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Camping Fire Safety

Camping and caravanning safety

Have a safe holiday

    • Put your tent or caravan at least 6 metres away from others and well away from parked vehicles.
    • Make sure you read the fire safety arrangements at the campsite.
    • Check to see if you have a phone signal and find out where the nearest phone is.

Cooking around a tent or caravan

    • Place your stove or BBQ well away from your tent as they easily catch fire.
    • Don't use BBQs or stoves inside your tent or caravan - this includes the awning or entrance. The carbon monoxide they produce can kill, and the heat they produce will set the tent on fire.
    • When cooking near a caravan, place the stove or BBQ well away, and ensure it is on a safe surface. Be careful of using disposable BBQs on decking as this can set the decking on fire.
    • Always have a bucket of water nearby when cooking.

Staying in a tent

A fire can destroy a tent in 60 seconds. Even fire retardant tents burn quickly.

Stay safe when camping by making sure you:

    • Have an escape plan - know how to cut your way out of your tent if there is a fire.
    • Don't smoke inside your tent.
    • Don't use candles in or near your tent; torches are safer.
    • Be careful of chargers – don’t leave anything charging on a sleeping bag or soft, flammable surface.

Read more about how to have a safe BBQ

Staying in a caravan

• Fit a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector. Optical smoke alarms are usually the best type. Regularly test the smoke alarm in your caravan.
• Don't leave cooking unattended
• Turn off all appliances before you go to bed.
• Never dry clothes over the hob.
• Keep tidy - remove any litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
• Make sure the caravan is well ventilated to avoid a build-up of poisonous gases; never block air vents.
• Keep a fire extinguisher by the entrance to your caravan, but read the instructions before using it.

Read more about fire safety in caravans and mobile homes.

What to do if there is a fire

  • Keep calm and get everyone out and away as quickly as you can.
  • Call 999 and ask for the fire service.
  • Give the exact location; give a map reference if possible or give a landmark such as a pub or a farm. You can use the What3Words app too.

The dangers of carbon monoxide (CO)

• BBQs give off poisonous carbon monoxide for hours after they are finished cooking. You should never use a portable or disposable BBQ inside your tent, vehicle or awning.
• You should never use a BBQ to heat up a space. They are for cooking, not heating.
• You should not cook inside your tent or awning.To work safely, BBQs need more ventilation than your tent or awning can provide and there's also the risk of fire.
• Modern tents have an integral structure with built-in groundsheets. This means that carbon monoxide gas can rise to fatal levels in a matter of minutes if you use a BBQ inside.
• Don't rely on a carbon monoxide detector to keep you safe in a tent or awning. They are useful at home, in a caravan or in a motorhome, but they are not designed for the conditions found in a tent or awning.

Please read our carbon monoxide advice.

Using gas cylinders

• Keep flammable liquids, such as petrol and gas cylinders, outside and away from children.
• Service and maintain all gas appliances to ensure they are working efficiently and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
• Only change gas cylinders when they are completely empty. Store them away from caravans and vehicles.
• Only change cylinders in the open air.
• Make sure the gas pipe connection is secure. If you suspect a leak, turn off the main cylinder valve.

You can download our camping and caravanning leaflet (PDF)

All our safety information can be made available in other languages.  Please contact 0800 050 2999 to request a copy.

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