Tamworth fires spark serious safety message

Published: 21st January 2010

NSW Fire Brigades Commissioner Greg Mullins today urged holiday-makers to check their caravan and camping equipment, after a second mobile campervan was gutted by fire in Tamworth yesterday.

Commissioner Mullins said firefighters were visiting camping grounds in the Tamworth area this week giving fire safety advice to Country Music Festival visitors and other holiday-makers.

"On Wednesday evening, a leaking gas cylinder caused a campervan blaze when the generator was switched on.  Both occupants had a very lucky escape and were taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation and burns," Commissioner Mullins said.

"Two days earlier, a Sydney couple’s visit to Tamworth was ruined when their campervan was destroyed and their four-wheel-drive gutted by fire.  Firefighters believe the likely cause was a malfunctioning gas powered fridge."

Commissioner Mullins said preparation was the key to avoiding a fire tragedy this summer and recommended caravan owners should install photoelectric smoke alarms in their vans.

"For the cost of a few dollars, smoke alarms save lives.  It's really important that smoke alarms are installed close to the sleeping areas in caravans.   

"You should test your electrical and gas equipment, including barbeques and stoves, to make sure they are in good working order before you set off.

"Check whether your camping area or caravan park has mobile phone coverage so you can dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency or, if not, identify the fastest way to call for help," he said.

Key fire safety tips for holidaymakers include:
  • Familiarise yourself with evacuation routes and meeting points at caravan parks and camping grounds;
  • Install a photoelectric smoke alarm close to the sleeping area in a caravan and have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket near the exit; and
  • Ensure that all electrical and gas equipment, including barbeques and stoves, is tested and in good working order.

For further information on caravan and camping fire safety visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au and view our holiday camping and caravan fire safety factsheet.