Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Dangers of Carbon Monoxide ( CO)

There cannot be anyone who is not familiar with the tragic deaths in Newcastle and Castlerock. Without knowing the finer detail of these cases it must still be true that had procedures been followed, all of these cases should have been averted.

It is not the case that CO poisoning is always solely down to the method of installation of appliances or, indeed, the appliance itself but is, at times, contributed to by the practices of the user.

Toxic atmospheres arise from the generation of the noxious gas and a build up of same.

As stated in the Park Rules, we recommend that you have your gas appliances serviced on an annual basis where the Gas Safe registered engineer will check the integrity of the appliance and the efficient burning of the fuel.

The simplest part of the gas installation to maintain is ventilation. This is often overlooked by users but is crucial. Should an appliance produce CO, without adequate ventilation, the concentration will build to dangerous and critical levels and could, and does, prove fatal to occupants. Indeed, lack of ventilation can lead to the production of CO by restricting good combustion. When caravans are gas safety checked, the ventilation is checked routinely for your safety.

It is not uncommon that subsequent to these safety checks, the caravan owners or users are blocking the ventilation apertures. This is extremely dangerous and puts you in breach of your licence. Notwithstanding the licence, it puts your life and the lives of your family at risk.

In some cases, it is readily obvious as tape and cardboard, or similar, is placed across the vent openings.  Recently, we had a case where silicone had been injected into a floor vent and a food type tin lid, placed over. Other cases involve carpeting over the floor vents, or placing furniture to have the same effect. Original caravan furniture, designed to be over ventilation points, has cut outs so as to not cause obstruction to airflow. These must not be obstructed.

The more devious caravan owner, has removed the air vents, placed cling-film over the opening and replaced the vent so as not to be visible. Another practice is to cover the vents from beneath the caravan so as disguise the blockage. Why would you do this and who will pay the ultimate price?

Portable Gas Appliances are not permitted on the park. One case, a Superser type heater (with no flue) in the living area and the caravan vents blocked!

The cupboard, that in many designs contains the gas water heater, has an air vent, usually, in the floor. Like other vents, this must never be obstructed in any way as it provides airflow for safe combustion and vented fumes.

In an attempt to reduce to potential risks, from here on, if we find any wilful obstruction of air ventilation, we shall be requesting an updated gas safety certificate and the caravan will not be able to be used until such certificate is obtained.

For you convenience, we are now carrying a number of packs of Smoke & CO detectors at £15 inclusive of vat. These are priced as close to cost as possible to encourage their usage. When our stocks have gone, we shall endeavor to obtain more as required.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

However, the inclusion of such detectors does not negate any of the previous comments regarding ventilation or routine maintenance. They are a method of warning, not prevention.

To many of you, the above would seem obvious but unfortunately it happens and people are being killed. It is such a tragic loss of life.

All gas appliances must be kept in a safe working order at all times.

Thank you for reading.


Useful links:

Gas Safe Register


Newry & Mourne District Council