Going camping with your Caravan? Are you prepared for a Fire?
A fire can happen anywhere, especially in the Australian Bush, and it’s important to always be prepared for what you would do if you had one in your Caravan, Motorhome or Camping Ground.
It is mandatory* and a legal requirement in Australia to have at least one fire extinguisher in your Caravan or Motorhome. Of course, having the right safety equipment to protect your caravan against fire, such as a fire extinguisher is essential to protect your passengers, vehicle and camping ground.
Fire risks for caravans and motorhomes?
- Indoor cooking fires:
Cooking in your caravan or motorhome kitchen is usually the main cause of fire.
- Camp fires:
Going on an adventure with your caravan or motorhome takes you to the country side and the outback, and nothing beats a camp fire under the southern stars. This comes with a fire risk that should be quickly managed.
- Bush fires:
Unfortunately bush fires are more and more common those days; either being started by natural causes, such as lightning strikes, or by people (accidentally or on purpose)....
- Vehicle Fires:
While most modern-day vehicles are well-designed and very safe. they can still catch fire (Car accidents, Electrical System Failure, Fuel System Leaks, Overheating Engine, Overheating Catalytic Converters).
Remember once a vehicle is ablaze, it really doesn't matter what caused it. If your caravan or motorhome is on fire, get out fast and get as far away from the vehicle as possible.
Please follow all fire restrictions and directions by landowners, and State Emergency Services offices.
What fire safety equipment should I have in my Caravan?
Our recommended fire and overall safety products for your caravan or motorhome include:
- Fire Extinguishers
- Fire Blanket in the kitchen area
- Smoke or Heat Alarm in the kitchen area
- First Aid Kit
Which fire extinguisher is the best for my caravan or motorhome?
While there are a few different types of fire extinguishers (dry powder, water, foam, carbon dioxide, wet chemical), in our professional opinion, here is the best extinguisher set up for your caravan:
Inside the Caravan or motorhome:
we recommend using at minimum a 1kg, or for added safety a 2.5kg dry chemical powder extinguisher (ABE). It has good performance, a small gross weight and physical size so anyone in the caravan can use it. It is a great multi-purpose fire extinguisher well suited for all types of vehicles. (be aware: it leaves a mess and it is not eco friendly)
Also known as a Dry Powder, DCP or ABE, they are the most common type used in Australia and are labelled A, B, E, which tells you the types of fires the extinguisher is effective against. A is for ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, and cloth; B is flammable liquids, such as petrol, turpentine or paint; and E is for electrical fires (home appliances, computers...).
As ABE extinguishers are multi-purpose and cover 3 out of the 6 classes/types of fires, they are the best extinguisher solution for your caravan or motorhome.
Outside the Caravan or motorhome:
we recommend using a 9L water extinguisher to tackle camp & clothes fires. It has zero impact on the environment, and can be easily recharged & re-used (water + 80/100 psi pressure).
If your caravan or motorhome is equipped with Lithium Ion Batteries:
we recommend a F-500 extinguisher, not only it can extinguish A, B, and F fires, it is also the first agent to extinguish Lithium Ion Battery fires. It also has zero impact on the environment, but can't be easily recharged.
If you are limited in space, the minimum requirement would be a dry powder extinguisher (because it is cost effective and it can extinguish A, B, and E fires), the second one would be a F-500 for lithium ion battery fires and A,B, F fires.Keeping in mind that a water extinguisher is also practical, you can refill it as often as you want.
Where to install your caravan or motorhome extinguisher(s)?
Caravan or motorhome extinguishers must be installed in easily accessible locations. If you place it in your trunk or on the roof, you might not have time to get to it when needed. We recommend installing one in the kitchen. It is also important to securely mount the extinguisher (with short self drilling pan head screws) to prevent rolling around or sliding during an accident.
When you are outside, an extinguisher should also be accessible: you should mount a heavy duty vehicle bracket and install it on the front of your caravan or at the back of your motorhome (with an extinguisher cover bag).
Installing the vehicle mounting bracket:
Since surface types vary, mounting screws are not included with our extinguishers and vehicle brackets. Please purchase screws or bolts specifically designed for the surface on which you will mount the fire extinguisher.
Use strong screws to mount the vehicle bracket securely onto metal or another solid surface that can support the weight of the fire extinguisher. The mounting bracket must be secure so you can remove the extinguisher quickly in an emergency.
Extinguishers above 4kg will need a heavy duty bracket.
How to use a caravan or motorhome Fire Extinguisher?
Knowing how to operate a caravan or motorhome fire extinguisher could save your life in an emergency.
The key to putting out a fire with a caravan or motorhome extinguisher is to use the PASS strategy: Pull the pin, Aim the hose towards the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever, and Sweep the hose.
Remember: Fires double in size every 60 seconds so use a fire extinguisher for small, contained fires only. Leave immediately if you're unable to extinguish the fire and call 000.
What to do If a Caravan or Motorhome fire occurs?
If your caravan or motorhome catches fire, you should immediately evacuate and never attempt to extinguish fires yourself.
if the fire is small and you are equipped with a caravan or motorhome Fire Extinguisher you can try extinguishing the fire.
- Get everybody out of the caravan or motorhome.
- Call the fire service on 000.
- Do a headcount and let the fire service know if someone is missing.
- Do not go back inside.
- Remember Call triple zero (000).
Australian Standards for caravan or motorhomes:
"Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 44/01 – Specific Purpose Vehicle Requirements) 2006" by the Australian federal government states:
22.214.171.124. Fire Extinguisher: Motorhomes and ‘Caravans’ shall be provided with a fire extinguisher(s) selected and located in accordance with the Australian Standard AS 2444 - 1985 “Portable Fire Extinguishers - Selection and Location”.