APPCOG calls for safeguarding of festivalgoers from CO

On 5 March 2019, the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) hosted a Parliamentary discussion on how festivalgoers can be protected from the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. APPCOG Officer Alex Cunningham MP chaired the discussion, and was joined by Festival Republic, The Association of Independent Festivals, members of the energy industry, and CO campaign groups.

Unaware that both lit and extinguished BBQs can produce large amounts of deadly CO gas, 49% of festivalgoers say they would use a BBQ inside their tent. This behaviour is extremely unsafe, as the CO produced by the BBQ isn’t ventilated in confined spaces such as tents and builds up to higher concentrations. Bringing in a BBQ at night is particularly dangerous, since people may fall asleep as CO levels rise. Festivalgoers may also be unaware of CO’s symptoms, which can be can easily be confused for hangovers and lead to people not seeking treatment.

Addressing these risk factors was a core part of our 2015 report Carbon monoxide: From awareness to action, and our most recent Parliamentary discussion made five recommendations highlighting the need for awareness-raising initiatives and direct interventions from festival providers:

  • Disposable BBQ manufacturers should display prominent and easy-to-understand warnings on packaging in order to prevent users taking BBQs inside enclosed spaces such as tents.
  • Festival providers should train their staff to recognise the risk factors and symptoms of CO poisoning in order to raise awareness, intervene when risky behaviours are spotted, and improve support for festivalgoers exposed to CO.
  • CO campaign groups should agree a clear simple message for awareness raising.
  • Festival providers and CO campaign groups should collaborate to collate and distribute simple CO safety messaging pertinent to festivals.
  • Festival providers and CO campaign groups should utilise novel ways of delivering targeted CO safety messaging to festivalgoers, such as native advertising on mobile phones and high-profile partners. 

A full event briefing is available to download here.

If you have questions regarding the roundtable, or are interested in future events and research, you can email us georgina.bailey [at] (here) or call us at 020 7202 8586.


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    Photograph of the CO Safety at Festivals attendees in the House of Commons