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Safety and security

Wednesday, 09, Dec 2009 07:55

SAFETY

One of the easiest rules of thumb when it comes to caravan safety is to treat the trailer as a home. It is surprisingly easy to forget this when caravans are generally classified as vehicles. Yet this categorisation often means that basic safety measures are overlooked.

An interesting example is provided by Officer Bob Wahl of Essex Fire and Rescue who commented recently on caravan safety.

"People install smoke and CO detectors in their home but caravans are often overlooked. But a fire in a caravan can be just as devastating as a fire in your home."

"Caravans posses all the same dangers that are present in the home and need exactly the same safety measures in place. Effectively, they become people's temporary homes and need to be made as safe as possible."

With this in mind, Caravan Times has produced a handy guide to the basics of caravan safety to help you make sure your next holiday isn't your last.

The dangers of fire

Firstly, it's not always mentioned, but a smoke alarm should really be installed in every caravan. They offer vital early warning signs and give everyone inside every opportunity to get out safely. It might seem silly considering the relative size compared to a house. Yet the earlier a fire is detected, the safer a family will be.

All caravans should also be equipped with a fire extinguishers and a fire blanket. This is so that if there is a cooking fire it can be easily extinguished.

Finally, barbecues can always pose a danger and the general advice is to erect it away from the caravan, especially the gas cylinders. Another potential fire hazard to be aware of is the danger posed by grass fires. In the dry season, grass can become as dry as tinder and it only takes the smallest mistake to start a blaze.

Gas safety

It is recommended that all gas appliances in your caravan should be serviced annually. If you're renting out your caravan this is a legal requirement, but a properly maintained set of appliances always offers peace of mind.

They key thing to avoid is tampering with equipment that you are unfamiliar with. This can put you and those around you at some risk. So if in doubt the experts are the best option.

SECURITY

Every month at Caravan Times we hear stories about a caravan being stolen either from parks, or in some cases from the driveways of peoples homes. In one case a trailer was taken from a person's driveway as the couple were sleeping. While these stories are depressingly familiar they can also act as a spur to action for those who haven't yet thought about caravan security. Below we take you through some of the basics.

Wheel clamps

A caravan wheel clamp is simple to use and can be fitted in seconds without using the keys. They help deter the opportunist thief as they take time to remove and therefore increases the chances of them being caught.

Wheel clamps are often required as a minimum form of security by caravan insurance companies and should be used whenever the caravan is left unattended. It is worth checking whether your insurance company recommends any particular make of clamp, but if not, at least ensure the clamp is Sold Secure approved.

Hitch locks

Hitch locks are a great deterrent to the opportunist thief as they prevent caravans from being quickly coupled up and towed away. Some come with built in tamper alarms which sound upon an attempt to remove the device.

It may well be worth considering corner steady locks as well. These lock down the rear corner steadies of touring caravans - preventing the front of the unit from being raised. As a result of this anti-lift device, thieves cannot hitch the caravan to their towing vehicle.

Caravan alarms

In the same way that alarms are standard across the automotive industry, caravan alarms tend to reassure the owner as they have the same effect of startling thieves. Once again caravan insurers offer good discounts for those who have taken the time to have alarms fitted.

Security marking

Most caravans nowadays will come with a 17-digit VIN (vehicle identification number) that is stamped onto the chassis. Make sure your caravan has such a number and be sure to keep a copy somewhere safe as it may one day mean the difference between getting your caravan back and never seeing it again.

Additional precautions can be taken to safekeep your valuables and various caravan accessories. This can be done by simply using a UV marker to write your post code on them.

Caravan trackers

This really is the ultimate in caravan security. In a similar way to the tracking devices used in cars, although those used in motor vehicles are not suitable for caravans. There are now tracking devices on the market specifically designed for caravans with a leisure battery, which is good news for the tourer.

Although the initial expense can put you off, they are often very successful in helping forces recover a stolen caravan. And once again the insurance companies recognise your efforts, with up to 30% off in some cases.

Comments - What do you think?
  • "I found caravan time very good reading.I have only one question do you have any plans to put caravan times on sale as a weekly publicationif not why? "

    A.J.Potts (South Yorkshire) Posted: 19/10/2010 23:09:13

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