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Smoke Alarms In Caravans

We Aussies love getting out camping and caravanning. So you’ve packed the fishing gear, the surfing gear, bikes etc. but have you checked how safe your caravan is? Fire Safety is crucial in a caravan. There is (usually) only one exit and fire moves extremely fast. So to avoid a fire there are some simple points:

  • Make sure you have an escape route and keep it clear at all times.
  • Never leave cooking unattended - and don’t drink and fry.
  • Do not overload your power plugs.
  • Never use candles in an enclosed space
  • Keep clothes, furniture and other flammables at least 1 metre away from heaters
  • Fan heaters with a cut-off switch are the safest
  • Get insurance. Really, enough said.

Here are a few more tips thanks to

  • Keep your cylinders outside caravan
  • Ensure that your cylinders in the caravan are safely maintained. Store the external cylinders in an opposite direction to the rig. Ensure that your gas cylinders are always placed outside the van and maintained in an off position when not in use.

    Further, full-time caravanners must also ensure that the cylinder is empty prior to disconnection as well as replacement process. To avoid gas leaks and subsequent fire hazards, ensure that your empty cylinders are stored in an open space and locked with a strong strap or something similarly strong.

    Use of Appliances
    All electrical wirings must be safely setup in a caravan to avoid a gas leak turning into a fire hazard. Ensure that you check the health of all your caravan appliances, especially high-drain equipment by taking the assessment of a certified electrician periodically. Most BBQ fire hazards according to caravan insurance claims arise from tumbling over of appliances. You must ensure that all the appliances are in an off position when you hit the bed. Moreover, also ensure that the appliances are regularly serviced to avoid fire threats. 

    Never store fuel beneath caravan 
    Avoid using fuel types such as diesel, paraffin or petrol when attempting to light your caravan indoor stove. Never store the fuel beneath your caravan. Moreover, you must ensure that the cylinder is always stored at a levelled ground too. Conduct periodical checks on the fuel tanks for cracks and leaks if you want a session of safe caravanning. Fuel leaks are the biggest fire hazards, so the rule of thumb is to avoid using LPG, which is the most flammable fuel.  Also, avoid carrying extra fuel if possible. Extra fuel should be placed in strong storage containers that will unlikely break.

    Never block the air vent
    Yet another significant catalyst of a fire is the lack of ventilation in a rig. Never block the air vent of your rig. If a gas leak occurs when you’re asleep, you can become unconsciousness due to lack of oxygen in case a fire occurs. Moreover, you should clean the air vents and ensure that there is ample ventilation in the heating area as well.

  • Avoid parking in grassy areas 
  • When parking your caravan, avoid camp sites that has tall grass as these can easily catch fire. The same applies to parking spots with spinifex growth as the same is a fire hazard.

  • Safe Cooking
  • Cooking while moving is strictly prohibited  as it is one of the major causes of fire. Moreover, setting up BBQ might scatter cinders or raise the heat, which may cause the awning fabric to catch fire. In addition, never leave the stove unattended when cooking inside the van. You must also remember to always keep a 2m distance from the caravan when cooking outside to prevent caravan fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Smoking Rules inside Caravan
  • If you’re a smoker, you are naturally at risk to caravan fires. Thus, it’s best to avoiding smoking inside the caravan or at least on your bed. Make strict rules about disposing of your cigarettes safely by using metal ashtrays when smoking within your rig. An additional tip to fireproof a caravan is by switching off the pilot lights when towing. 

  • Have fire extinguishers handy
  • The most important equipment to prevent fire from spreading is a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher. To make sure your extinguisher is effective all the time, replace it every three years, it’s usual shelf life. You must also test the fire extinguisher prior to each caravanning trip and keep a second extinguisher in the tow vehicle. Moreover, make sure you put fire extinguishers at an accessible location. You can also keep a sand bucket or long hose that you can use in case a fire occurs.

  • Fire Blankets
  • To settle a small fire, a fire blanket will suffice. Fire blankets are made of fire resistant material. Select a fire blanket that can withstand temperatures of up to 500 0C. Place the fire blanket next to your exit door. As most fire blankets have no date of expiry, they are considered durable by full-time caravanners. 

  • Smoke Alarm
  • Smoke alarms are typically installed next to the sleeping area in most caravans. Inspect it before starting every caravanning trip. To make sure that the smoke alarm is working properly and remember to replace the entire smoke alarm unit every decade.

    Smoke Alarm Legislation for Caravans Is Different In Every State

    You should be aware that there are different smoke alarm legislation/regulations in each State.

    In NSW, Victoria and Northern Territory regardless of where  your caravan is registered your caravan/RV must be fitted with a smoke alarm by law. If you are visiting South Australia and you are on-site for 60 days or longer a hard-wired or 10 year, long life, non-removable, non-replaceable battery powered smoke alarm is required by law.

    Other states it is recommended you install a smoke alarm.

    Thanks to for info and graphic. 


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