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Firefighters and local councils send caravan safety message

Published: 22nd March 2010

The NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) has partnered with the NSW Rural Fire Service and local councils ahead of the Easter holidays to remind caravan owners to install smoke alarms following a fatal fire at Kanwal on the Central Coast at the end of last year.

Wyong Shire Council's Senior Environmental Health Officer Stephen Berry said that Gosford City Council and Wyong Shire Council had joined NSWFB in an ongoing campaign to give caravan owners and holiday-makers fire safety advice after a woman lost her life in a fierce caravan fire on 27 November.

"One tragic loss of life is one too many so we are raising awareness about the importance of having working smoke alarms in caravans by providing fire safety information to caravan park managers and caravan owners.
 
"Many holiday-makers will be taking advantage of the long weekend this April and some will be staying in caravans - we want them to be safe and have a great time whilst on the Central Coast." 

NSWFB Acting Superintendent Brett Davies said preparation was the key to avoiding a fire tragedy and recommended caravan owners install photoelectric smoke alarms in their vans.

"For the cost of a few dollars, smoke alarms can save lives.  It's really important that smoke alarms are installed close to the sleeping areas in caravans so that in the event of a fire people get an early alert and can make a safe evacuation.   

"If anyone needs advice about installing and maintaining smoke alarms, in caravans or other properties, they should contact their local fire station where firefighters will be happy to help."

NSW Rural Fire Service Community Safety Officer Shane Geerin said that it is crucial to check smoke alarms to make sure they are in working order.

"It's important to maintain smoke alarms; test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year or according to the manufacturer's recommendation."

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