Safe Camping and Caravaning

Before you know the kiwi mass exodus to the beach or country side will begin.  Perhaps you’re going to be getting away from it all on your holiday and live in a tent or a caravan and fire up the barbecue.  Of course, for others there are the joys of staying at their favourite holiday park – complete with all the traditional fun of this classic kiwi getaway.

However, before you are caught up in the inevitable end of your rush, it is a good time to take steps to make sure that you are ready to get through your holiday safely.

The Ministry of consumer affiars’ energy Safety Service has some advice.  Several people have died in New Zealand because caravans were incorrectly hooked up to an electricity supply – make sure you’re hooked up correctly.

Remember the following safety tips:-

  • Electrical installations in caravans must be maintained in a safe condition.  Always have a current warrant of electrical fitness.  You can get one from a licensed electrical worker.
  • Only use approved cords, plugs and sockets to hook up your caravan.
  • If you’re hooking the caravan up to your house or garage, get a licensed electrical worker to install the right socket for the supply lead.
  • Always switch off the supply box before plugging in your caravan and check you’ve disconnected before driving off.
  • When connecting to caravan socket outlet, you should also use an isolating transformer or a Residual Current Device (RCD) that will automatically disconnect the power in the event of a fault.
  • This will protect you from dangerous shocks.
  • If you want to run appliances in the caravan’s awning always use an RCD or isolating transformer.  If you are using an extension cord take care it is not damaged.

When using gas while camping or caravaning, remember these tips:-

  • Make sure that your appliances are in good working order before you leave home.
  • If you suspect there is a problem take it to an appropriate servicing agency;
  • Without proper ventilation stoves and lamps can give off poisonous carbon monoxide.
  • Portable gas appliances are designed to be used outdoors.  Never use them in confined spaces such as small tents.
  • Ventilation is also very important in caravans.
  • check that all vents are clear and open when operating gas appliances.  Portable gas heater should never be used in caravans.
  • Do not use your gas stove for heating.
  • Never leave gas appliances running when you are resting or asleep.
  • Keep your appliances in good condition and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions.

Source: Northern Courier Paper November 2009