With the summer holidays approaching fast, the HPA (Health Protection Agency) is again reminding motorhome owners of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. At high levels, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning symptoms include severe headaches, tiredness, dizziness, chest pains and vomiting. Carbon monoxide poisoning can, and does, kill.
Carbon monoxide is created when fossil fuels or wood are burned without enough oxygen and the Health Protection Agency is concerned that many new motorhome owners may not realise that there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. All gas appliances must be installed in accordance with current gas safety requirements. This is to comply with the law and to ensure minimal risk to the occupants. Annual gas safety inspections are not mandatory in the United Kingdom; however they are increasingly becoming a requirement for many motorhome insurance companies. Anyone who suspects they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning should immediately leave the premises and find fresh air; they should then urgently seek medical help from a qualified healthcare professional.
Professor Virginia Murray, from the HPA, explained “In small enclosed spaces such as motorhomes, levels of carbon monoxide can build up very quickly to levels that can kill. We want to remind people of the dangers as they prepare to go on motorhome holidays. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless, so even at high levels it is unlikely you will know you are being poisoned by this lethal gas. When you check your detectors take the time to check that vents and flues are not obstructed. In addition have your heaters, boilers and fridges serviced regularly.”
The NCC (National Caravan Council ) have backed the HPA’s campaign and are asking all motorhome owners to ensure they get their gas appliances serviced every year by a registered engineer. They also recommend owners install a working carbon monoxide alarm. This is normally standard on new mobile homes but older motorhome owners will need to buy one. UK law states all gas engineers must be registered by Gas Safe, so it is essential that that the person servicing the motorhome equipment is properly certified.