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NOW CLOSED How much do you know about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning? Talk to Sprue Safety Products - you could win a £150 voucher

(153 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 28-May-12 11:14:01

The makers of FireAngel carbon monoxide alarms, (Sprue Safety Products), would like to find out how aware Mumsnetters are of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. It's a topic you may know a lot or a little about.

They say "With the Jubilee celebrations and half term break coming up, we expect that many families will be heading off to enjoy an extended bank holiday - either under canvas, in a caravan or in other self catering accommodation. The recent tragic death of a teenage girl on a campsite in Shropshire has raised the profile of carbon monoxide poisoning - but we are interested to know whether parents understand the potentially fatal dangers of bringing a barbecue inside a tent or the risks that a faulty boiler poses?"

Sprue Safety Products is hoping to raise awareness of this issue with this thread and to generate discussion about how parents treat holiday accommodation (and how aware you are of CO safety in your own home). So please have a read of the questions below and a think about this topic and share your thoughts, stories and experiences.


How aware are you of the dangers of CO poisoning?
Do you take any precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your own home?
How about on holiday, do you take the same level of care in tents/caravans/self catering accommodation as you do in your own home? Do you have some kind of safety checklist?
If so, what steps do you take towards protecting you and your family from CO poisoning?

They would also like to find out your level of knowledge about the effects of CO poisoning:

What do you think the signs of CO poisoning are?
Would you be able to recognise these signs?
Would you/do you take a CO alarm on holiday with you?

And also about education for families of this topic:
Would you like more information on how to prevent CO poisoning in your own home or when on holiday?
What information would you like and how would you like this information to be available?


Everyone who adds their comments to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £150 Amazon voucher, and 5 runners up will receive a portable, 7 year life FireAngel CO-9X carbon monoxide alarm.

More information on the dangers of CO poisoning and how to prevent it can be found here.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw.

MNHQ

+++++++

(A message from Sprue Safety Products, added later in the thread and reposted here for clarity)

"Thank you all for taking part in this discussion and sharing your knowledge of carbon monoxide - and the alarming experiences some of you have had.

We would like to make it absolutely clear that in no way are we saying it is safe to burn anything inside a tent, as long as you have a carbon monoxide alarm. It is not. This discussion is designed to find out how aware mumsnetters are of the potentially fatal dangers of CO in any accommodation.

A barbecue should NEVER be taken inside a tent, awning, caravan or motorhome. A warm, smouldering barbecue will give off poisonous CO, which can kill quickly and without warning, as it has no smell or taste. And NEVER place a lit barbecue near the sleeping area outside your tent/awning."

chrisrobin Mon 28-May-12 13:41:34

How aware are you of the dangers of CO poisoning? Fairly aware, the recent tragic events have made me more aware of it though
Do you take any precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your own home? We do not have gas at home
How about on holiday, do you take the same level of care in tents/caravans/self catering accommodation as you do in your own home? Do you have some kind of safety checklist? We have a CO detector in our motorhome although it is not one with an alarm, I will look at changing this though.
If so, what steps do you take towards protecting you and your family from CO poisoning? The gas is only switched on when in use, which is rare. Otherwise it is always turned off at both the bottle and the appliance supply pipe. We also use an extractor fan whenever the gas hob is on.

What do you think the signs of CO poisoning are? A headache and flushed cheeks
Would you be able to recognise these signs? Probably not, I would put them down to having a busy day.
Would you/do you take a CO alarm on holiday with you? Not an alarm, a detector, but this will change and we will get an alarm before going away again.

Would you like more information on how to prevent CO poisoning in your own home or when on holiday? I am about to go and search the web for more info
What information would you like and how would you like this information to be available? What type of alarm is best for a motorhome, where it should be placed, how to recognise symptoms. It would be good to have a pocket sized symptoms checklist card.

ZuzuBailey Mon 28-May-12 13:52:48

Our gas boiler is in a cupboard in my (adult) son's bedroom.

This has always worried me but we've been told it's perfectly safe.

I have it serviced every year and DS checks it regularly for anything obvious like soot marks or a different colour flame.

There is a CO alarm beside it, along with a smoke alarm.

What I didn't realise until fairly recently, is that CO alarms have an expiry date on them.

ZuzuBailey Mon 28-May-12 13:53:36

I second the symptoms checklist card chrisrobin

Me too, we have always had a meningitis symptoms checklist stuck on our fridge door, a CO poisoning one would be a very good idea.

An0therName Mon 28-May-12 14:12:05

How aware are you of the dangers of CO poisoning?
Quite -
Do you take any precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your own home?
we have a CO alarm near the boiler
How about on holiday, do you take the same level of care in tents/caravans/self catering accommodation as you do in your own home? Do you have some kind of safety checklist?
No not really
If so, what steps do you take towards protecting you and your family from CO poisoning?

hat do you think the signs of CO poisoning are?
dizness, head ache
Would you be able to recognise these signs?
maybe, maybe not
Would you/do you take a CO alarm on holiday with you?
I don't but its a good idea

And also about education for families of this topic:
Would you like more information on how to prevent CO poisoning in your own home or when on holiday?
Yes - would be very happy to have -
What information would you like and how would you like this information to be available?
a safty card very good idea

klaxon Mon 28-May-12 14:18:33

Sheesh, wrote long answer and Internet connection went down.

I don't know enough about it - we have carbon monoxide detectors in the house and I know most people get no symptoms but if they do it's headaches, tiredness (fairly normal for parents so how would you know).

I think all smoke detectors should have to have CO detectors in too.

ThoughtBen10WasBadPokemonOMG Mon 28-May-12 14:20:32

We don't have a CO2 alarm and we don't have the boiler serviced regularly so we should. I wouldn't think about it on holiday - and we should. I know the CO2 poisoning causes headaches and light headedness.

JessCartandahorse Mon 28-May-12 14:20:44

We moved into a new house and I became ill and was signed of work for quite a long time with an undiagnosed "virus". Co-incidentally we got the boiler serviced. The gasman said I was two weeks away from never waking up in the morning again - turns out I was experiencing CO poisoning. A lucky escape and we have been more careful ever since. Sadly a Dad at school actually died of CO poisoning.

We have a CO monitor near our boiler and one near our gas fire in the living room.

I've never thought about taking it to a holiday cottage but it would be sensible, I guess, to take the monitor with us.

So symptoms can look like a viral infection/flu. Headaches, sickness, feeling spaced out and woozy. I guess if you are near death your heart and lungs are affected.

MNHQ, I hope at some stage you will add to this thread a thorough list of symptoms and advice on prevention. smile

TimeForMeAndDD Mon 28-May-12 14:23:38

I am very aware of carbon monoxide poisoning and the symptoms and this is something that does concern me, due to the symptoms being easily mistaken for something else. We live in a local authority property which has two excellent smoke alarms but no carbon monoxide monitor, even though the council run a campaign raising awareness. I do think the monitors should be fitted as standard, like the smoke alarms, to rental properties.

I have a gas fire which I do not use. I stick to the central heating. The boiler is in the outbuilding attached to the side of the house but I still worry as to the safety and it is something I am going to be seeking assurance on when the boiler is next serviced. We holiday in a caravan which has a carbon monoxide alarm in the lounge so this does give me peace of mind.

I also think a symptom check list would be a good idea.

LemarchandsBox Mon 28-May-12 14:34:26

How aware are you of the dangers of CO poisoning?
Very aware
Do you take any precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your own home?
CO monitors next to the boiler and the two gas fires
How about on holiday, do you take the same level of care in tents/caravans/self catering accommodation as you do in your own home?
Take portable CO monitor with us to holiday cottages. Only rent from reputable companies and check the Safety Cets when we arive

Do you have some kind of safety checklist?
No, apart from the above
If so, what steps do you take towards protecting you and your family from CO poisoning?

What do you think the signs of CO poisoning are?
Feeling dizzy, tired, nauseous
Would you be able to recognise these signs?
Yes
Would you/do you take a CO alarm on holiday with you?
Yes

How aware are you of the dangers of CO poisoning?
Fairly aware, I think.

Do you take any precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your own home?
We have an outside-venting gas boiler and a gas cooker with an extractor hood, which are serviced yearly by a GasSafe engineer. We have been meaning to get a CO detector but haven't yet. This thread is the kick up the backside we have needed.

How about on holiday, do you take the same level of care in tents/caravans/self catering accommodation as you do in your own home? Do you have some kind of safety checklist? If so, what steps do you take towards protecting you and your family from CO poisoning?
We take more care, to be honest. We tend to assume our home is 'safe' but double check holiday accommodation. Our caravan has good ventilation and the gas boiler and fire are serviced yearly, and we never use naked flames or BBQ's in the caravan or tent.

They would also like to find out your level of knowledge about the effects of CO poisoning:
What do you think the signs of CO poisoning are?
Would you be able to recognise these signs?
Would you/do you take a CO alarm on holiday with you?

Signs of CO poisoning are, as far as I remember, headache, confusion and flu-like symptoms. I think I probably would recognise these signs, but only if everyone was affected - if only one person was affected I'd think it was illness. We don't take a CO alarm with us on holiday, to be honest I'd never even thought about that.

And also about education for families of this topic:
Would you like more information on how to prevent CO poisoning in your own home or when on holiday?
What information would you like and how would you like this information to be available?

I tend to browse the leaflets and read the posters in the doctor's waiting room, so that would be an ideal place to put information.

ouryve Mon 28-May-12 14:54:18

We have a carbon monoxide alarm. Our only gas appliance is the boiler which is now in the kitchen and we have that serviced and checked for emissions annually (actually, must get on with that).

We know an alarm is important, since CO is odourless and flavourless and can't be seen. I know enough about the mechanism to CO poisoning to be quite wary, since, if you're lucky, you'll feel unwell for a while and have chance to check out the cause, but not everyone is that lucky.

We rarely go on holiday and never camping, so can't comment on that aspect.

nextphase Mon 28-May-12 15:54:10

How aware are you of the dangers of CO poisoning? I know its toxic.
Do you take any precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your own home? We have a monitor - except its still in its packet awaiting installation.

How about on holiday, do you take the same level of care in tents/caravans/self catering accommodation as you do in your own home? Do you have some kind of safety checklist? never thought about it, makes sense tho.
If so, what steps do you take towards protecting you and your family from CO poisoning?

What do you think the signs of CO poisoning are? nausea, tiredness
Would you be able to recognise these signs? probably not
Would you/do you take a CO alarm on holiday with you? we ought to. Needs to be very portable, tho

And also about education for families of this topic:
Would you like more information on how to prevent CO poisoning in your own home or when on holiday? yes
What information would you like and how would you like this information to be available? leaflet with checklist

MelKM Mon 28-May-12 16:50:22

I am one third of a carbon monoxide awareness group called CO Angels. Each of us have lost someone to this silent killer and I can honestly say it is one of the worst things that can happen to any family.

And what is even more frustrating is that a 20 pound carbon monoxide alarm could have saved my brother. He left behind three children. Today he is now a grandfather of two little girls, who sadly he will never know.

I cannot urge everyone on this forum enough, to get an audible carbon monoxide alarm, and a spare for camping trips etc. I was 13 when my brother died and I still recall the moment I found out like it was yesterday. That pain has never left me, but I'm learning to cope with it 13 years on this year.

My brother was loved by everyone and was always smiling. He really made our lives brighter when he was in it. He died from a faulty gas grill one night after putting bread under the grill to make toast. He went to sleep and never woke up.

Aside from getting gas appliances check, chimneys swept and other fossil fuel appliances serviced my only message to you all is please please please, invest in an audible alarm and fit it in your home immediately! It may seems like a hassle and a fair bit of money, but I promise you, you will never regret having bought it because one day, it could save your life.

Mel

www.co-angels.co.uk

How aware are you of the dangers of CO poisoning? -- I know it's fatal.

Do you take any precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your own home? We have a CO alarm.

How about on holiday, do you take the same level of care in tents/caravans/self catering accommodation as you do in your own home? Do you have some kind of safety checklist? ---Shamefully, it's not even something we think of, however I will do now, thank you.

If so, what steps do you take towards protecting you and your family from CO poisoning? ----n/a

They would also like to find out your level of knowledge about the effects of CO poisoning:

What do you think the signs of CO poisoning are? --- shamefully, I don't know.

Would you be able to recognise these signs? --- ummm, no.

Would you/do you take a CO alarm on holiday with you? --- I would now.

And also about education for families of this topic:
Would you like more information on how to prevent CO poisoning in your own home or when on holiday? --- YES PLEASE.

What information would you like and how would you like this information to be available? The basics, via email. I can then do further research myself for a more detail.

I would like to say thank you for this survey as it has really hit me between the eyes how CO ignorant I am blush. We have an alarm but that is where it starts and end for me.

Sparkles23 Mon 28-May-12 17:10:56

I am quite aware of carbon monoxide poisoning, mainly due to the sad stories that have been publicised. It was the camp site story that spurred me to go and buy one, I only have on downstairs at the mo but I know should have one on each level and if you only do have one that it should be near bedrooms (ours isn't as would mean mounting to wall and haven't got round to it). I know carbon monoxide is odourless and symptoms are tiredness, dizziness and vomiting. I would like to see more awareness and perhaps a tv campaign so one day people consider them an essential purchase along with smoke alarms.

Slubberdegullion Mon 28-May-12 17:18:36

I am aware of the dangers of CO poisoning and the symptoms related to it.

We have a CO alarm in our house next to the boiler.

With reference to the questions relating to prevention of CO poisoning while on holiday and particularly whilst camping in a tent I am somewhat perplexed and annoyed that this is an advert for CO alarms by way of a questionnaire and prizes. If you want to prevent people from dying of CO poising when they are in a tent then don't piss about with bloody alarms. DON'T COOK OR USE ANYTHING THAT BURNS FUEL INSIDE YOUR TENT.

Mnhq there have been numerous threads about this on the Camping Topic. Modern tents with sewn in ground sheets are nothing more than a large plastic bag (with a few doors thrown in). They are NOT safe to burn anything in (quite apart from the fire risk), unless they have a designated cooking area.
Would you sit your family inside a plastic bag, light a gas stove and think everything was tickety-boo because "hey look I have a nice CO alarm"?

This competition is sending out totally the wrong message to people who maybe thinking about going camping for the first time this year. It is NOT SAFE to cook inside your tent even with a CO alarm.
There is a long thread on ukcampsite forum on this subject where several posters have said that CO monitors are not suitable to use in tents anyway, that they are not designed for that particular purpose.

Raise awareness for using CO alarms in the home, in holiday cottages, in static caravans but please do not promote it along side the tragic deaths of tent campers.

Slubberdegullion Mon 28-May-12 17:39:29

Information on CO and BBQ safety from ukcampsite forum.

Paragraph on relying on CO alarms in a tent.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 28-May-12 17:40:54

I am aware of the dangers. I have a carbon monoxide alarm at home and we had one in our camper van as well. We tent camp now and I take one in the tent with us.

Never thought to take one with me to self catering accommodation though, maybe we should do.

I think that symptoms are headaches, nausea, feeling unwell.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 28-May-12 17:43:47

That's interesting Slubber. We've always cooked in our tent though tent doesn't have a SIG so is very draughty. Have got a new SIG tent now ad was planning on cooking in it though with an electric hob on ehu.

Slubberdegullion Mon 28-May-12 17:55:19

Electric hob fine (although still a fire risk wink) but anything that burns fuel has the potential risk of producing CO. I wouldn't want to rely on an alarm for the safety of my family if they were sitting or sleeping in a zipped up plastic bag.
Burn stuff outside your tent and you won't get CO poisoning. Simple.

Sorry, is a bug bear of mine if you hadn't noticed

PineappleBed Mon 28-May-12 17:56:46

Hmmm I know you can't smell carbonmonoxide and that it can effect you quickly. I think it makes you woozy first off and then you lose consciousness. I think it can cause permanent brain damage (?)

I have an alarm for the cooker but need two more for the gas fire and boiler.

I think you're meant to put the alarms slightly above the appliance they're there to monitor.

thequeensknickers Mon 28-May-12 18:12:41

How aware are you of the dangers of CO poisoning?
I am more aware than I was, following the sad deaths in the news recently.

Do you take any precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your own home?
We have a Co2 alarm fitted and the boiler is serviced yearly.

How about on holiday, do you take the same level of care in tents/caravans/self catering accommodation as you do in your own home? Do you have some kind of safety checklist?
Not before, but I will now. I did argue with DH last year as I felt uncomfortable cooking in the tent and found that I was right, but would rather have been wrong. We will never cook in the tent again,kitchen area or not.

If so, what steps do you take towards protecting you and your family from CO poisoning?
We will have a gazebo for cooking, not just outside the tent and a Co2 alarm.

They would also like to find out your level of knowledge about the effects of CO poisoning:

What do you think the signs of CO poisoning are?
I always thought headaches and drowsiness with heightened colour to the cheeks were possible signs.

Would you be able to recognise these signs?
Not sure.

Would you/do you take a CO alarm on holiday with you?
Absolutely.

And also about education for families of this topic:
Would you like more information on how to prevent CO poisoning in your own home or when on holiday?
Yes please!

What information would you like and how would you like this information to be available?
Leaflet/signposting to a good website. Maybe travel agents could put a leaflet in with holiday details.

CointreauVersial Mon 28-May-12 19:03:07

How aware are you of the dangers of CO poisoning?

Reasonably aware. I know if happens when there is insufficient ventilation for a boiler/gas heater etc. so that CO is produced instead of CO2. I know that it is colourless and odourless and have read many sad stories about people dying from poisoning.

Do you take any precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your own home?

Sorry to say, I don't, apart from the fact that our boiler is new and is regularly serviced. It is also well away from the bedrooms (at the far end of the kitchen). But I know I really ought to get a monitor.

How about on holiday, do you take the same level of care in tents/caravans/self catering accommodation as you do in your own home?

We never camp, but sometimes stay in chalets/self-catering. I'm ashamed to say I would never give it any thought.

Do you have some kind of safety checklist?

No

What do you think the signs of CO poisoning are?

This I do know - drowsiness, contant headaches, nausea. Funnily enough, my great aunt was suffering from just such symptoms, and I only found out about it during a chance discussion with my mother. I said "not CO poisoning, is it?" and, guess what, that's exactly what it turned out to be; she had a faulty gas fire. Luckily she was OK.

Would you be able to recognise these signs?

Well, I did in my great aunt, but who knows whether I'd recognise it in myself or my immediate family?

Would you/do you take a CO alarm on holiday with you?

Never thought about it before, but I think I'm going to in future.

FuntimeFelicity Mon 28-May-12 19:07:12

I'm a regular camper and know the dangers and symptoms of CO poisoning.

However, I've always understood that alarms are unreliable in tents and I'm a little concerned that they are being advertised here as the main safety precaution.

They ONLY ways to stay safe from CO poisoning are:
1) Do not cook inside your tent.
2) Do not take a BBQ (lit or unlit) into your tent.
3) Do not leave a BBQ just outside the door of your tent.
4) Do not use gas lamps inside your tent.

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