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 flames
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.