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02/04/12: Easter campers warned about fire risks

Campers in Cumbria are being warned of the dangers of lighting fires and pitching up too close to power lines during their Easter break.

Electricity North West, which manages the area’s electricity network, has teamed up with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service to produce a set of safety tips for those planning breaks in the great outdoors. Pitching tents under electrical power cables and using gas cylinders inside the tent for cooking are among the common risks taken by many campers.

Chief fire officer for Cumbria Fire Service, Dominic Harrison, said: “A tent can burn down in seconds and a fire in a caravan will spread very quickly so it’s important that anyone planning an outdoors break considers some basic fire safety tips.

“We tend to see more fire emergencies during the holiday periods as people are in a more relaxed frame of mind and are not always paying attention to the dangers around them.”

Electricity North West’s head of health, safety and environment, Vincent Cranny, said: “Building a fire is not the only hazard. Simple things like planning where to pitch the tent can be just as important as making sure any cooking equipment is kept at a distance.

“Overhead power cables can present a risk when carrying the metal poles used to put up a tent. Electricity can jump, so you don’t need to even make contact with the lines and it could be fatal. Campsite owners should be aware of any non-safe areas and should signpost them clearly.

"Our set of tips is designed to remind people to be vigilant and take care while in the outdoors so they can keep friends and family safe.”

Easter camping safety tips:

  1. Avoid pitching tents or parking cars within six metres of power lines. Remember they may be hidden by trees.
  2. Never attach or tie anything to overhead power lines, poles or electrical equipment. 
  3. If you’re flying a kite or model aircraft, make sure you don’t go too close to overhead lines. 
  4. If you’re fishing then look up! Be careful when you cast that your rod or line doesn’t get too close to power lines.
  5. Carry long objects parallel with the ground, rather than upright to make sure they don’t get too close to overhead lines. 
  6. Make sure you know what the fire safety arrangements are on the camp site and where the nearest telephone is (especially if you don’t have a mobile or there is poor signal at the site). 
  7. Torches are much safer than oil-burning appliances, like lanterns, or candles for use in or near a tent. 
  8. Don’t smoke inside a tent. 
  9. Place your cooking area well away from the tent and clear of items that catch fire easily. 

If you spot a hazard or incident close to a power line, report it to Electricity North West on the 24 hour emergency number 0800 195 4141.

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