The Silent Killer

Last week I heard of the deaths  in Windermere caused by carbon monoxide poisoning also known as the silent killer.  This moved me to write this short sober article in a hope to spread the awareness of the dangers of using barbecue’s ,cookers,  heaters or generators while camping.

Carbon Monoxide is tasteless, doesn’t give off any odours and invisible; but its effects occur in minutes. It is a killer in our homes and while we travel. Flu-like symptoms could be early warnings of carbon monoxide poisoning. In severe cases you can fall victim to this while sleeping and death can follow very quickly. It is so severe that in some cases victims have been so disoriented that they fail to even attempt an escape.

In most cases we can purchase carbon monoxide alarms that we can install in our homes, caravans and boats and ones that are portable for when we stay in hotels, hostels etc;  but what can you do while camping in a tent? Well, apparently not a lot. The carbon monoxide alarms will not work efficiently enough in a tent environment to save you from poisoning.  So the rule is not to leave cooking stoves, barbeques or gas heaters in your tent. When extinguished, fuel and gas equipment produce carbon monoxide which builds up resulting in lethal consequences. Do your cooking outside and don’t be tempted to bring the stove or barbecue into the tent afterwards. If you need warmth, make sure your heater is not on overnight and wrap up warm. Put these potentially lethal items outside the tent and most importantly keep your tent well ventilated.


  1.  Headache
  2.  Dizziness
  3. Irritability
  4. Confusion/Memory loss
  5. Disorientation
  6. Nausea and vomiting
  7. Abnormal reflexes
  8. Difficulty in coordinating
  9. Difficulty in breathing
  10. Chest Pain
  11. Cerebral Edema
  12. Convulsions/Seizures
  13. Coma
  14. Death

Kelly Webster and Lauren Thornton die on Windermere boat

Carbon monoxide poisoning is thought to have killed a mother and her 10-year-old daughter on a boat in Cumbria.

Crantock campers rescue five from carbon monoxide tent

A family of five were rescued from their tent after being overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a barbecue.

They were taken to hospital after emergency services were called to Trevella Park at Crantock, near Newquay, Cornwall, just after midnight.

Carbon monoxide warning after camper dies in New Forest

Bournemouth Echo

By Daily Echo reporter » SAFETY experts today issued a warning to campers after a man is thought to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning when he put a gas-fired barbecue inside his tent to keep warm. Vincent Clare is understood to have put the …


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