Health and Safety expert warns of carbon monoxide danger

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Health and Safety expert warns of carbon monoxide danger

30th August 2011

A Health and Safety expert has called for more awareness into the dangers of carbon monoxide after five holidaymakers were poisoned by the fumes from their barbecue.

Michael Latner, an associate at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the family of five were staying at a caravan park near Newquay in Cornwall when they brought their barbecue into their tent and were overcome by the fumes.

“It is believed the family brought their still smouldering barbecue into their tent before they went to sleep,” said Michael. “In addition to the obvious fire-risk that comes with bringing a lit barbecue into a tent, the carbon monoxide these appliances emit can easily cause serious illness or death.

“Fortunately one of the family woke up during the night and raised the alarm,” added Michael. “It was incredibly lucky that the people in the tent next door were able to quickly help rescue the remaining four family members and bring them out of the tent alive.”

The two adults and three children were rushed to the Royal Cornwall Hospital suffering with the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. They were released unharmed later that day.

“Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and almost impossible to detect without specialist monitoring equipment,” said Michael. “Carbon monoxide kills one person every week in the UK. If inhaled, it enters the bloodstream and affects breathing. Symptoms include drowsiness, headaches, chest pains and nausea and prolonged carbon monoxide exposure can induce unconsciousness, coma and death.

"If all five family members had slept undisturbed throughout the night in the confines of their tent with carbon monoxide fumes lingering under the canvas, the chances of them being alive in the morning would be very slim,” said Michael.

“It is crucial people refrain from using stoves or disposable barbecues either for cooking or for keeping warm, in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation,” continued Michael. “There have been a number of tragic deaths throughout the country involving campers bringing charcoal or gas-fired barbecues into their tents to keep warm and this is the second time this summer that campers in Cornwall have fallen victim to carbon monoxide poisoning after bringing barbecues into their tents.”

How can Fentons help?

If you or a family member has suffered an injury as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Read more: Guardian