Keep safe in your caravan this summer

There are more than 330,000# caravans and recreational vehicles (RVs) registered in Australia, with up to 80,000# being used by holidaymakers and travellers on any given day.

Over the past 10 years, Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters have attended nearly 1,000 incidents in caravans, campervans and mobile homes, with more than 60 injuries and eight fatalities reported in this time*.

This figure is most likely well below the actual number of incidents with many people not reporting minor fires or being unable to report them because of their location at the time of the incident.

Working smoke alarms have been mandatory in all new and existing moveable dwellings where people sleep (regardless of whether they are registered for road use or not) since last year. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation specifies that this obligation applies to caravans, campervans, holiday vans, park van annexes and associated structures. Tents are not included. Non-compliance with these regulations can result in on the spot fines of $200, with a maximum penalty of $550 if the matter goes to court.

Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins encourages caravan and camping enthusiasts to ensure they have a working smoke alarm installed.

"They're cheap and easy to install, so there’s no excuse to not have a working smoke alarm in your RV, motorhome, campervan, caravan or mobile home," Commissioner Mullins said.

"You must install a smoke alarm fitted with a hush button that meets the Australian Standard (AS3786). FRNSW recommends that the smoke alarm is a photoelectric type alarm."

Further fire safety suggestions include:

  • Plan your escape if a fire were to occur. Remember that the majority of fires start in the kitchen. Have you thought about where the exits are in your caravan or mobile home?
  • Do you have a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket? More importantly, do you know how to use them?
  • Do you know where the nearest phone is and would you have mobile phone reception to call Triple Zero (000) if there was a fire?
  • Would you be able to tell the operator the name of the park or the street name or location of your RV?
  • Do you know where the nearest hose reel or evacuation point is in the park you are staying in?

These are all questions that FRNSW would like you to consider.

If you need advice or any further information you should contact your nearest FRNSW station or visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au.

Sourced from *Fire & Rescue NSW Incident Report data

# Caravan and Camping Industry Association

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