Using Portable Heaters Overnight In Tents Poses Carbon Monoxide Threat To Campers, Warns Safety Coalition

Press Release – Cleveland, OH – Whether hiking, biking, hunting or fishing, every outdoors-person wants to keep warm at night, and campers need to know about the potential dangers of using a portable propane heater or camp stove in an unventilated enclosure.

Camp stoves and portable heaters that are designed to be used outside can emit hazardous carbon monoxide (CO) if improperly used inside a tent, truck cap, RV or camper. Every camper should read the manufacturer’s operating instructions and packaging before operating any portable propane product, according to Dennis Pavan, Spokesman for the Coalition for Portable Propane Product Safety.

“Campers who are particularly vulnerable are those who attempt to use these devices overnight while sleeping,” says Pavan. “Therefore, they are unable to recognize the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – which can easily be mistaken for a cold or flu.”

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, sleepiness and confusion. Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Low oxygen levels in the blood can result in the loss of consciousness and death.

“Alcohol consumption and drug use also increase the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning,” says Pavan.

Rather than relying on fuel-burning appliances to supply overnight heat, the Coalition urges campers to wear adequate clothing, use a thermally rated sleeping bag, and to consume extra calories and fluids to help keep warm at night.

The Coalition sponsors the “Camp Safe” Education Program, dedicated to making consumers aware of the dangers of using fuel-burning products inside. There are certain heaters available that are designed specifically for temporary use inside recreational enclosures. But no matter what kind of heater, the Coalition recommends NOT using a portable propane product overnight while sleeping.

The Coalition offers a free safety brochure that includes propane product descriptions of outdoor heaters, stoves, lanterns, cylinders and indoor-safe heaters, as well as carbon monoxide safety information and a CO warning poster. Larger quantities are available for campgrounds, RV dealers, retailers, fire departments, neighborhood organizations and schools. To order, contact the Coalition at 888-226-7487 or write to P. O. Box 45002, Cleveland, OH 44145.

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