When you are on the road with your family in your RV, fire safety should always be a priority. Are you prepared in the event a fire breaks out? Have you taken adequate steps to prevent a fire from happening in the first place? Accidents happen all the time, but if you are not prepared and don't have the supplies necessary to safely deal with it, the outcome can be horrific. Fires can spread in an RV quickly due to the way they are made. Fires can stem from leaking fuel or gas, electrical shorts, or overheated wheel bearings. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your RV travels that may mean the difference between a good or bad outcome
are very important to have, and can be one of the most effective ways to put out a fire. It is best to have more than one in your RV, if you can manage it. Common places would include the kitchen area, as well as an outside storage compartment. Fire extinguishers do eventually become ineffective; they only last for so long before needing to be replaced. There are five different classes of fires, and not all fire extinguishers can be used for all types. Class A fires include wood, paper, cloth and other combustible materials. Class B is defined by flammable liquids or gases such as oil, grease, or alcohol. Class C includes electrical fires. The power needs to be shut off before dealing with an electrical fire. Class D is for combustible metals. Class K is for fire involving oils, greases, and fats from cooking food. Class A fires are best put out by air pressurized water fire extinguishers. Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are best for Class B & C fires, while dry chemical extinguishers can be used on Class A, B, or C, depending on the unit. As for Class K, baking soda can be used on small cooking grease fires. Check the fire extinguisher you have to make sure what types of fires it can be used for. RVUpgrades offers several different fire extinguishers from Logistics and BRK Electron. They are dry chemical fire extinguishers, mostly used on Class B and C fires, although the Logistics 440162K
can be used on class A, B, or C.
The best way to be prepared for a fire, whether at home or in your RV, is to have smoke detectors set up to alert you. Just like with fire extinguishers, you should have more than one. When installing smoke detectors in your RV, you should at least have one in the kitchen area, and one in the bedroom area. Make sure you use detectors designed for RV use, rather than ones made for household use. Carbon monoxide & LP gas detectors are another great first response alarm to have. Just like at home, smoke or gas detector batteries need to be changed regularly, about twice a year. The most common tip for remembering this is to change them when the clocks change. Also remember to remove the batteries for your detectors when the RV is in storage. Detectors in your RV should also be replaced after several years. The
smoke alarm can be mounted without wiring, and features an 85 decibel alarm. There are several LP gas and CO detectors
available, including a few dual purpose units that can detect both.
Of course, you'll also want to do everything you can to prevent an RV fire from happening in the first place. Make sure you check the LP gas system regularly, including the tanks & connections, for any signs of damage or leaks. Your gas fridge also does not necessarily need to be running while you are driving. Your fridge can keep food cool for several hours without being on, provided that the fridge is unopened. Electrical wiring and connections should be checked to make sure they are still in good condition. Be aware of the demand on your outlets. There should not be too many items plugged into a single outlet. While
may not immediately spring to mind when thinking about RV fire prevention, it can help prevent electrical fires caused by a power surge. Never leave appliances such as ovens or stoves running while unattended. Also make sure nothing flammable comes in contact with the flame of a gas appliance. You should also have an escape plan, so you are prepared if a fire does break out. Make sure you have more than one evacuation route, in case one is blocked. It's also a good idea to practice these escape routes. When arriving at your destination, make note of your location, especially in relation to the closest fire station. Also keep in mind that when parking your RV, the undercarriage should not be in contact with anything, such as tall grass and foliage. A little common sense, awareness of your surroundings, and a few preventative measures can go a long way toward keeping your family safe and avoiding disaster.
By Julie T
Fire Safety for You & Your RV