Commissioner's blog: Gas safety warning for campers
The great outdoors is the place to be this summer – and the same goes for portable gas-fuelled appliances such as cookers, heaters, barbecues and fridges.
WA’s gas safety regulator, Building and Energy, is warning that this equipment must never be used inside tents, caravans or other enclosed spaces. Even if the doors or windows are open, you could be exposed to potentially lethal levels of a toxic gas: carbon monoxide.
Known as the “invisible killer” because it is colourless, odourless and tasteless, carbon monoxide can be produced when liquid petroleum gas (LPG), such as propane and butane, does not burn properly due to a faulty appliance or lack of air in an enclosed space.
Building and Energy is reminding campers that if gas equipment is labelled “outdoor use only”, this means the open air, which allows the fuel to burn properly and any dangerous gas to disperse.
If you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and confusion, immediately move to a well-ventilated area and seek medical attention.
Building and Energy emphasises that gas equipment is safe to use if it is in good shape, operated correctly and in a proper location. A handy brochure on Camping Safely with LP Gas is available at the Building and Energy website (dmirs.wa.gov.au) with other important advice for using portable gas equipment including:
- Read the safety warnings, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and look for an approval badge to certify that the appliance is authorised for sale in Australia.
- Have your equipment serviced and checked regularly by a licensed gas fitter.
- Check for a gas leak by applying soapy water to the LPG cylinder, hose and appliance connections. Bubbles or a gas smell are signs of a leak.
- Look for a stamp on the LPG cylinder to show its last test date, which should not have exceeded 10 years.
- Store LPG cylinders outside and away from sources of heat or ignition. Transport them in an upright position, secured firmly and outside the passenger area. Do not carry cylinders in the car boot or any unventilated space for extended periods.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
Adam Crowle (left) and Steve Holdham
Building and Energy gas inspectors with examples of portable gas appliances that should only be used outdoors.
A gas bottle labelled 'use outdoor only'
This means the open air, which allows the fuel to burn properly and any dangerous gas to disperse.
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