The Summer months have arrived with long weekends and school holidays to look forward to and music festival tickets going on sale. With all the opportunities for camping trips, Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service is raising awareness of campsite safety.
As camping trips are popular, Trading Standards officers offer this safety advice:
Choosing a tent to meet your needs is important. Many retailers offer advice on their websites and have experts in stores who can help.
For independent advice there are camping clubs who also provide information and events to help first time campers.
It’s important that you and anyone else using the tent and other equipment have read the instructions which are there to keep you and your family safe. Making sure that your tent is pegged to the ground securely is important, especially if there is adverse weather.
Pitch your tent a safe distance from other tents, leaving a few metres between your tent and the next. Sites often have minimum distance rules so it’s worth asking before you pitch up.
Ventilation is also important. It refreshes the air that you’re breathing. Don’t be tempted to block these vents.
Never use cookers or BBQs inside a tent. It is serious fire risk and can be hazardous to anyone inside and in the surrounding area. Some tents have cooking areas, but there will be clear instructions about what precautions you must take.
Keep children well away from BBQ’s, other gas appliances and any fires.
Charcoal BBQs give off Carbon Monoxide gas (CO), which is poisonous. It is not a problem in the open air because it is dispersed and concentrations are low.
Never use BBQ’s inside tents, or bring them back in afterwards. Concentrations can build up to dangerous levels and these will start near the ground. Your body can deal with a small level of CO, but it takes a long time to clear it out, so repeated small exposures to CO can accumulate.
CO poisoning has claimed lives in Hampshire and elsewhere in recent years.
Always read the instructions and make sure anyone else who uses the equipment also knows how to use it safely.
Check and follow the instructions when changing a gas cylinder as any leak or spill can linger inside a tent and be ignited much later. You should also dispose of cylinders in the correct way, as directed in the instructions.
Gas cookers and lamps in a small tent use up air as quickly as a person would. The appliance can start burning the gas inefficiently producing Carbon Monoxide (CO) which can be hazardous.
Despite being flame retardant, modern tent material must still be kept away from naked flames.
General camping safety rules can be overlooked at some festivals, and with the added influence of alcohol, it’s vital that festival goers pay even greater attention to the risks that can occur as a result of large numbers of tents in close proximity.
Very few festivals allow open fires and BBQs, so it’s important to always check the organisers’ websites and look for their advice. Taking advice from seasoned festival goers is also a good idea to help you get an idea of what to expect and how you can stay safe.
If camping or at festivals be aware of the possible dangers and if you need to take any valuables with you do not leave them unattended in the tent.
More information about campsite safety.