Static caravan fires are rare, but still occur more frequently than bricks and mortar house fires, meaning static caravan owners should be taking extra care to ensure their family and friends are properly protected, and good fire safety is being carried out.
By assessing fire risk in your static you can greatly reduce the likelihood of an incident and put yourself in the best possible position should a fire breakout. Static caravan fire safety can be broken down into two key areas:
The most effective way to fight fire is to reduce the risk of it happening in the first place. Here are some key ways to prevent fire in your static.
- Power cables and sockets. Ensure power sockets are not overloaded with multiple power cables or splitters, and that cables are never tightly packed or wound up when in use as this can cause them to overheat.
- Gas appliances. Have all gas appliances – this could mean your oven, boiler, or heating etc – checked annually by a Gas Safe engineer. (Gas Safe is the newer accreditation which supersedes the previous ‘Corgi’ registered system). This may be carried out by your park or offered as an additional service, so check with them first.
- Electrical appliances. It’s not just gas appliances which create heat, i.e. cookers and boilers, which pose a fire risk if not in proper working order but also fridges, freezers and washing machines – so ensure all appliances are checked regularly and serviced or replaced when needed.
- Smoke alarms. Smoke alarms provide a first line of defence against fire and can sometimes alert you to something which has begun to smoke but has not yet set alight.
- Children and pets. Small children and animals should obviously be protected from injuring themselves on hazards within your static caravan, but it’s also important that they are not able to interfere with something which could later cause a fire. This means child proofing switches and dials which control ovens, boilers and other potential fire causing hazards, and making sure fire places or heaters cannot be tampered with or knocked over.
- Smoking. Smoking inside your holiday home can present a fire risk as ashtrays or hot ash from cigarettes can take quite some time to actually set upholstery alight – meaning you don’t know there’s a problem until it’s too late. The easiest way to avoid this is to smoke outside your static, or to place ash trays in the sink and douse in water once used.
If a small fire occurs in your holiday home, such as a tea towel accidently left on a lit hob, then having the right fire fighting tools available to you allows you to quickly and safely deal with the problem.
However, your main priority should always be safety, so err on the side of caution and if in doubt exit the holiday home immediately along with all other inhabitants. This is particularly true if you are awoken in the middle of the night by your fire alarm, as under no circumstances should you try to investigate the cause of the smoke alarm as gas bottles igniting could cause a much larger fire or explosion to occur without warning. Simply exit the static caravan straight away and then once at a safe distance call 999 and alert neighbouring static caravan and lodge owners, plus the park operator, if possible.
As mentioned, some very small fires can be tackled safely with the correct fire safety devices, if caught early enough. Every static caravan or holiday lodge owner should have the following:
- Fire extinguishers. Every static caravan should have at least one fire extinguisher located in a convenient place where it can be accessed and used quickly. A multi use dry powder fire extinguisher designed for A, B and C class fires is designed for use on small fires including burning fabrics and wooden fixtures and fittings.
- Fire blankets. Fires originating from fats or cooking oils are known as F class fires, and should never be tackled with an ABC fire extinguisher as mentioned above. Instead a fire blanket should be used to cover and extinguish minor cooking oil fires.
- Smoke alarms. As well as being a way to catch fires before they have chance to spread or ignite properly during the day, smoke alarms are genuinely life-savers when you are in bed at night. Change the batteries regularly and test your smoke alarms every time you visit, and once a week during longer stays, to ensure they are in proper working order.
Many modern static caravans and holiday lodges come with these items fitted as standard but if not then they are essential purchases before using you unit for the first time.
Of course even with the greatest precautions accidents can still happen, which is why it’s important you take out adequate static caravan insurance cover to protect you should the worst happen.