Check your recreational vehicle before leaving this long weekend.

If you're taking the RV or caravan out this long weekend, make sure it's safe to go. Photo: File.
If you're taking the RV or caravan out this long weekend, make sure it's safe to go. Photo: File.

COVID has seen the rise in a caravan and recreational vehicle (RV) trend over the Murraylands.

South Australia's fire services are urging holidaymakers to get their RV fire safety in order before the long weekend.

Over the past three financial years, Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) and Country Fire Service (CFS) firefighters have battled 46 RV fires, with a collective damage bill of nearly $1million ($922k).

Sadly, three people have perished in RV fires in South Australia since 2015.

MFS Community Engagement Officer, Angelo Mastripolito said with some simple fire safety steps, RV owners can ensure a safe time away.

"It is vital that all users of caravans, camper trailers and motor homes treat their RVs like a second home, and one that still requires fire safety features," Mr Mastripolito said.

"The MFS recommends having a working smoke alarm in your caravan or RV, and, if the vehicle features cooking equipment or a kitchen, to have a dry chemical fire extinguisher and fire blanket handy.

"It's also critical to make sure everyone in the family knows how to quickly and safely exit your caravan or RV. Having an escape plan, smoke alarm, fire blanket and dry chemical fire extinguisher may prevent significant fire damage, injuries or a holiday tragedy."

In South Australia if an occupied RV is on-site for 60 days or longer, a hard-wired or 10-year, long life, non-removable, non-replaceable battery powered smoke alarm is required by law.

CFS acting Director for Preparedness, Joel Taggart said it's the perfect weekend for campfires, though people still need to be cautious on where and when they light them.

"Campfires are perfect if you are enjoying a long weekend, but make sure that yours is a small campfire and not a raging bonfire," Mr Taggart said.

"We've seen some really good winter rain across some parts of the state, however there are parts that are still quite dry and will burn easily.

"If everyone does the right thing, our volunteers will get to enjoy the long weekend too."

The fire services recommend the following for caravans and RVs:

  • Ensure any integrated gas or electrical systems are installed and maintained by a qualified tradesperson
  • Turn off the gas cylinder valve before travelling
  • Cook with care; never leave cooking unattended
  • Keep gas or electric heaters well clear of internal fittings, turn heaters off at the power point or gas cylinder before going to bed
  • Dispose of cigarettes carefully, use deep sturdy ashtrays and never smoke in bed
  • Switch off all electrical appliances at the power point and unplug when not in use
  • Test your smoke alarm regularly to ensure it is working correctly.

For more detailed caravan and RV fire safety information visit the MFS website.

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