It’s that time of the year where people are out and about, enjoying their summer holidays outdoors.
This has prompted Taree Fire Station Commander Peter Willard to provide some helpful advice to ensure you remain fire savvy when camping, in a caravan or on a boat.
It is a regulation that smoke alarms must be installed in all new and existing movable dwellings where people sleep. This is regardless of whether they are registered for road use or not.
These include caravans, campervans, holiday vans, park van annexes and associated structures.
“This does not include tents or camper trailers but we recommend you do,” Commander Willard said.
When planning to use a caravan, ensure you turn off any pilot lights before towing or when the towing vehicle’s engine is running.
“Install a smoke alarm close to the sleeping area and consider having a fire extinguisher and fire blanket near the exit as well,” Commander Willard said.
You should familiarise yourself with with any camp site fire routines or equipment installed and locate a safe refuge place in case of a bush fire.
Gas pipes and connectors should be checked regularly and be in good working order.
“Keep heaters away from the internal fittings in caravans and have a portable radio to keep updated regarding weather conditions and fire restrictions that may be in force,” Commander Willard said.
Commander Willard added that you should never cook or smoke in tents and recommended that you should purchase a flame retardant tent.
“Cooking should never be left unattended and and always secure any matches and lighters,” Commander Willard said.
Campfires should be located downwind and a safe distance from tents.
“Remember, if your caravan catches fire, ‘once you get out, stay out’ and dial Triple Zero.”
“Develop a fire escape plan that considers all occupants of a caravan and practice it.”
Commander Willard added that a fire on board any vessel has the potential to be very dangerous due to the isolation from land and the volatility of on board fuels such as petrol and gas.
“Make sure you know and understand your boat and its capabilities,” Commander Willard said.
A smoke alarm must be installed close to the sleeping area and away from fumes as well as having a fire extinguisher near an exit
A fire escape plan should be developed that considers all occupants whether at sea or moored.
Adequate ventilation should be ensured for all areas, particularly when the motor is running.
All fuel lines should be regularly inspected as well as the exhaust system for leakages.
Residents are reminded to call Triple Zero for any new or unattended fires.
Commander Willard said it is of high importance that LPG cylinders are stored in well ventilated areas and are turned off when not in use.
He added that electrical equipment needs to be maintained and switches or equipment should not be operated if flammable vapours are present.