As parents, possibly the last thing you need is another thing scaring the bejesus out of you, and admittedly families have enough to cram into their luggage without adding another item to the endless list of holiday packing but Project Shout definitely got me thinking.
When we go on holidays we stay in unknown accommodation (that we trust others to maintain and safeguard) and with the rise of private lets guests truly have no idea how often appliances are checked and monitored (regardless of what the law in each country says). Add to this that during the holidays optimistic Brits face a flurry of camping trips and barbecues, accompanied with a range of equipment which many of us aren’t particularly used to using. This leads me to Project Shout.
Project Shout is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about carbon monoxide poisoning – an odourless gas, with no taste or smell that is highly poisonous and not picked up by the human senses. According to Project Shout, ‘Every year in the UK, over 4000 people go to A&E with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, which leads to around 50 deaths’. Many families now have carbon monoxide alarms in their homes, just as they’d have a fire alarm, but there is the suggestion that you should consider taking a portable alarm on holiday with you.
The campaign continues, ‘In hotels, guests are often unaware that they are sleeping next to boiler rooms or above a room with a fireplace; if you’re camping, CO can enter your tent from a smouldering BBQ outside … Caravans and boats may have additional risks of carbon monoxide admission through air vents, due to the nearby presence of other vehicles, engines, generators or barbecues. Because of this, caravans and boats should be fitted with an alarm in the same room as any combustion appliance’. As a family it’s worth noting that children, due to the speed of their breathing, are potentially more susceptible to the gas than adults.
Knowledge is always power, so if you’d like to find out more the website is full of information as well as a useful resources page with short videos on the symptoms of CO poisoning, where to buy an alarm and what to look for, what to do if your alarm sounds etc. Like a fire alarm, a CO alarm is something we hope we’ll never hear and never need. I hadn’t considered taking one on holiday before, leaving so much trust in the hands of others, often in foreign countries where I have no idea what the legal requirements are for property maintenance, so I’m giving more thought to a topic I hadn’t really taken on before. Perhaps, rather than another pair of shoes or toys for the kids, I’ll throw in a CO alarm. Happy travels.