Caravan Safety Tips
A caravan or mobile home fire is always serious but can have have disastrous consequences. By following a few simple steps and having a basic level of awareness you can reduce the risk of a fire in your caravan or mobile home.
Siting Your Caravan
When siting your caravan it is important to try and site it at least six metres away from others, therefore lowering the risk of fire spread. It is also important to keep your caravan ventilated and don't block any air vents. If you are on a caravan site get to know where all the fire fighting media is located.
You may wish to consider having a fire extinguisher. This can minimise the risk of fire spreading. You need to ensure that everyone knows how to use it. We would recommend a dry powder extinguisher as it will tackle most small fires.
If you are on a caravan site, a fully charged Water or AFFF Foam fire extinguisher should be located in the caravan near an exit door and a fire blanket should be adjacent to the cooking area.
Smoke Alarms & Detection
Ensure you have at least one smoke alarm in your caravan and test your smoke alarm once a week to make sure the batteries are working. You can also test smoke alarms by using an aerosol smoke detector tester which is ozone and environmentally friendly.
Having a smoke alarm in your caravan minimises the risk of fire spreading and alerts people to the dangers. We would recommend an Optical smoke alarm to be fitted in a caravan or a mobile home as they are generally open planned. Although, if you are not using the caravan out of season we would recommend removing it as the battery may be affected by damp conditions.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms & Detection
Carbon Monoxide has no colour, taste or smell and is known as the ‘silent killer’. It is very important to have reliable Carbon Monoxide detector installed.
A carbon monoxide alarm detects toxic gases which are caused by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal and wood), which are used in everyday appliances such as heaters, engines and boilers. It is just as important to have a Carbon Monoxide detector in your caravan.
When cooking in your caravan it is important that you never leave your cooker unattended, especially when children are present.
Turn the pan handles away from the edge of the cooker to reduce the risk of the pan being knocked off.
Ensure you have a fire blanket in your kitchen area, especially if you have a chip pan.
Chip pan fires are the largest cause of home fire related injuries in the UK. The main cause of chip pan fires is when the oil and fat overheats and catches fire.
Electrical Appliances & Safety
Check appliances in your caravan or mobile home as often as possible to ensure electrical wiring is in good order. Ideally it should be tested regularly by a qualified electrician.
Make sure all heaters, cookers and TV sets are switched off last thing at night or when leaving your caravan. Never block heaters as it can cause a fire and remember that heaters need air, so open a door or window.
Do not overload electricity sockets and avoid using multi-adaptors. Do not run appliances from a light socket.
Ensure all gas cylinders are kept outside the caravan unless a special ventilated compartment is provided.
Hopefully you will never need to use it but make sure you have an escape plan if the worst was to happen.
Having a smoke alarm is the first step but make sure you know what to do if it is activated.
Try and keep calm and get everyone out as soon as possible. Don’t try to tackle the fire. You can prepare for this by having a regular walk through of your escape route so it is fresh in everyone’s mind.
Make sure you keep door and window keys where they can be easily located. It is good practice to have a break glass hammer in your caravan/mobile home in case of an emergency.
If there is smoke then try and keep as low as possible (below smoke layer) as the air is clearer here. As soon as possible call the fire and rescue service and do not re enter the caravan. Always keep your exits clear of any trip hazards to ensure a fast and practical escape.
Always ensure that cigarettes and extinguished correctly and cannot reignite. Do not use plastic ashtrays as they can melt, use metal or glass. Smoking in your bed is very dangerous. If you happen to fall asleep you could easily set fire to your bedding. Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
As the cold weather spreads across the country many people will start to reuse their electric blankets. Make sure you check your blanket for any signs of wear and tear. If for example you notice the blanket looking to fray or expose elements it may be time to get it checked or replaced.
Electric blankets account for over 5000 fires a year in the UK and you can prevent these by checking it on a regular basis.