Camping and Outdoor Fire Safety
The month of April brings with it the official start of spring and with warmer weather, Albertans are eager to enjoy the outdoors. At this time of the year, the Office of the Fire Commissioner is reminding Albertans of the importance of fire safety when camping and heading outdoors. Here are some important tips to keep your camping and outdoor adventures fire safe:
- Before starting a campfire, check to see if your community has a fire ban in place at albertafirebans.ca.
- Check for fire bans and restrictions within provincial parks at Alberta Parks.
- Always practice campfire safely.
- If required, get a permit. Always follow the rules, as outlined in your permit.
- Respect fire bans.
- Closely supervise all outdoor fires. Make sure the fire fully extinguished and out, before leaving.
- Supervise children around any fire outdoors, including campfires, fire pits, chimneys, and outdoor fireplaces.
- Permitted recreational fires such as campfires need to be at least 25 feet (8 meters) away from anything that can burn.
- Before starting a campfire, have a bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby to extinguish the fire.
- To put out a campfire...Soak it, stir it, soak it again.
- Know your location. In the event of an emergency. it's crucial to know where you're camping or where your RV is located, so emergency responders can find you.
- Confirm if 911 service available in your camping area. If not, have local emergency numbers on hand for police, fire and ambulance.
- Most campgrounds are in more remote areas that may not provide cell phone coverage. Check you cell phone coverage.
Wildfire Prevention - Off-highway vehicles
Help prevent wildfires. Learn how you can keep off-highway vehicle hotspots free of debris. If you spot a wildfire, call 310-FIRE (3473).
RV Fire Safety
- Everyone in your family should know and practice your fire escape plan.
- Have at least two ways out - one in the front and one in the rear of the RV.
- Test all escape windows, hatches and doors to make sure they work properly. Keep escape routes clear of any obstructions.
- Get yourself and your family to safety before attempting to extinguish any fire. Don't fight a fire unless you call the fire department first.
- Never re-enter a burning RV to retrieve anything - GET OUT & STAY OUT!
- Test your RV alarms (smoke/carbon monoxide/propane) weekly, when your RV is in use.
- Install and maintain at least one smoke alarm in your RV near the sleeping area. Special 12v smoke alarms, designed specifically for RVs, are available from specialized retailers. Depending on the size of your RV and placement of sleeping areas, more than one smoke alarm may be required.
- Install and maintain at least one carbon monoxide alarm in your RV near the sleeping area. Special 12v carbon monoxide alarms, designed specifically for RVs, are available from specialized retailers. Be aware that residential style carbon monoxide alarms that plug directly into the electrical outlet require 110v power and would only work and sound an alarm when your RV is plugged into an electrical source at a campground, but would not function when you are on the road or operating off of your 12v battery supply. Consider that some low cost detectors cause false alarms, so be sure to obtain a quality unit. Do not select a detector just on its cost. It may not be adequate to do the job that is necessary when the time comes.
- Install a propane leak alarm at floor level, no more than 6 inches above the floor or lowest level to alert you in the event of a propane leak. Propane gas, like gasoline fumes, tends to pool in low-lying spots and even a small spark can ignite it. If you have a leak, immediately evacuate the area and shut off the propane at the tank, if it is safe to do so.
- Many new RVs have combined carbon monoxide and propane alarms installed.
- Ensure that all travellers in the RV know what the sound of each type of alarm indicates and what to do when they hear it.
Outdoor Safety for Kids
Hug-a-Tree and Survive in an AdventureSmart program that helps lost children survive in the woods. It teaches children in Grades K-5 how not to become lost in the woods, and what to do if they should become lost. There are four simple rules to remember from the Hug-a-Tree program:
- Tell and adult where you are going.
- If you are lost, "Hug-A-Tree" and stay put.
- Keep warm and dry.
- Help searchers find you by answering their calls.
While you're teaching your kids to enjoy the outdoors, be sure to give them the proper tools and knowledge to enjoy the outdoors safely.
The Office of the Fire Commissioner has developed an 11"x17" Camping and Outdoor Fire Safety poster for use by community groups and fire departments.
Please help the Office of the Fire Commissioner by sharing information about Camping and Outdoor Fire Safety on twitter (insert link) and other social media.