An RV fire is a terrifying prospect, and if you’ve never experienced one, you probably don’t appreciate how quickly it can get out of control.
With more than 20,000 reported RV fires every year, it is probably the largest cause of RV damage in the United States. With the following safety checks, you can greatly reduce the risks of losing your vehicle or even worse, harm coming to your loved ones.
Fire safety checks
- Immediately clean up any fuel spills. Gasoline and propane can combust quickly and soon get out of control. While diesel, although less flammable, will evaporate more slowly and pose a risk for longer.
- Look to see if there are any dirty or oily cloths lying around. Try using paper towels instead, and get rid of them in the outside trash.
- Make sure all small batteries are kept secure in a plastic container so that they cannot roll or bounce around. Loose batteries that can move about can split or combine in a way that induces a fire.
- Ensure you have three working fire extinguishers in your RV (kitchen, bedroom, and on the outside in an unlocked compartment). Everybody traveling in your group must know how to operate them, and which one to use on any particular fire.
- Your stove will continue to emit propane even with the flame extinguished. To avoid the risk of an explosion, double check that it is turned off properly when you’re finished and never heat your RV with the stove.
Make sure everyone knows how to get emergency help, be it dialing 911 on the phone, or on a CB, VHF radio or ham radio.
Five of the best fire extinguisher brands
Fire extinguishers are of course an essential component of your RV’s equipment. But with so many brands out there, which are considered the best? The brands in the following list are considered to be the most reliable, and are presented in alphabetical order rather than in any order of superiority.
- Amerex — Beginning in 1971, Amerex Corporation has grown to become the world’s largest and most innovative manufacturer of hand portable and wheeled extinguishers for commercial and industrial applications, its website explains. www.amerex-fire.com
- Badger — Located in Charlottesville, Va., Badger offers a comprehensive range of industrial fire extinguishers, dry chemical fire suppression systems and Range Guard, the nation’s first commercial kitchen wet chemical fire suppression system. www.badgerfire.com
- First Alert — A First Alert fire extinguisher can be your first line of defense in case of a fire in your home, boat, car or business. With proper care, caution and preparation, many accidents can be prevented. www.firstalert.com
- Kidde — As the world’s largest manufacturer of fire safety products, Kidde’s mission is to provide solutions that protect people and property from the effects of fire and its related hazards. For more than 90 years industry leaders, the military, airlines and firefighters have relied on Kidde to deliver superior fire detection and suppression. www.kidde.com
- Shield — Quality and value are the key to Shield’s disposable Auto & Marine fire extinguishers. Manufactured from the highest quality components, Shield consistently provides reliable solutions for your fire protection needs. www.shieldprotects.com
Another easy-to-use firefighting tool is a fire blanket. These are made from a sheet of fire retardant material like Kevlar or fiberglass, which is used to extinguish small fires by smothering them. A fire blanket may be preferable for a person who is inexperienced with fire extinguishers.
Mac the Fire Guy
Mac McCoy is probably the foremost expert on RV fires and he conducts dozens of seminars each year at RV rallies and other events. He highly recommends foam RV fire extinguishers because they are easy enough to operate that a child can do it.
Plus, the chemicals contained in them are safe enough to spray onto kids, if they have to flee a burning RV.
To learn more about RV fire safety, look for upcoming classes in your area, watch videos about escaping from an RV and order his recommended Fire Fight brand of foam extinguishers, visit www.macthefireguy.com.