STAYING SAFE WITH ELECTRICS AT A CARAVAN AND CAMPING SITE
If you’re heading out of the city this summer to spend the vacation in one of Australia’s many campsites, chances are you will want to bring some of the creature comforts from home, which means you are going to need electricity.
While your property has measures to protect you from electric shocks, if you are hooking up to the mains from a campsite, they may not necessarily offer the same protection. Most campers are not electrical engineers, so before you leave on your trip there are some things to bear in mind when hooking up at a camp site.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Inspect all your electronics and electrical devices to make sure they are in good working order. This needs to be done before you connect it to the campsite electricity, a faulty appliance in your house will trip the circuit, in a campsite, it could give you an electric shock or maybe cause something worse.
Always pack a fire extinguisher specifically for electrical fires, make sure everyone is aware of how to use it and keep it somewhere accessible. Never use water on an electrical fire.
If you are in a tent and using a heater or a lamp, ensure they are specifically designed for tents. They need fairly large amounts of space so I would only recommend using a tent heater in six-person tents or larger. They should be set on a hard surface with nothing restricting the airflow within six inches on the heater to reduce the risk of a fire.
If you are using heaters, it is worth purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm, especially if you are in a small space with limited ventilation like a tent.
THE CAMPGROUND HOOK-UP
Check that the amperage available exceeds the amperage you are drawing. If you attempt to use more than is available you could blow the electrics in your tent or motorhome or even cause a fire.
Give the hook-up a visual once over. If the hook-up looks damaged or in bad condition, don’t hesitate to ask for a change of location. Faulty connectors can be incredibly dangerous and it’s important to make the campsite aware to prevent any future accidents occurring. The campsite is legally responsible for the on-site socket outlet and has a responsibility for the safety of campers on their site.
Make sure you use the correct cable. They are usually orange for improved visibility and are reinforced to prevent tears and cuts from the increased exposure to the elements. They should be four-wire chords with a grounding wire. Don’t use an extension cord, they don’t have grounding wires or weatherproof plugs and are not safe for outdoor conditions.
If you are camping in a motorhome or caravan don’t attempt to run two off the same outlet.
Make sure your RCD switch on your unit is in the off position before connecting. Then connect the lead to your unit, and finally to the hook-up outlet. This way there is no chance of you carrying a live lead to your unit. Most RCD units have a test button. Carry out this test before switching it on, if it doesn’t work in the test mode, it isn’t safe to use and it needs to be checked out by a professional.
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