Fire safety tips for your static caravan or lodge
A fire in a static caravan or lodge can be a very frightening experience and will likely cause extensive damage to your holiday home.
Thankfully, here at Leisuredays, we don’t see too many fire-related insurance claims, although we have seen a spike this season with a few severe fires.
Prevention is always much better than cure, so it’s always worth taking some basic precautions to prevent the worst from happening.
Fire safety essentials…
It’s worth investing in a few essential fire safety items that you can keep close by in case of a fire in your caravan.
Newer caravans will already be fitted with a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector – but make sure you do test them regularly and at least every time you visit your caravan.
It’s also recommended to have a 1kg (2lb) minimum capacity dry powder fire extinguisher inside your holiday home at all times, and it’s worth having a fire blanket near the oven and to familiarise yourself with how to use them. They could be a potential life saver, but should only be used to put out small fires and never use a powder extinguisher on a pan of fat or oil – only use a fire blanket on pan fires.
Our fire safety tips for holiday caravanners
- Choose a safety-conscious caravan park and make sure there’s a fire warning system in place and you know the routine should there be a fire on site. There should be at least a five metre gap between you and your neighbours (3.5 metres at the corners) to prevent fires from spreading quickly.
- Gas and electric safety: Make sure all your caravan’s gas and electric appliances are checked each year by a registered Gas Safe engineer and replace any appliances where necessary. If you’re hiring out your caravan you must keep a record of the gas safety check.
- When buying a second-hand static caravan, check the age of electric appliances such as fridge freezers and make sure they’re in good working order
- Make sure all electrical appliances are of a proprietary make and meet UK specifications. Avoid using low-cost, imported phone chargers as these can easily overheat.
- Remove charging appliances when not in use, don’t overload plug sockets and make sure cables aren’t tightly packed so they don’t overheat. Check and follow park guidelines on the charging of larger electrical appliances such as electric scooters, cars and items such as dialysis machines.
- Don’t leave your pans on the hob unattended and keep matches and lighters out of reach of children. Also, avoid smoking in your holiday caravan.
- Be careful where you toss your cushions from your bed on an evening. If they get too close to a heater then there’s a risk they could set alight. Similarly don’t put clothing or towels over electric heaters.
- Make sure all air vents are kept clear.
- It might seem obvious, but switch off heaters, cooking appliances and other electrical items before going to bed or when leaving your holiday caravan.
- Keep gas cylinders outside the caravan and if you suspect there’s a gas leak inside, turn off all appliances and the main cylinder valve, open all windows, and contact your site manager to get it checked out, or a gas engineer. When changing cylinders, make sure all cylinder valves are turned off before disconnecting.
- Be very careful using barbecues, camping stoves or patio heaters outside your unit, particularly on decked areas. Never take these inside your caravan or place them too near the sides, or leave them unattended. Follow park guidelines when disposing of barbecues, making sure hot coals are completely out and cold before disposing of any embers. Do not put coals into rubbish bins or onto decking.
- If you are one of the few owners to have a log burner in your lodge or static caravan be careful using accelerants such as petrol to light it. Also, make sure you don’t have flammable materials near your stove and if you’re looking to install one, use a HETAS qualified engineer and make sure it’s placed on a hearth that meets building regulations. It’s also worth using a fireguard to prevent any burning embers from leaping onto the floor when opening up the stove door.
If you hire out your holiday caravan make sure you leave clear fire safety instructions to holidaymakers and that they’re aware of any fire risks and know what to do in the event of a fire.
Have a plan!
Remember a fire will spread at an alarming rate in a static caravan so your first priority has to be getting everyone out safely.
Make sure you have a fire escape plan and everyone knows it – and also make sure all hinges and window catches are in good working order and you know how to use them in case you do need to escape quickly.
Also, be careful not to block any escape routes with shoes or bags, when you’re holidaying.
What to do if there is a fire…
- Get everyone out as quickly as possible and keep at a safe distance away from the caravan
- Call the fire service immediately
- Raise the alarm by alerting neighbouring caravan or lodge owners, as well as the holiday park manager
- If safe to do so, disconnect the main electricity supply and turn off the gas
- Remove the gas bottle if possible and only if it’s safe to be able to reach it
- Once out – stay out!
Find out more about our five star rated static caravan insurance to give you that extra peace of mind should the worst happen.