Be a safe and happy camper this summer

Outdoor enthusiasts camping and bushwalking over the summer break are being urged to enjoy the great outdoors safely.


Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is highlighting a number of steps people can take to avoid their date with Mother Nature turning sour.


Rural Fire Service Queensland (RFSQ) Manager Bushfire Safety Peta Miller-Rose said while enjoying getting back to nature, the most important thing was to get back safely.


“Make sure your camping trip doesn’t become a nightmare. When lighting and extinguishing campfires, it’s vital to take precautions,” Ms Miller-Rose said.


“Know the rules around lighting fires in the area you’re holidaying in. Campfires should be lit only in cleared areas where there are no overhanging branches, and minimal grass and scrub.


“Make sure the campfire is a safe distance from tents. The campfire should be contained in a fire pit and never left unattended.”


Ms Miller-Rose said people should always extinguish campfires with water, never with sand or dirt.


“Fires covered with dirt or sand may look like they’re out, but they can radiate heat of around 100 degrees eight hours later. This is hot enough to cause a serious burn,” she said.


“In contrast, a fire that is put out with water cools to less than 50 degrees after 10 minutes, and to around 10 degrees after eight hours. These are safe temperatures unlikely to cause burns.”


You should also be well-prepared before bushwalking, regardless of whether they are planning a short walk or a longer hike.

State Emergency Service (SES) Assistant Commissioner Peter Jeffrey said even experienced bushwalkers could become lost or injured.


“It is essential to pack the right equipment, including a first aid kit, thermal blanket, food and water, appropriate sleeping equipment and navigational devices,” he said.


“Let someone know where you plan to go and when you expect to return.


“Before setting off, check the forecast and if the conditions aren’t good, reschedule your hike.”


Mr Jeffrey said it was an important consideration for bushwalkers to have a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) so that they could be located during an emergency.


PBLs and EPIRBs are available for hire across Australia at reasonable prices – just google "EPIRB hire" to locate a supplier.


“Every year SES volunteers are called on to assist with searches for people missing outdoors,” he said.


“If you are lost and in need of help, you can activate the beacon to notify the search and rescue coordination centre in Canberra, which will alert the appropriate authorities.


“Taking these precautions could save your life if you get into difficulty.”


4 January 2015.