Caravanners and campers urged to take extra care

Posted 09/05/2012 14:10:36

Caravanners and campers are being urged to take extra care following a caravan fire in Caernarfon over the bank holiday weekend in which a 47 year old man was injured - and, inShropshire, the tragic death of a teenager at a camping incident highlights the need for everyone to be more aware of the dangers of barbeques.

The plea follows on from other tragic caravan fires in North Wales during the last twelve months - including in Llangollen in February where a man in his 40s died, and the terrible caravan fire in Barmouth last June where two men lost their lives and a two year old girl was seriously injured.

In August last year, a 34 year old mother from Chesterfied died while camping near Pwllheli after being overcome by poisonous carbon monoxide from a smouldering barbeque.

Gareth Griffiths, Senior Fire Safety Manager, said: "Fire can strike at any time, anywhere - and it is vital that we are all on our guard and try to do all that we can to keep safe. Caravans and tents are potentially more hazardous as the inherent risks are magnified in confined spaces.

"The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from a barbeque left to smoulder cannot be over emphasised - portable barbeques must always be used in an area with proper ventilation, preferably outside, due to the potential rapid build up of the deadly gas. Low levels of exposure can cause dizziness, headaches and flu-like symptoms - the gas can quickly render someone unconscious by depriving them of oxygen and at high levels it can kill in minutes."

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is advising those planning a break in a caravan or tent to keep the following advice in mind:

Be prepared

-       Ensure tents or caravans are kept at least six metres apart

-       Find out what the fire-fighting arrangements are on the campsite and where the nearest telephone is

-       Fit an optical smoke alarm in your caravan and make sure it is working

-       Make sure there is either a fully charged water or dry powder extinguisher located inside the caravan near the exit door a a fire blanket adjacent to the cooking area

-       Keep a torch handy for emergencies - do not use a candle

-       Do not leave children alone in a caravan - and keep matches and lighters out of the reach

-       Do not overload electric sockets or extension leads if you have access to a power supply and make sure electrical appliances are working correctly

-       Make sure everyone knows how to operate escape windows and doors

-       Keep flammable liquids and gas cylinders away from tents.

-       Do not cook inside your tent.      

-       Be prepared to cut your way out of your tent in the event of a fire.

-       If your clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP AND ROLL.

-       Oil burning appliances should not be used in or around tents.

-       Cooking appliances should not be used in small tents.

-       Do not smoke inside tents.

If there is a fire:

-       Get everyone out straight away. Fires in tents and caravans spread very quickly.

-       Call the fire and rescue service.

-       Give a map reference, if possible. Otherwise give a landmark such as a farm or pub to help the fire and rescue service locate you.

Bottled gas:

-       Extreme care is required as gas cylinders may explode in a fire

-       Keep cylinders outside a caravan unless a special ventilated compartment is provided inside

-       Before going to be or leaving the caravan turn off all appliances - the cylinder should also be turned off unless an appliance such as a refrigerator is designed for continuous running

-       Never use a cooker or heater while travelling.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety checks for everyone, including caravanners, and will install smoke alarms where necessary - contacting the free 24 hour hotline on 0800 169 1234 or e-mailcfs@nwales-fireservice.org.uk

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