Keep the occupants of your caravan safe by performing this quick caravan safety systems check. The check takes about 3 minutes and should be performed annually or before you head off on your next big adventure.
- Test your caravan smoke alarm. Replace batteries or the smoke alarm if required. If you don’t already have a smoke alarm fitted, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services recommends installing a photoelectric type smoke alarm that is powered by a 10-year, non-removable, non-replaceable battery.
- Check your fire extinguisher has not expired and replace it if necessary. Ensure that the fire extinguisher is secure and stored in a handy place close to the door of the caravan.
- Check your gas bottles are not expired, and all connectors and hoses are in good condition. Gas bottles are date stamped when they are tested and expire 10 years after the last date stamp. Gas bottles should be securely stored outside the caravan or in a storage locker that is separate and sealed off from the inside of the caravan and vented only outside.
- Make sure your gas vents are clear. As the weather gets cooler it can be tempting to cover the fresh air vents in your caravan. There are usually two or more vents in a caravan- one up high for fresh air and one down low to ensure leaked gas can escape. Check that all vents are clean and unobstructed.
- Check your carbon monoxide (CO) and gas leak detectors have not expired. The sensor element in these degrades over time and requires replacing roughly every five years or as per the manufacturers instructions.
The biggest risks to life inside your caravan are fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and explosions from leaking LP gas. Most of us are educated on the importance of a smoke detector, but many people aren’t aware of the importance of a carbon monoxide (CO) detector and a gas leak detector.
A CO detector and gas leak detector are the two safety devices most caravans don’t have but are the safety devices that could save your life.
CO is an odourless, colourless gas and like LP gas, it can build up in an enclosed space like a caravan. When inhaled in significant quantities CO causes sudden illness, loss of consciousness and death. A person who is sleeping or intoxicated may not wake to experience any symptoms of CO poisoning before death. In a caravan, the likely sources of CO are from the combustion fumes of a gas stove and potentially from a faulty cooling unit in a gas refrigerator. For these reasons it is critical that:
- the gas stove is turned off after use and checked before bed;
- the gas stove is never used as a heater inside the caravan; and
- the gas refrigerator is serviced regularly.
Some smoke detectors are dual purpose and can detect carbon monoxide (CO) as well as smoke. It’s worth having a look at your caravan smoke detector to find out whether it also a CO detector. If you don’t already have a CO detector installed they can be positioned on the ceiling next to the smoke detector. Leaking LP gas can build up inside a caravan and while it is not as toxic as CO it is extremely flammable and explosive in high concentrations. As LP gas sinks to the lowest point, a gas detector should be positioned at a low point in the caravan. If you don’t already have both a CO and gas detector, they are a worthwhile investment for peace of mind.
Preventing emergencies is always more preferable to experiencing one.
Regular maintenance of your gas appliances and connections by qualified repairers is your first and most important step in preventing CO poisoning, gas leaks and fires. Most caravan safety systems are not expensive and are a simple DIY installation. At the RV Service Centre we stock a full range of caravan safety products in our showroom and our professional team are able to keep your caravan gas appliances serviced in top condition for your safety.