New research presented by the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) says that 49% of festival-goers would leave a carbon monoxide-emitting BBQ inside their tents.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas which causes approximately 30 deaths and 200 hospital admissions in England and Wales every year. Leaving one inside a festival tent overnight can be fatal, as many have no form of ventilation.

The new research was presented on 5 Marc 2019 to Festival Republic, the Association of Independent Festivals, the energy industry, and campaign groups. The aim was to discuss how they can protect festival-goers from the dangers of CO.

Symptoms of CO poisoning can include headaches, nausea, seizures, paralysis, feeling “fluey”, memory loss, and changes in mood. Many festival-goers can confuse these symptoms for a hangover, increasing the potential risk.

The APPCOG encourages festival providers to train their staff on the risk factors and symptoms of CO poisoning. This would enable staff to provide festivalgoers with advice on how to stay safe, and to intervene when they spot behaviours that increase the risk of CO exposure.

Experts also called on manufacturers to display more prominent safety warnings on disposable BBQ packaging, in order to prevent festivalgoers from taking BBQs inside tents and putting their lives at risk.

Safeguarding festivalgoers also requires awareness-raising initiatives both before and during the festival, they say. Central to this is a collaborative effort between festival providers and campaign groups to collate and distribute safety information that raises awareness of CO poisoning and stops dangerous behaviours.

The Parliamentary discussion was chaired by APPCOG Officer Alex Cunningham MP, and is part of the APPCOG’s larger efforts to raise awareness of CO poisoning and reduce this preventable source of deaths and injuries.