Happy New Year to everyone and hopefully some top caravan and camping trips planned for 2015.
But are you prepared for an emergency?
Unfortunately the start of the new year hasn’t been that happy for some people with horrible fires in South Australia and Victoria.
Our thoughts are with everyone that has been affected by these fires and of-course the men and women that risk their own lives as they fight fires.
This disaster has made me think about caravan and camping set-ups and preparation or evacuation plan in an emergency.
Firstly and most importantly is personal safety, look after yourself, your family and people around you, other things are material and can be replaced.
Position in a caravan park or camping spot.
It’s required that caravan parks must have an evacuation plan and have displayed (usually in or near the ablution block) a map of the park with assembly points and instructions on emergency procedures. A camping spot is different but this doesn’t mean you can’t plan your own procedures … just in case.
One of the reasons you are asked to back into your site is that your draw bar faces the road and can easily be hooked up in an emergency. Maybe you should consider a similar position when camping, don’t block yourself and others in.
Fire Extinguishers and Blankets
We carry one fire extinguisher in our 4WD and another in our caravan, we also have fire blankets in each.
We rotate the extinguishers periodically to ensure that chemicals don’t clog.
Common sense and respect for the area is another factor, don’t leave bottles lying around (particularly in the sun), these can act as a magnifying glass and ignite vegetation or perhaps a paper wrapper left nearby.
As the heat rises, limbs fall, so don’t park under that big gum tree, particularly if storms or strong winds are forecast.
Yeah we all love a campfire, but there’s a few things to consider.
Position, make sure you are clear of any flammable vegetation such as long grass and spinifex.
Naturally don’t light anything close to tents or trailers.
Please check fire restrictions in the area, don’t light anything on a dry, windy day and definitely not on a total fire ban day.
Never use any form of fuel on or near a fire, even when you are trying to get it started.
Never leave cooking unattended.
Radio / Communication
Have a battery operated radio available so that you can listen for updates on fire or flooding emergencies.
Don’t drain your vehicles battery by leaving the radio on all the time.
UHF Channels 5 AND 35 have been legislated as emergency channels so don’t use them for any other use.
Be conscious of local fauna, it’s hot so some of these critters might like to take refuge or seek water and food from your camping area. Oh, probably good to check your first aid skills and kit before you take off.
Sometimes generators may be prohibited, both for environmental (birds roosting) or safety reasons (fire bans), so check for signage or any local restrictions.
If you have to smoke, watch where you butt out.
Be aware that in some states/national parks, smoking is prohibited.
Take plenty of water and extra food with you.
During summer, temperatures in outback Australia can reach over 40°C so consider travel dates.
Wear a hat, shirt, sunnies and at least 30+ sunscreen.
Let friends or family know your travel plans and when you expect to return.
Get your vehicle serviced regularly, particularly before you travel to remote areas.
Check the condition of spare tyres, tools and make sure you have plenty of fuel.
If you don’t have a satellite phone, consider hiring one or purchase an epirb.
In an emergency stay with your vehicle or very close, find some shade and keep hydrated.
Stay safe everyone and please be prepared!
Check and have handy the emergency contacts in your state and area.
This a link for Alert SA