20,000 RV Fires Occur Annually

Fire Safety is of importance to the conscientious RV owner. Unfortunately, fire is one of the leading causes of RV loss in the U.S. today. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that 20,000 RV fires occur annually. Don’t let yours be one of them!

RV fires can start when your RV is moving or when it is parked. The following tips can help you recognize the most common fire hazards.

Before you go:

  • Make a pre-trip checklist and inspect your RV every time you hit the road. My checklist is laminated and I keep it next to my drivers seat.
  • Most RV’s have only one Fire Extinguisher. I recommend you add a few and have one in the Kitchen, Bedroom(s), one in an unlocked compartment outside and one in the Tow Vehicle.
  • Test your smoke detector, or better yet, add it to the checklist!
  • All RV’s have two means of escape. Know how to operate the emergency Exit and insure all Travelers are aware as well. Make sure all travelers can open the front door, hatches, and emergency exits.
  • Ensure that your RV’s Carbon Monoxide and LP (Propane) Detectors are properly located and functioning.
  • Spontaneous combustion can occur in damp charcoal. Before you travel, buy fresh charcoal, keep it dry, and store it in a covered metal container.
  • Ensure that the power cord for connecting your RV to a campground’s electricity supply is in good condition and of suitable gauge wire to handle the electrical load. Replace damaged cords immediately.

RV Maintenance is important:

  • Have your RV’s brakes checked. A dragging brake can create enough friction to ignite a tire or brake fluid.
  • Leaking fluids in the engine compartment can ignite. During your pre-trip inspection, check all hoses for firmness, clamp tightness, and signs of leaking. Have repairs made before you travel.
  • Mechanical or electrical failures cause roughly three-quarters of the highway vehicle fires. Proper maintenance will help reduce your chances or having malfunctions on the road.

Safety while driving:

  • At each rest stop, give your tires at least an eyeball test. Better yet, use a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
  • Shut off the propane at the tank and turn off all propane-powered appliances while driving. If you have an accident or tire blowout while the propane is on, your injury and the damage to your vehicle can be significantly worse. (FYI – Most refrigerators will keep food cold or frozen for eight hours without running while you travel.)
  • Be cautious of where you pull over and park. A hot exhaust pipe or catalytic converter can easily ignite dry grass underneath your RV.

If there is a fire:

  • The first step is to get everybody out of the RV and safely away from the fire.
  • If it is a small fire and you can extinguish it without putting yourself in danger, put it out with a Fire Extinguisher.
  • If it is too big of a fire or coming from an unknown source, do not risk your safety…GET OUT!
  • Never re-enter a burning RV to retrieve anything–GET OUT & STAY OUT!
  • Get help. ALL adults and older children should know how to dial 911. Remember that cell service may be limited where you are, so make a plan ahead of time.
  • It’s crucial to know your exact location so firefighters can find you.

Remember, safety is no accident. Happy Camping!

Adapted from Article: National Park Service

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