With BC Day weekend camping approaching, increased vigilance around carbon monoxide risks required
Technical Safety BC offers tips to keep families safe on their long weekend camping adventures
Vancouver, BC (July 28, 2020) – As the August long weekend approaches, many British Columbians will be packing up their tents or trailers to hit the open road for a family staycation. Although camping is a fun opportunity for families to explore BC’s outdoor beauty, there are a few safety risks British Columbians need to be aware of, one of which is carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Most people aren’t aware that a simple cookstove in a tent on a rainy day can produce enough carbon monoxide to kill you. Or that towing a tube behind a boat using a short rope can give riders carbon monoxide poisoning”, says Dr. Bruce Campana, a clinical associate professor and hyperbaric physician at Vancouver General Hospital.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas produced by burning carbon fuels such as propane, natural gas, oil, wood, charcoal, alcohol, kerosene or gasoline. Exposure to carbon monoxide interferes with the body’s ability to absorb oxygen and breathing in too much carbon monoxide can result in serious injury or death. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, confusion, vomiting, weakness, dizziness, and chest pain.
Ryan Milligan, Gas Senior Safety Officer at Technical Safety BC says “Whether you are renting an RV, travelling with your own trailer, or pitching a tent there are a few precautions you can take to ensure your family vacation remains fun and safe”. He is urging British Columbians to be cautious when using generators. “It is important to have your generator serviced regularly, always inspect your generators exhaust system before each use, and make sure you never sleep with the generator running”.
For a carbon monoxide safe camping trip, here are some tips:
- Before you hit the road, have your RV serviced by a Certified Recreational Vehicle technician. Beware, if you see yellow flames in a propane burning appliance, this usually indicates incomplete combustion and servicing may be required.
- Keep fuel-burning appliances outside - portable heaters, portable stoves, barbeques, or kerosene lamps should only be used outside. Never use them in enclosed areas such as in your RV or tent, or enclosed areas on your boat.
- Always have a carbon monoxide detector – it can save your life. Make sure your RV, trailer, cottage, or cabin has a carbon monoxide detector in good working condition. If you are camping in a tent, pack a portable carbon monoxide detector.
- Inspect your generators. Don’t use your generator if the exhaust system is damaged or making an unusual noise.
- Park right. If you are camping close to other vehicles running generators, make sure to keep your windows and roof vents closed to prevent exhaust from entering your vehicle.
- Sleep tight. Don’t sleep with the generator operating and try to place the generator downwind of your RV or tent.
For more information on summer carbon monoxide safety, visit
About Technical Safety BC
Technical Safety BC (formerly BC Safety Authority) is an independent, self-funded organization that oversees the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research. For more information, visit www.technicalsafetybc.ca
Technical Safety BC Media Relations
T: 778 396 2164