Electrical safety in caravans and tents

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“Roughing it” no longer has to be part of caravanning and camping. Toasters, microwave ovens, freezers, television sets and other electrical appliances can be taken on holidays to make them much more enjoyable.

But beware! Electricity needs to be treated with extra caution in caravans and tents.

For caravans

Connecting to electricity supply

  • Power is available to caravan and camper vans at sites by connecting a supply extension lead from a socket outlet at an on-site connection facility to an inlet fixed plug fitted on the van.
  • The supply extension lead must be one continuous length and be rated at 15 amperes. The lead should not exceed 10 metres in length.
  • The lead should also be secured to the tie bar at the site connection facility. Ensure the lead does not cross vehicle tracks or block access ways.
  • Worn or damaged leads should be replaced.
  • Always fully uncoil leads before using them.
  • Only one lead shall be connected to each socket outlet at the on-site connection facility.
  • There must be a separate lead for each inlet socket on the van.
  • Double adaptors must not be used to connect supply leads into the on-site connection facility.

Is your caravan safe?

  • Caravan wiring must comply with Australian New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 3001. 
  • When connecting to the caravan park site facility, check that the socket outlet has a Residual Current Device (RCD).
  • The Regulations require caravans to have a RCD installed. One is required as a minimum but more than one may be needed. A licensed electrical contractor will install the correct number and rating of RCDs to ensure your caravan complies with the Regulations

For tents

Connecting to electricity supply

  • Supply extension leads need to meet the same requirements as for caravans.
  • If the on-site connection point does not have safety switch protection for the outlets, it is recommended that a portable socket outlet fitted with a RCD be used to supply the tents.
  • Electricity supply must not be obtained from another tent having a different occupier or situated on another site.

Connecting electrical equipment in a tent

  • If there is more than one appliance to be connected in the tent, use an approved portable powerboard. Place the powerboard on a rigid support in a dry and protected position.
  • If possible, switch the power off at night or when electricity is not being used.

Is your electrical equipment safe to connect?

There are additional hazards for campers in tents. The combined factors of electricity and damp areas (such as grass, rain or canvas) are potentially fatal.

  • Ensure that electrical appliances are of an approved type and are sufficiently robust for conditions that may be encountered while travelling and camping.
  • Light fittings should be of durable and weatherrated construction with protection against breakage.
  • Keep appliance leads and extension leads out of the way. Leads trailing around in a tent are dangerous, especially for children.

What should I do if I receive an electric shock?

Despite all the precautions we take, faults can occur in electrical wiring, appliances and equipment that cause electric shocks or damage to property. If you receive an electric shock or property is damaged (even if it is only minor) due to an electrical incident:

  • STOP using the appliance, or keep away from whatever gave you an electric shock; and
  • report the electric shock by telephoning your local network operator. You should also report the electric shock to Building and Energy on our 24-hour Freecall number 1800 678 198.

Regulations require all cases of electric shock and damage to property from electrical incidents be reported so that the cause of the shock/damage can be investigated and corrected. Minor shocks can lead to electrocution (death).

Electrical safety in caravans and tents

A guide to using electricity and electrical safety when caravanning or camping.

Using electricity safely in caravans and tents

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