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Camping and caravanning safety

24th August 2009

Now it’s the last couple of weeks of the summer holidays, the warm weather has finally arrived. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service want to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer. Following a recent incident in which a tent caught fire we want to share with you a few safety tips to help you stay safe if you’re planning a camping trip.

  • Ensure caravans and tents are at least six metres apart and away from parked cars, to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
  • Keep a torch handy for emergencies – never use lighted candles.
  • Make sure you know the campsite’s fire safety arrangements and check where the nearest telephone is.

Staying in a tent

  • Keep cooking appliances away from the tent walls as they could easily set alight.
  • Never cook inside a small tent.
  • Don’t cook near flammable materials or long grass, they can set alight easily.
  • Make sure you know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there is a fire.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to put out clothing that’s on fire – stop, drop and roll.
  • Don’t smoke inside tents.

Staying in a caravan

  • Fit and test a smoke alarm in your caravan – optical alarms are usually most effective.
  • Take special care when cooking – don’t leave pans unattended.
  • Turn off all appliances before you go out or to bed.
  • Make sure ashtrays are made of a material that can’t burn – and never smoke in bed.
  • Don’t dry clothes over the stove.
  • Remove any litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
  • Make sure the caravan is ventilated, and never block air vents, to avoid a build up of poisonous gasses.
  • Consider keeping a fire extinguisher by the entrance, but always read the instructions before using it.

Using gas cylinders

  • Don’t use petrol or paraffin to light a solid fuel stove.
  • Keep flammable liquids (such as petrol and gas cylinders) outside and away from children.
  • Only change gas cylinders when they’re completely empty and store them away from caravans and vehicles.
  • Make sure the gas pipe connection is secure. If you suspect a leak, turn off the main cylinder valve.

What to do if there is a fire

  • Keep calm and get everyone out as quickly as you can.
  • Call the Fire and Rescue Service and give the exact location. Give a map reference if possible, or give a landmark such as a farm or pub.

A fire can destroy a tent in less than 60 seconds.

On average 1,400 fires per year occur in caravans.

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