WITH 64 fires in caravans last financial year, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QEES) is taking the opportunity this Seniors Week to remind caravanning enthusiasts to give their motor home a regular once-over and eliminate fire risks.
QFES State Community Education Manager David Sutch said it was particularly important to check caravans if they had been stored and unused for an extended period of time between trips.
“We recommend that you have at least one working photoelectric smoke alarm in the bedroom area of a caravan and an additional photoelectric smoke alarm for the annex if it doubles as a bedroom,” he said.
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“Photoelectric smoke alarms in caravans are highly recommended by QFES due to the compact design of caravans magnifying fire risks.
“Caravan-specific smoke alarms and smoke alarms suited for the hearing impaired are generally available from hardware stores.
“Before you leave for any trip, create a safety checklist and go over your escape plan, test safety switches, fit compliant fire blankets and extinguishers and check electrical appliances for frayed cords or any other visible damage.”
Mr Sutch said gas pipes also posed a risk in caravans, if not maintained properly.
“It is essential to turn off all gas cylinders while the caravan is being towed or while the campervan engine is on and pipes should be checked regularly, particularly when using country roads,” he said.
“Gas cylinders should remain outside if a proper storage cupboard is not fitted and, as would be standard in any home, all appliances should be turned off before going to sleep.
“Even small things, like the storage of clothes and linen well away from the kitchen, could make all the difference in preventing a fire and improving your chances of escape if a fire occurs.”
Even with correct preparation, Mr Sutch said in the event of a fire, there should be no hesitation in calling Triple Zero (000) for assistance.
“Particularly in small, lightweight motorhomes and caravans with a lot of flammable material, fires can escalate in a short period of time, so getting out and dialling Triple Zero (000) immediately is the priority.”