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John Jacobs gravatar image

These ‘dragon’ type space heaters are very efficient in their combustion and very good at heating large volumes.

However, there are a couple of things that must be borne in mind when using them in semi-confined areas.

  • There must be adequate ventilation to allow complete combustion of the diesel fuel. Failure to allow enough ventilation could cause the unit to produce poisonous carbon monoxide.

  • The by-products of combustion of hydrocarbon fuels are carbon dioxide and water vapour. If using a ‘dragon’ space heater in a tent or other structure with cold walls and ceiling, especially if you have lots of wet people inside, you may well find large amounts of condensate on the inside of the tent dripping onto the occupants. Good ventilation will combat this but also allow warm air to escape.

  • The modern low-sulphur diesel fuel should not produce harmful emissions for the occupants of the tent, in the short term.

  • Be very careful in a crowded space to ensure children or flammable materials do not get too close to the space heater. The prospect of a fire in that confined space doesn’t bear thinking about.

I have been training volunteers on Lesvos to combat hypothermia. The most important things are to get people out of wet clothes and into dry ones at the first opportunity. Once dry, if you give people warm sweet drinks, unless they are severely hypothermic, they will recover without further warming input. If necessary use heat pads to gently warm the core of the body, not the hands and feet. Pads are best placed under the armpits or against the abdomen tucked under the belt.

John Jacobs