It’s only one week until Glastonbury opens its’ gates for the 2016 festival and if you’re lucky this might not be the only festival you are venturing off to this summer.
The majority of people will be sleep under canvas at festivals and for many younger people this might be the first time they’ve camped or camped without their parents. Before setting off make sure you know how to camp safely to reduce the risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
A fire can destroy a tent in less than a minute
There is no such thing as a fire proof tent and although you will find many tents made of fire retardant material they will still burn very quickly. At festivals tents are often pitched very closely together so it makes sense to be extra cautious.
- Avoid open fires or cooking too close to tents. This can be tricky at festivals where you are pitched quite closely so consider taking a collapsible camping bucket and keep filled with water by your tent (water is usually readily available around the site)
- Don’t smoke in your tent
- If you smoke near your tent make sure smoking materials are properly extinguished
- Never use candles in or near your tent – use a torch
- Chinese lanterns are not allowed at most festivals and CFOA never recommend their use (watch Glastonbury Festivals’ Chinese Lantern safety film)
In the event of a fire
- Don’t try and save anything from the tent
- Get out and stay out
- Make sure you have a means of cutting your way out of your tent just in case
- If clothing should catch fire – stop- drop and roll
- Shout a warning to those around you as fire can spread quickly when tents are closely pitched
- Call 999
- Meet at the fire point for your field
- Avoid cooking when you’ve been drinking – you risk causing a fire or burning yourself
- If you are using a camping stove make sure you know how to use it
- Keep an eye on cooking appliances – don’t leave them unattended
- If you take spare cannisters make sure you have bought the correct one and know how to change it. Accidents can and do happen, as shown by this example from the NHS – I blew myself up at a festival campsite
- Don’t smoke whilst you are changing a gas cylinder
- Never cook in your tent – even if it is pouring with rain. Using a stove or BBQ in a tent is an obvious fire risk but can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning. BBQs give this off event when they are functioning correctly. Carbon monoxide poisoning kills
- Never use a stove to heat a tent or bring a BBQ into the tent for heat. Again this is a fire risk and even if a BBQ is cooling it will give off deadly carbon monoxide
For more information about gas and BBQ safety visit the Gas Safe Register website which has lots of useful information including Roland’s story which highlights the devastating consequences of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The symptoms include dizziness, nausea and headaches – in fact similar to a hang over. If in doubt seek medical advice.