Gas Safety On Holiday
Stay Gas Safe whilst holidaying in the UK or abroad
Holidays are a time to relax and forget about your everyday worries, so gas safety may not be top of your priorities when you’re gearing up for a trip. However, gas safety on holiday is just as important as it is at home because when you’re on holiday you have much less knowledge or control over the state of any gas appliances.
There’s not much difference between gas safety in a caravan or gas safety on boats, but do you consider gas safety when camping in a tent? Gas camping stoves, gas heaters (such as table and patio heaters), and even solid fuel BBQs can cause carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. If you bring them into a tent, a caravan or any other enclosed space, during or after use, they can emit harmful CO putting anyone around them in danger, so remember never leave a lit or recently used BBQ indoors.
It’s also important to remember that gas safety regulations in other countries will differ from those outside the UK. While you can’t be expected to know what’s legal and what’s not everywhere you go, you can keep yourself and loved ones safe when on holiday by following some simple tips.
Tips for gas safety on holiday
You should start thinking about gas safety when planning your holiday, and during your stay you should always be alert for the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and badly maintained or poorly installed gas appliances.
The following are things you should consider before and during your holiday to help you stay gas safe while you’re away:
- Ask if the gas appliances in your accommodation have been serviced and safety checked. In the UK the owner of a holiday home or caravan is legally obliged to do this, and should be able to provide you with an up to date gas safety record.
- Take an audible carbon monoxide alarm with you. You may find it difficult to purchase one when travelling abroad, and when holidaying in the UK it makes sense to take one with you. Make sure the model you purchase is suitable to be kept in hand luggage, is marked EN 50291 and carries the British Standards kitemark.
- When you arrive, the appliances may not work in the same way as those you have at home. If no instructions are provided, then contact your holiday rep or accommodation owner for assistance if you’re unsure.
- Be aware of the signs of unsafe gas appliances:
- Black marks and stains around the appliance.
- Lazy orange or yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones.
- High levels of condensation in your accommodation.
- Never use gas cookers, stoves or BBQs for heating, and ensure they have adequate ventilation when in use.
What to do if you suspect a gas leak
If you can smell gas or think there could be a gas leak within the property, it’s important to act fast. A gas leak also carries the risk of fire or explosion.
- Extinguish any naked flames to stop the chance of fire or explosion.
- Turn off the gas at the meter if possible (and safe to do so).
- Open windows to allow ventilation and ensure the gas dissipates.
- Leave the area immediately to prevent risk to life.
- Inform your holiday rep or accommodation owner immediately.
- Seek medical attention if you feel unwell or show signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you’re holidaying in the UK, remember you can contact the gas emergency service provider for the country you’re in if you have immediate concerns.
Carbon monoxide poisoning on holiday
When you’re on holiday you’re going to relax and you may indulge yourself. You might have a bit more to drink than you would at home, spend more time out in the sun, or be more active than usual. It’s important to be aware that symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to some of the effects of other holiday related sicknesses such as food poisoning, hangovers and dehydration. Never use gas cookers, stoves or BBQs for heating, and ensure they have adequate ventilation when in use.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can also be caused by a solid fuel BBQ. In 2011 Roland Wessling lost his partner to CO poisoning when they put their cold BBQ in their tent overnight to avoid it being rained on. You can read Roland’s story here.
Visit our page on BBQ safety tips for more information on how to stay safe.
Frequently asked questions
Turning your gas off while on holiday can mitigate the potential for dangerous gas leaks to occur in your absence as well as saving some money on heating. However, some boilers have a ‘holiday’ or ‘frost protection’ mode which will keep the boiler running at a low setting. This can help ensure your property is protected against damp and/ or frost.
Bottled gas is often given an additive to ensure it has a unique smell. If you believe you can smell gas it’s important that you provide as much ventilation as possible if inside and avoid anything that may create a spark including light switches.
If accessible, turn off the gas at the source; outside box or inlet within the property, and contact a Gas Safe registered engineer or the relevant authority in your chosen destination.
It’s a legal requirement for Holiday accommodation owners in the UK to provide a Gas Safety Record which details the latest inspection. Only Gas Safe registered engineers can provide a Gas Safety Record and if you have any concerns, you should first speak to your holiday rep or accommodation owner
A Gas Safety Certificate will cover all items checked during the inspection. These are required when there are gas appliances in your property (or grounds) and the inspection will assess the safety of appliances, flues and pipework.
Our Gas Safety on Holiday Video Advice
I'm currently packing to go away on holiday and the last thing I want to worry about is the safety of the gas appliances when I get there. I know my appliances are safe here because I have them checked by a gas safe registered engineer on an annual basis.
Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can be fatal, and I'd like to give you some top tips to ensure that you feel safe while you're away.
Excessive staining around the outside of an appliance, excessive condensation, or a raggedy yellow flame instead of a blue perky flame would be of a concern so please notify reception your tour rep or the owner of the property if you have concerns.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness and feeling sick - not to be confused with food poisoning or perhaps a hangover.
Whenever I go away on holiday, I take an audible carbon monoxide alarm please ensure that it's suitable for travel.
If you smell gas in your holiday accommodation extinguish all naked flames don't use matches or lighters, don't switch on or off electrical appliances or light switches and if possible, turn off the gas supply open all doors and windows and leave the building - inform reception the agent or owner immediately.