top of page

Click on image for full view and caption

Fire safety: Caravans and sleep-outs

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Caravans and sleep-outs are great fun, but they also carry a much greater risk of fire than a traditional home.

These tips will help keep you safe:

  • Every caravan should be fitted with a long-life photoelectric smoke alarm.

  • Never leave children alone in your caravan. Keep matches and lighters out of their reach.

  • Have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket near the exit and make sure you know how to use it.

  • Always ensure there is adequate ventilation.

Lighting and heating

  • Use proper lighting units or torches. Don’t use candles as they may start a fire.

  • Used fixed heaters only. Make sure furniture and fittings are at least 1 meter from any heaters. Oil column heaters or fan heaters with a cut off switch are the safest.

Appliances and gas cylinders

  • Check electrical appliances for frayed cords and other damage. Caravans should also have a current Electrical Warrant of Fitness.

  • Caravans and sleep-outs often use gas cylinders to fuel cooking. Make sure you read our tips on using gas cylinders safely to reduce your risk of fire [ see p24 for BBQ tips Ed].

  • Always ensure there is adequate ventilation when using a gas cylinder in or near a caravans or sleep-out.

Smoke alarms

Because caravans and sleepouts usually only have one door and few window openings, it’s especially important to make sure you have working smoke alarms installed, and that you’re testing them regularly.

Caravans and sleep-outs are often small, so it might be necessary to install a smoke alarm near a cooking area. To avoid false alarms, use the silence feature to put the smoke alarm into a ‘hold’ status when you’re cooking.

Press the button before you start cooking to silence the alarm for a pre-set period of time, between 8 and 15 minutes depending on the brand.


© Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-ND)


More: Fire blankets

More: Lithium-ion battery safety

More: Do you need a permit for your BBQ? (Gas & charcoal)

, p


bottom of page