Summer warning over ‘silent killer’

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Safety chiefs have sounded a summer holiday warning over the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from barbecues.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) issued the alert almost a year after Chesterfield mum Tracy Screen was killed by toxic fumes from a smouldering barbecue at a north Wales campsite.

Jo Bullock, of RoSPA, said: “We are aware of at least five deaths from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning involving campers in the UK in the past year.

“Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’ – it is poisonous as it stops blood absorbing oxygen and it is colourless, odourless and tasteless.

“It results from the burning of all fossil fuels – not just gas – and it is given off most when appliances, including barbecues, smoulder rather than burn fiercely.

“RoSPA advises against using stoves or disposable barbecues for cooking or warmth in an enclosed space with poor ventilation, even when the appliance is just smouldering.

“Caravanners should have gas-powered appliances serviced annually and could consider using an audible carbon monoxide alarm inside their caravan,” she added.

Mrs Screen, 34, died in the tent she shared with her family at Aberafon Campsite last August.

Earlier this year a coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death and warned of the dangers of carbon monoxide at her inquest.

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Screen’s husband Benjamin paid tribute to his “loving, wonderful and kind” wife, adding her death had left a “big hole”.