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Postby mikeschn » Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:14 pm

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Deaths Associated with Camping

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, nonirritating gas produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels. CO exposure is responsible for more fatal unintentional poisonings in the United States than any other agent, with the highest incidence occurring during the cold-weather months (1). Although most of these deaths occur in residences or motor vehicles (2), two incidents among campers in Georgia illustrate the danger of CO in outdoor settings. This report describes the two incidents, which resulted in six deaths, and provides recommendations for avoiding CO poisoning in outdoor settings.

Cases 1-4. On the afternoon of March 14, 1999, a 51-year-old man, his 10-year-old son, a 9-year-old boy, and a 7-year-old girl were found dead inside a zipped-up, 10-foot by 14-foot, two-room tent at their campsite in southeast Georgia (a pet dog also died). A propane gas stove, still burning, was found inside the tent; the stove apparently had been brought inside to provide warmth. The occupants had died during the night. Postmortem carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) levels measured 50%, 63%, 69%, and 63%, respectively, in the four decedents (in the general U.S. population, COHb concentrations average 1% in nonsmokers and 4% in smokers [3]).

Cases 5 and 6. On March 27, 1999, a 34-year-old man and his 7-year-old son were found dead inside their zipped-up tent at a group camping site in central Georgia. They were discovered by other campers just before 9 a.m. A charcoal grill was found inside the tent; the grill apparently had been brought inside to provide warmth after it had been used outside for cooking. Postmortem COHb levels in the two campers measured 68% and 76%, respectively.

Reported by: R Wheeler, Covington; MA Koponen, MD, Georgia Bur of Investigation; AB John-son, MPH, PJ Meehan, MD, District 3-4, Newton County Health Dept, Covington; SE Lance-Parker, DVM, KE Powell, MD, Div of Public Health, Georgia Dept of Human Resources. Environmental Hazards Epidemiology Section, Health Studies Br, Surveillance and Programs Br, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Br, Div of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health; Div of Applied Public Health Training, Epidemiology Program Office; and EIS officers, CDC.
Editorial Note:

On respiration, CO binds to hemoglobin with an affinity 200-250 times greater than that of oxygen, forming a COHb complex (4). The principal toxic effect of CO exposure is tissue hypoxia because COHb is less efficient at transporting and delivering oxygen. Poisoning symptoms, such as headache, dizziness, and nausea, usually are seen at COHb levels of greater than 10% in otherwise healthy persons (2).

During 1979-1988 in the United States, from 878 to 1513 deaths per year were attributed to unintentional CO poisoning (1). CO poisoning has been reported in many different settings, including homes (5), automobiles (6), and indoor arenas (7). The findings in this report demonstrate the danger of CO from portable gas stoves and charcoal grills, specifically if placed inside a tent or other confined sleeping area. In the United States during 1990-1994, portable fuel-burning camp stoves and lanterns were involved in 10-17 CO poisoning deaths each year, and charcoal grills were involved in 15-27 deaths each year (2). During this same time, an annual average of 30 fatal CO poisonings occurred inside tents or campers (2).

Evening temperatures often drop unexpectedly, even during warmer months of the year. Campers who are unprepared for colder weather may overlook the danger of operating fuel-burning camping heaters, portable gas stoves, or charcoal grills inside tents and campers. Camping stoves and heaters are not designed to be used indoors and can emit hazardous amounts of CO, and smoldering charcoal emits large amounts of CO. Inside a tent or camper, these sources produce dangerous concentrations of CO, which becomes even more dangerous to sleeping persons who are unable to recognize the early symptoms of CO poisoning.

To avoid hazardous CO exposures, fuel-burning equipment such as camping stoves, camping heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills should never be used inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter. Opening tent flaps, doors, or windows is insufficient to prevent build-up of CO concentrations from these devices. When using fuel-burning devices outdoors, the exhaust should not vent into enclosed shelters. Warnings about the potential for CO poisoning should be stated clearly in the owner's manual and on labels permanently affixed to portable stoves. In 1997, changes made in the labeling requirements for retail charcoal containers* more clearly conveyed the danger of burning charcoal inside homes, tents, or campers. Rather than relying on fuel-burning appliances to supply heat, campers should leave home with adequate bedding and clothing and should consume extra calories and fluids during the outing to prevent hypothermia. Continuing efforts to educate the public by organizations that promote outdoor activities or operate camping areas also should decrease camping-associated CO poisoning.
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Coleman Heaters

Postby Alfred » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:29 am

Hey Gang,

So what's the deal with the Coleman Propane Catalytic Heaters, their promo material says they're safe inside tents?

This pasted from the Coleman website:

We've thought of everything. Heaters you can use in your tent, garage, shop, ice shanty or the house if the power goes out. These portable heaters are great for use at the kids' soccer, football or softball games. No hoses. No cords. Just heat.Then we built a more stylish version you can use on your back deck or patio. Warmth and style, all from Coleman.

Provides comfortable warmth whether indoors or in a tent• 1,500 BTU output operates up to 14 hours from one 16.4 oz propane cylinder (not included)
4 minute video of our build - A 5x8 Camper for a family of 5 - http://youtu.be/CYGTlkfpIhY
How we built a 5x8 camper for a family of 5, using a utility trailer with an incorporated bunk bed for the kids.
From plain trailer to campground!

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Also - More pictures here: http://flic.kr/ps/225piC
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Re: Coleman Heaters

Postby mikeschn » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:10 pm

Alfred wrote:Hey Gang,

So what's the deal with the Coleman Propane Catalytic Heaters, their promo material says they're safe inside tents?

This pasted from the Coleman website:

We've thought of everything. Heaters you can use in your tent, garage, shop, ice shanty or the house if the power goes out. These portable heaters are great for use at the kids' soccer, football or softball games. No hoses. No cords. Just heat.Then we built a more stylish version you can use on your back deck or patio. Warmth and style, all from Coleman.

Provides comfortable warmth whether indoors or in a tent• 1,500 BTU output operates up to 14 hours from one 16.4 oz propane cylinder (not included)


If it's not vented, for example if it doesn't have a chimmney, or a flue, then it puts out carbon monoxide. In addition it will use up the oxygen in your small enclosed space.

Both are very real dangers...

Mike...
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Postby dlmarti » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:27 pm

buy a dog? :lol:

Very portable, and if dry they put out a decent amount of heat.

When my wife and I used to camp in the back of my pickup cap, we had two medium sized dogs. Between the two of us and the two dogs the area stayed very warm even during winter.
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Re: Coleman Heaters

Postby Miriam C. » Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:10 am

mikeschn wrote:
Alfred wrote:Hey Gang,

So what's the deal with the Coleman Propane Catalytic Heaters, their promo material says they're safe inside tents?

This pasted from the Coleman website:

We've thought of everything. Heaters you can use in your tent, garage, shop, ice shanty or the house if the power goes out. These portable heaters are great for use at the kids' soccer, football or softball games. No hoses. No cords. Just heat.Then we built a more stylish version you can use on your back deck or patio. Warmth and style, all from Coleman.

Provides comfortable warmth whether indoors or in a tent• 1,500 BTU output operates up to 14 hours from one 16.4 oz propane cylinder (not included)


If it's not vented, for example if it doesn't have a chimmney, or a flue, then it puts out carbon monoxide. In addition it will use up the oxygen in your small enclosed space.

Both are very real dangers...

Mike...


[quote]
• When used in any inside area,
provide a fresh air opening of at
least six square inches (39
square centimeters).
• Never operate the heater while
sleeping.[/quote]


http://www.coleman.com/coleman/images/pdf/5035.pdf

These are great when used with strict attention to the warnings. I am not a big fan of fire in a wooden structure. I would love a fire place though. :D
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Re: Coleman Heaters

Postby mikeschn » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:42 pm

Remember the guy who put a fireplace in his teardrop...? The name is eluding me now... But I think it was an electric fireplace. He also had a flat panel TV in there. It was a rebuild, because his previous one got damaged in an accident.

Mike...
Last edited by mikeschn on Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coleman Heaters

Postby Alfred » Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:33 pm

mikeschn wrote:Remember the guy who put a fireplace in his teardrop...?


Actually, my kids are full of ideas for the camper. One of them being my 10yo told me I should put a fireplace in the camper, so if it is raining outside, we can still make S'mores!

AL in Asheville :thumbsup:
4 minute video of our build - A 5x8 Camper for a family of 5 - http://youtu.be/CYGTlkfpIhY
How we built a 5x8 camper for a family of 5, using a utility trailer with an incorporated bunk bed for the kids.
From plain trailer to campground!

ImageImageImage
Also - More pictures here: http://flic.kr/ps/225piC
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Quartz heaters(?)

Postby Alfred » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:31 pm

OK, back on track...Given that most of the time we will be camping in campgrounds with shore power - What about those electric quartz heaters, seems to me I've heard folks mention using those...

Or am I ultimately just better off with electric blankets?

AL in Asheville :thinking:
4 minute video of our build - A 5x8 Camper for a family of 5 - http://youtu.be/CYGTlkfpIhY
How we built a 5x8 camper for a family of 5, using a utility trailer with an incorporated bunk bed for the kids.
From plain trailer to campground!

ImageImageImage
Also - More pictures here: http://flic.kr/ps/225piC
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Postby bobhenry » Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:08 am

Image

Nitroxjunkie's electric fireplace in the Topside Inn

Image

At the Shivaree in January his was the only rig that was 80 degrees inside :shock:
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Postby Alfred » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:24 am

bobhenry wrote:
Nitroxjunkie's electric fireplace in the Topside Inn...At the Shivaree in January his was the only rig that was 80 degrees inside :shock:


Man, that is too cool! Or actually, hot!

Al in Asheville :thumbsup:
4 minute video of our build - A 5x8 Camper for a family of 5 - http://youtu.be/CYGTlkfpIhY
How we built a 5x8 camper for a family of 5, using a utility trailer with an incorporated bunk bed for the kids.
From plain trailer to campground!

ImageImageImage
Also - More pictures here: http://flic.kr/ps/225piC
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Postby madjack » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:08 am

Al, we use the SMALLEST ceramic heater we could find...along with two mutant chihuahuas for all the heat(and then some) you could use...we have camped with no ceiling/insulation, 3/4ply walls/vent&windows opened and never got off the lowest settings...if ya got shore power available, it's the way to go(nothing wrong with electric blankets either)................
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Postby Alfred » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:25 pm

madjack wrote:Al, we use the SMALLEST ceramic heater we could find...


OK, yes I meant to type CERAMIC heater, typed quartz heater by mistake. I'll probably just pick-up one of those. I don't think I'll be camping without a land-line too often.

AL. :thumbsup:
4 minute video of our build - A 5x8 Camper for a family of 5 - http://youtu.be/CYGTlkfpIhY
How we built a 5x8 camper for a family of 5, using a utility trailer with an incorporated bunk bed for the kids.
From plain trailer to campground!

ImageImageImage
Also - More pictures here: http://flic.kr/ps/225piC
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Postby mikeschn » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:50 pm

MJ,

I was thinking about that again last night too. You are right, the biggest, safest bang for the buck is electric blankets or mattress warmers...

Alfred,

No need to risk CO or no O, whether you are on the grid or off!

We used a mattress warmer in Myrtle Beach at christmas time, and it was wonderful. They make 12v versions of that as well.

Mike...
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Postby Alfred » Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:35 pm

mikeschn wrote:MJ,

I was thinking about that again last night too. You are right, the biggest, safest bang for the buck is electric blankets or mattress warmers...

Alfred,

No need to risk CO or no O, whether you are on the grid or off!

We used a mattress warmer in Myrtle Beach at christmas time, and it was wonderful. They make 12v versions of that as well.

Mike...


Mike - Does a ceramic heater also post the same dangers? AL.
4 minute video of our build - A 5x8 Camper for a family of 5 - http://youtu.be/CYGTlkfpIhY
How we built a 5x8 camper for a family of 5, using a utility trailer with an incorporated bunk bed for the kids.
From plain trailer to campground!

ImageImageImage
Also - More pictures here: http://flic.kr/ps/225piC
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Postby mikeschn » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:50 pm

The biggest danger with a ceramic heater is igniting something. If you have it too close to a blanket, or a curtain or a wall...

Mike...
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