Be Aware, Be Equipped, Be Safe
If a fire breaks out in a caravan or mobile home it is always serious. Fires in caravans and mobile homes kill around 9 people and injure about 100 every year in the UK.
To raise your level of awareness, Cover4Caravans in association with Safelincs Ltd, the UK’s largest online fire safety provider, have put together a few simple precautions which could reduce the chances of a fire in your caravan.
- Siting your caravan
Park your caravan or mobile home at least 6 metres from neighbouring caravans and locate any firefighting equipment on site. Do not store petrol, diesel or gas containers under your caravan or mobile home.
- Smoke or heat alarms
Ensure you have at least one smoke or heat alarm fitted. Test your alarms once a week to check the batteries are working, and fit new batteries at the start of each season. Optical alarms are usually most effective in a caravan.
Never leave the cooker unattended. If a chip pan catches fire, never throw water over it – this will only make it worse. If you can turn off the heat safely, then do so. Never try to move the pan until it is completely cool. Cover with lid if safe to do so. Have a fire blanket available in your kitchen.
Unplug all electrical equipment at night. Ensure all electrical wiring is in good condition. Do not overload multi-adapters and do not run appliances from a light socket.
Stand your fire on a metal or stone slab. Heaters need air, so open a door or window. Always keep the caravan ventilated and ensure that air vents are clear – if air vents get blocked, it could be fatal.
- Carbon Monoxide
Ensure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your caravan, and check the batteries regularly.
If you suspect that there is a gas leak, turn off all appliances and the main cylinder valve, open all doors and windows and do not smoke or turn on any electrical switches or appliances until you have been given the all clear.
Do not dry clothes over the stove or heater. Do not let rubbish build up and remove litter to a bin well away from the caravan. Keep lit candles well away from anything that can catch fire.
Use metal or glass ashtrays – not plastic. Make sure all cigarettes are put out properly. Don’t smoke in bed. Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Escape Plan
Make sure everyone knows what to do if the smoke alarm goes off. Try to stay calm and get everyone out as quickly as possible. If there is smoke, keep low where the air is clearer. Keep your door and window keys where they can be easily located. Have a break glass hammer in your caravan for emergencies. Call the Fire and Rescue Service, ring 999.
- Safety Equipment
It is recommended that for caravans you have a fire blanket, smoke or heat alarm and a dry powder extinguisher. You can view these and other fire safety products on the Safelincs website – www.safelincs.co.uk
Touring Caravan Insurance and Static Caravan Insurance Caravan Opening and Closing Procedure
Caravan Opening Procedure
- Check the wheel bolts are tightened and tyre pressure is correct
- Connect your leisure battery and ensure the master control switch on your control panel is on
- Check all interior walls for integrity
- Check your smoke/carbon monoxide detector works and has a new battery
- Couple up the two waste water hoses to the outlet which is usually fitted near the rear of the offside wheel
- Remove the cassette toilet and add the appropriate dose of chemical treatment together with water
- Close all taps before turning on water supply
- Turn on the gas supply at the cylinder and the supply taps, check gas gauge is operational
- Check around the windows that the rubber seals are secured properly
- Look for door misalignment. Lock and unlock the doors and cupboards to ensure they open and shut correctly
- Check the gas and water is correctly connected by checking the fridge, pump, taps and shower
- Ensure the caravan is correctly coupled up before you set off and the break away cable is attached
- Make sure you know about the operation of the handbrake, jockey wheel and stabiliser hitch
- Check your road lights are working correctly
- Don’t forget to put your registration plate on the back of the caravan
Caravan Closing Procedure
- Drain the caravan water system
- Remove all of the water drain plugs and filters (including the water for the toilet system)
- Leave the toilet waste tank partially open to prevent it sticking shut
- Remove the shower head to drain any excess water out of the system
- Switch off all internal electrical switches, remove plugs from their sockets and check fuses
- Remove the leisure battery and store in a dry place
- Recharge the battery every five or six weeks
- Make sure that all the gas appliances and bottles are turned off
- Remove all bedding, cushions and pillows and store them at home
- Open all internal doors and cupboards to allow air to circulate
- Heat the caravan for an hour or two in the winter, this will help to remove accumulated damp
- Grease all of the moving parts on your caravan to aid performance and help reduce future problems
- Check the caravan’s road lights are working correctly and clean the external light lenses inside and out
- Remember, if you’re not sure, consult a qualified electrician and do not attempt any rewiring yourself
- Remove the wheels if caravan is parked in the same place for a long period of time. Always make sure that your caravan insurance allows you to do this first.
- Gas safety in your caravan
- Guide to caravan safety
- Tyre safety and your van
- Fire safety tips in your ‘van