Some safety guidlines for campers and caravanners.
There are several ways to use electrical appliances in your unit, from wind-up torches powered by your own hands through to mains-powered microwave ovens.
Used incorrectly electricity can be dangerous, especially in the damp environment you often find on a campsite.
Use the right kit.
Always use a purpose-built lead designed for your type of unit. These have special weatherproof plugs and sockets designed to connect to the sites hook-up point and your unit. If you have a caravan or motorhome, plug the lead into your unit first - then into the site bollard. This way you will not be carrying a live lead around.
Its especially important to keep all your electrical equipment dry. Make sure everything is kept off the ground and away from the tent fabric, where condensation can form.
Residual Current Devices (RCDs).
Wired into the circuit between your appliances and the sites hook-up point will be a safety device known as a Residual Current Device (RCD).
An RCD is designed to cut off the supply immediately in the case of a leakage of current to earth. Such a leakage could occur if an appliance is faulty or in damp conditions.
How much power
Another thing youll need to think about is just what equipment you can plug in. At home youll probably have plenty of sockets and its rare to overload them, but a campsite supply is likely to be limited.
Try to use electrical equipment specifically designed for campers unless you know your kit is low powered. Dont try to run your heater and kettle together - youre likely to overload your pitch socket causing it to cut out and you may even cut out other sockets on the campsite.
Gas and liquid fuels.
Unless you always use an electric hook-up, chances are you will use gas or a liquid fuel when you are camping or caravanning.
Used properly, appliances using these fuels are safe and efficient, but leaks can be dangerous.
Have your installation and equipment checked regularly and make sure you are familiar with the equipment you are using. This probably means reading the manual!
Fuel containers should always be of an approved type. They should be transported and stored upright and secured in position.
When you are using any gas or liquid fuel appliances (and dont forget - many caravans and motorhomes will have a gas fridge working all the time), its vital to have adequate ventilation. Poor ventilation and badly adjusted appliances can lead to a build up of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
Some campers install carbon monoxide warning alarms in their units, but these should never be considered a replacement for having your appliances and gas installation serviced regularly.
Cooking and fire safety
The risk from fire can be significant when you are camping and all items conected to fires such as cookers, lamps, barbecues, and gas and liquid fuel containers should be handled with care.
Cooking when on holiday is very different from cooking at home. The space will be limited esspecially if the weather is bad, and although it is advised that cooking is best done outside in the open this will not be practical in the rain.
Reduce the risk of fire and the effects of a fire if one does occur:-
o DO NOT use candles or scent burning sticks inside a tent.
o DO NOT fill liquid burners inside the tent or when the appliance is still hot.
o DO NOT smoke inside the tent.
o ALWAYS ensure that there is plenty of ventilation when using a gas or liquid fuel burner.
Ensure that caravans and tents are kept at least 6 metres apart
o DO ensure that caravans and tents are kept at least 6 metres apart fire safety diagram of two tents 6 mentres apart
o DO make sure you know the site fire fighting arrangements and where the nearest telephone, the fire points, and water facilities are.
o DO keep a torch handy for emergencies.
o DO ensure you are familiar with the operation of all your equipment before using it on site, especially if it is first time use.
o DO keep matches, lighters, gas containers and fuels containers safely and out of reach of children, ideally store gas and liquid fuels outside the tent.
o DO ensure that all cookers, heaters, gas lights, barbeques etc. are out and cooled down before you go to bed.
If a fire does occur:-
o Get everyone out and safely away from the fire.
o Raise the alarm, warn other campers.
o Call the fire service.
o If your clothing catches fire lay down, smother the flames with heavy material, a coat or blanket and roll over to smother the flames.
o Remember even a fire resistant tent will burn and it is suprising how quickly.
It is a good idea to have a fire extinguisher / fire blanket as part of your camping equipment readily to hand and not locked away.
Always have a first aid kit to deal with simple emergencies. Dont keep it sealed up until its needed. Check what is inside and make sure you know how to use the contents. Read the leaflet before an emergency occurs. That way youll be prepared.
The most important thing to remember is that first aid is precisely that - initial help for small cuts and bruises. If you are in any doubt at all about treating the patient, if you think there may be something seriously wrong then get proper medical attention.
Getting yourself trained in first aid might be a good idea. The British Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance and the St Andrews Ambulance Association in Scotland all organise local courses.
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