Gas and Electricity Safety in Static Caravans
Static Caravan Safety – Gas, Electricity & Fires
The provision of lighting, heat and power at your static caravan are all essential elements for comfort. Most caravans nowadays use both gas and electric so it’s important to acknowledge that proper maintenance and regular safety inspections are very important for you and your family’s safety. Most parks include safety checking within their licence agreements or park rules and it’s something that NACO is very adamant about.
Modern static caravans and leisure lodges are all built to high standards, and are often fitted with domestic gas appliances. All gas appliances must be installed in accordance with current gas safety requirements and the appliance manufacturer’s instructions. This is to comply with the law and to ensure minimal risk to you and your family.
Important risks to consider are carbon monoxide poisoning and fire. Whilst static caravan fires are uncommon, they quickly take hold and devastate the unit.
Static Caravan Safety – Gas
Annual gas safety checks are not mandatory in the UK, however they are increasingly becoming a requirement of many park operators. Most parks now require that privately owned static caravans have an annual gas safety check. Typically a gas check will cost no more than £100and a check certificate will be issued providing the gas pipework and appliances are considered to be in safe working order.
In addition it is always important to ensure gas equipment and appliances are regularly serviced for peace of mind. NACO recommends that you have your gas appliances serviced annually.
If you are a landlord and letting a caravan equipped with gas appliances you need to understand and comply with the law relating to gas safety. This law states that if you let a property, you must make sure all gas appliances you provide are properly maintained and a gas safety check is carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You must give your tenants a copy of the gas safety certificate within 28 days of it being carried out or before they move in.
Our number one enquiry on this topic regards park operators insisting that a gas safety check is undertaken annually. Even if your contract doesn’t mention the requirement we advise that you arrange for a check to be completed by a competent person. If your park operator is only allowing the work to be undertaken by their preferred engineer, give us a call as we consider this to be unfair, restrictive practice.
Static Caravan Safety - Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas. You can't see it, taste it or smell it, but it can kill quickly with no warning. Accidents which have occurred as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning or asphyxiation are caused by a combination of circumstances, usually involving two or more of the following factors:
- Inadequate ventilation (permanent air inlets)
- Unsatisfactory flueing
- Poor appliance performance
- User interference
- Lack of servicing and routine maintenance
- Incorrect use and failure to follow user instructions
Static Caravan Safety – Electric
Who should carry out electrical work in my caravan?
Although many incidents are caused by faulty appliances rather than the electrical installation itself, a well maintained installation could significantly reduce the possibility of accident or injury.
So, it is important that any electrical installation work is carried out only by people who are competent. This means people who have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to avoid dangers to themselves and others that electricity can create. Speak to your park owner who should be able to recommend some reputable local trades people. Get to know your electrics by identifying where the consumer unit (fuse box) is.
Unless you sub-let your caravan you are not legally required to undertake electrical inspections, however we recommend having your electrics inspected once every three years. This will ensure both you and your family’s safety during your holidays.
If you sub-let your caravan, it is a legal requirement to have a yearly Portable Appliance Test (PAT) completed. It is sensible to ask the electrician to undertake an inspection of your electrics at the same time.
Static Caravan Safety – Electric: Obvious Dangers
Maintenance - always unplug an appliance before you attempt any maintenance. You risk injury from electric shock, burns and mechanical movement if you tackle maintenance before appliances are unplugged and have cooled down.
Drying clothes – never dry clothes on an electric heater. Many electric heaters have ventilation slots to prevent overheating. If these slots are covered up, the appliance could overheat and catch fire or if water drips in there is the risk of electric shock.
Downlighters – for your safety you should check downlighters and their surroundings for signs of overheating such as discolouration and scorching. You should always ensure that there is adequate ventilation space below and around downlighters and that the correct bulbs are used.
Combustible materials – never store combustible materials close to your electricity meter or consumer unit.
Adapters & Extension leads – don’t overload adaptors or use adaptors plugged into adaptors. Never buy cheap, sub-standard adaptors.
RCDs – when using electrical equipment outdoors ensure that you use a Residual Current Device (RCD). An RCD provides a level of protection against electric shock that normal fuses and circuit breakers don’t.
Fixing electrical failures and faults should never be attempted yourself. Should your electrics fail when you arrive at your static caravan after a break away, it is a good idea to contact your holiday park’s maintenance team.
Checking your appliances periodically for wear and tear can be a good way of helping to ensure safety. This can include:
- Checking the cable covering for cuts and abrasions
- Checking that the cable covering is gripped into the plug top, so that no coloured cable cores are visible
- Checking that the plug casing is not cracked and that the pins are not bent
- Checking for signs of burning or overheating, especially the plug and socket
- Checking that there are no loose, damaged or missing parts
Static Caravan Safety – Fires
While prevention is much better than cure, should a small fire take hold in your static caravan, having safety devices close to hand can help to keep the worst at bay.
Fire extinguishers – it is recommended that at least one fire extinguisher should be located within your static caravan at a point of easy access.
Fire blankets – when resulting from fats and cooking oils, minor fires should be covered and extinguished with a fire blanket.
Smoke alarms – often the first alert for fires happening at night, smoke alarms are a must. These should be tested regularly and at least every time you arrive at your static caravan home.
In the event of an accident, while it can’t protect your assets from the fire itself, your static caravan insurance can protect you against its financial implications, allowing you to get back on your feet as soon as possible.