Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Fire safety on the campsite


Years ago, I watched a demonstration of how fast a tent can burn. It was scary how quickly a cheery little shelter turned into a ball of fire so prevention is the key factor in fire safety. That demo left its mark and my nickname for years was Fireman Spam. Over 30 years ago in Spain, 210 people died in a fire at a campsite when a propane tanker exploded. The band Friendly Fires played at Glastonbury last year; sooner or later, I fear there’ll be a wicked fire at a festival campsite.

As well as being aware of fire safety in and around the tent, it makes sense to know where fire alarms and extinguishers are on site not only to take care of your own but also to act quickly if other campers have a problem; check where to find the nearest landline phone. Fire regulations should be read and, of course, followed. If you’re unclear about anything, ask at the site reception – they won’t be put out.

Fire Safety Tips

  • Don’t use naked flames, including candles, in or near your tent.
  • Apart from being an appalling thought, smoking in a tent is a crazy fire risk.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from the curious eyes and hands of children
  • Gas cylinders and flammable liquids (that includes spirits for drinking) should be kept outside the tent and away from children.
  • Keep a bucket of water and a fire blanket handy; an extinguisher is worth its weight in gold when you really need one.
  • Don’t use cooking appliances anywhere near the walls and roof or where they can be bumped into and knocked over.
  • Keep your cooking area clear of flammable material. Watching the result of knocking a bottle of cooking oil over a lit camping stove was frightening.
  • Make sure you know how to put out a clothing fire - ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ is essential; pass it on.

Stop, Drop, Roll

If your clothes catch fire:

STOP still – don’t run – and cover your face with your hands

DROP down to the ground

ROLL your body over and over to put out the flamesFire safety tips

BBQ safety tips

  • Check that your barbecue is in good working order; even the simplest ones.
  • Keep water handy in case of emergencies
  • Make sure your barbecue site is on level ground and not able to tip over.
  • Don’t overload your barbecue with lighting fluid, or charcoal.
  • Never spray lighting fuel on warm coals to ‘revive’ the barbecue.
  • Make sure children and pets stay away from the barbecue. I once saw a dog tethered to a barbecue leg – they were lucky a rabbit didn’t hop by.
  • Don’t leave barbecues unattended.

For more handy camping guides, click here.

Back to "Practical Advice" Category

04/01/2013 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

We reveal the alternative camping equipment that no one ever tells you to bring but will massively improve your tent life ...

How to dry your tent at home

Make sure your tent is completely dry before packing it away or it will get mouldy. Here's how to do it ...

Campsite cooking: Vegan chilli non carne

Sitting around the campfire with a spicy bowl of chilli is one of the best things about camping and you don't ...

Around The Campfire: Camping photo competition

Share your favourite camping pictures and you could win a great prize from Coleman! Here's June's winning ...

Other Articles

Off-grid camping is about getting away from the stresses of daily life for a few days and enjoying the tranquillity of the natural world. Here’s how ...

Campsite cooking: Lamb curry

You simply can’t go wrong with this foolproof recipe for a delicious, aromatic campsite curry ...

The best sleeping bags for camping

The quality of your sleeping bag can be the difference between a brilliant camping trip and a disaster of a ...

Campsite etiquette: the unwritten rules for camping beginners

Tent life should be simple and uncomplicated – and following basic campsite rules and advice helps make it ...