The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has issued a number of safety tips to ensure public safety during the winter camping season.
The advisory, titled 'Pleasant season and safe desert trip', includes a number of dos and don'ts that people need to keep in mind in order to have a safe and enjoyable camping experience.
Noting that the desert is a favourite place of people in Qatar to visit during the winter, the advisory stresses the need for everyone to be duly prepared for such a trip well in advance.
Accordingly, the ministry has reminded the public of the guidelines to be followed in such situations, "for the sake of everyone's safety".
* Preventive measures
The MoI has advised campers to adhere to the Covid-19 preventive measures implemented in the State as per Decree Law No 17 of 1990 on infectious diseases, issued by the Council of Ministers in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
People should limit the number of passengers to a maximum of four in a vehicle, including the driver, except for members of the same family.
"Wear a face mask wherever it’s mandatory," the MoI continues, noting that people should have the green status on the Ehteraz app and maintain social distancing.
* Traffic safety during camping trip
1. Before and during the trip: "Ensure the safety of the vehicle prepared to drive to the campsite. Please be vigilant while driving, especially in abnormal weather conditions (fog, rain and wind)," the MoI states.
People should also adhere to safe driving rules, the advisory says. They should follow the specified speed (limit), keep sufficient and safe distance between two vehicles, fasten the seat belt and beware of wrong overtaking.
For the safety of their vehicle, people should avoid driving in waterlogged areas and also should not use the brakes suddenly.
2. Quad bikes: When riding quad bikes, people have been urged to pay attention to the importance of adhering to safety measures such as wearing a helmet, not riding over greenery and not allowing children to drive such bikes.
* Fire safety
1. Fire while cooking: Campers are advised to choose a proper place for the stove, which is away from the tent, generator and petroleum liquids, as well as from winds.
The fuel used for the generator should be placed in a safe and remote location.
2. Smoking: "Avoid smoking or using any heat source while checking the generator fuel, or when filling, to avoid fuel ignition," the MoI says.
3. Electricity and heaters: Some people set up a fire for heating or lighting purposes inside the tent. This may cause fire-related incidents if people do not exercise due caution, including suffocation as a result of burning, the advisory explains. "In addition to this, avoid putting heaters in a place close to clothes or keeping the stove on fire at bedtime inside the tent."
The lamp used for illuminating the tent should be kept away from clothes used in the tent. "Please be keen to fix it in a safe place," the MoI points out, asking people to make sure to buy good-quality heaters.
"Place the heater close to the nearest socket that is adequate for the current of the said heater. Do not connect it to a single socket using an extension cable or power strips with another heater or any other device," it adds.
People should be extra cautious when using a gas heater as it is "more dangerous". This is "because any defect in it or in its wires and fittings may result in congestion due to inhalation of leaking gas or carbon monoxide that emanates from the combustion process".
Campers should also be cautious as operating a heater using bad electrical connections or loading it beyond its capacity will cause fires.
"Do not place the heater in corridors, near flammable materials or within the easy reach of children. Likewise, don’t leave it working when you go to sleep so that it doesn't become a cause of fire," the MoI adds.
* Tips for the safety of children
The advisory stresses the importance of reminding children not to play away from the camping site and educating them to always keep the camping area neat and clean.
"Guide them to suitable playing areas that are far from roads and streets and also from excavations and wells," the MoI says. "Don’t leave children alone and unattended, inside or outside the tent. Keep the first-aid box for emergency situations."