prevent, sunburn and
- Stay hydrated – always drink plenty of water.
The combination of sun, dancing, and alcohol can leave you feeling
dizzy, and dehydrated.
- Know where your medical centre is – when you
arrive on site find out where your nearest medical centre is so
that if you have an accident you can seek help quickly.
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