Gas safety on holiday

Stay gas safe when on holiday at home 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, and potentially more so 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 think about gas safety when camping in a tent? Gas camping stoves, gas heaters (such as table and patio), and even solid fuel BBQ 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 of 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

Gas safety on holiday starts before you arrive, 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 stay to stay gas safe on holiday:

  • 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’ll find that they are rare when travelling abroad, and even 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.
  • 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 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 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.

You should:

  • 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 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 can mimic some of the effects of other holiday related sicknesses such as food poisoning, hangovers and dehydration.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can also be caused by 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 or visit our page on BBQ safety for more information on how to stay safe.

You can download our tips on gas safety on holiday as a printable PDF by clicking the button below.


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