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Camping Electrical Safety

  • Posted: 06.25.2018
 Camping electrical safety
Photo: Fotolia

If you are camping this summer, chances are good that you’ll be using electricity at your campsite. While your home, most likely, has safeguards such as GFCIs to help protect you from shocks, outdoor outlets may or may not be as safe. And if you carry a generator along on your outdoor adventures, there are other safety considerations.

Before you leave on your trip, plan to gather the necessary supplies to help you stay safe.

Follow these tips:

  • Pack a fire extinguisher rated for electrical fires.
  • Inspect all electronics to make sure they are in good working order.
  • If you’ll be plugging in an RV at the camp spot, use a heavy duty, four-wire cord with a grounding wire, not an extension cord.
  • Your RV should have permanently installed carbon-monoxide and fire detectors, and you should check them regularly.
  • Whether you are powering your RV with a generator, or with a campground hook-up, you need to know the amperage your RV draws, and the amperage available. If you try to draw more amperage than is available, you can cause serious damage to the electrical source and your RV and may even start a fire.
  • Know where your electrical panel and major switches are in case you do have a problem.

In addition, If you use a generator:

  • Know the rules of the campground. Some do not allow generators and some allow them only during certain hours.
  • Be aware of where generator exhaust will blow, so you are not causing carbon monoxide problems for your family or for others in the campground.
  • Turn your generator on and have it running before you turn appliances on.
  • Always leave a roof vent open when you are operating a generator.
  • Never sleep with the generator on.

And, if you use a campground hook-up:

  • Give the hook-up a visual inspection before plugging in. Does it appear to be in good condition? If a campground hook-up appears to be damaged, put safety first and request another spot. Making the campground aware of the damage will also help future campers at that site.
  • Bring the proper cord.
  • Never plug more than one RV into a single hook-up.
  • As with a generator, plug your RV in before turning appliances on.

Finally, if you are tent-camping and using electricity:

  • Do not use wet electronics.
  • If you are using a tent heater, take special precautions to prevent fires. Use only designated tent heaters, not lamps or stoves. Only use tent heaters in tents designed for six or more people. Set the heater on a hard surface and allow it at least six inches space in all directions. Circulation is important to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, so keep the tent door at least partially open.