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Festival goers and campers are being urged not to use portable gas stoves or BBQs inside tents this summer – because of the carbon monoxide (CO) risk they pose.

The warning comes from Northern Gas Networks, the region’s gas distributor.

Using stoves and BBQs inside, or close to, a tent can result in a build-up of CO in the confined space – with the potential to cause fatal poisoning.

Dubbed ‘the silent killer’, CO claims around 60 lives in England and Wales each year.

Tom Bell, Northern Gas Networks’ Head of Social Strategy said: “Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas, which can be fatal when breathed in.

“Many people don’t realise that bringing a BBQ inside the tent, or using a stove to warm things up when it’s cold, could result in fatal poisoning.

“By keeping portable cooking and heating devices well away from your tent, you can enjoy a fantastic, safe summer.”

Northern Gas Networks owns and maintains the North of England’s underground gas pipes, as well as providing the region’s emergency response service, if customers smell gas. All the company’s emergency engineers carry portable devices which can detect CO.

The company will be delivering a social media advertising campaign around the dangers of CO this summer.

The ‘silent killer’: facts

  • Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste. Breathing it in can make you unwell, and it can kill if you’re exposed to high levels.
  • Every year there are around 60 deaths from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales.
  • After carbon monoxide is breathed in, it enters your bloodstream and mixes with haemoglobin (the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body) to form carboxyhaemoglobin. When this happens, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, and this lack of oxygen causes the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die.