CLEVELAND, Ohio — Enjoying the colorful panoramas of a golden Autumn and those last few days of outdoor fun is an annual draw for Fall campers to return to their favorite campground long after the summer campers have packed it in for the winter, says a press release from Camp Safe.
Fall weather also brings colder temperatures and the possibility of rain or even snow, which can keep campers huddled inside their tents, truck caps and RVs to keep warm. That’s when campers consider using a portable propane heater to keep out the cold, says the release, and if they are operating a portable heater that is not designed for indoor-safe use, there is a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“There are portable propane heaters specifically designed and approved for temporary indoor use,” states Dennis Pavan, a spokesman for CampSafe.org, an online camping and product safety information website. “When you are shopping for a portable heater, the most important step consumers should take when considering the purchase of a portable propane heater is to read the packaging and make sure it is identified as “Indoor-Safe” for use indoors in well-ventilated enclosures when instructions and warnings accompanying the product are properly followed.”
There are a variety of indoor-safe portable propane heaters available at major retailers of various shapes and sizes. According to CampSafe, if the heater operates by mounting it on a 20lb LP tank, like the ones used for barbeque grills, it is most likely not safe for indoor use. Portable propane heaters that use a small 1lb propane cylinder to operate are mainly associated with indoor-safe models, says the release.
Carbon monoxide dangers can be avoided by using portable heaters that feature an oxygen depletion system (ODS) that shuts off automatically if fresh air circulation is reduced below a safe level. Campers should also be cautious to never use any heaters identified as an”outdoor-only” propane-fueled camping product inside a tent, cabin, camper, truck cap, trailer, RV or other enclosure.
The Camp Safe Coalition urges campers to follow these tips to remain safe this season:
- Always read the manufacturer’s packaging and operating instructions for proper use and proper ventilation.
- Heaters labeled or identified as “outdoor-use only” must never be used indoors or in enclosed areas such as tents, campers, houses and vehicles.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning, which can easily be mistaken for a cold or flu, is often detected too late. Know the symptoms: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness and confusion. Consumers who experience any of these symptoms should extinguish any possible source of CO and move to an area with fresh air.
- No matter how cold, no fuel-burning appliance should be operated overnight in an enclosed area while sleeping, even products labeled indoor-safe.
To keep warm overnight, stick with the basics, states the release:
- Eat a good meal – especially one rich in protein, carbohydrates and fat – to get your inner furnace going.
- Wear layers of clothing to bed. Keep your head covered to avoid loss of body heat.
- Use a foam mat or cot to eliminate ground chill and moisture.
- Use a sleeping bag designed for cold weather camping.
About Camp Safe
Camp Safe is an organization dedicated to educating the public about the safe use of camping products, helping people avoid potentially dangerous situations, says the release. For more information, visit www.campsafe.org, or contact Camp Safe at 888.226.7487, or write to P.O. Box 45002, Cleveland, OH, 44145 for a free safety brochure.
SOURCE: National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds press release