An RV fire can be pretty scary. If they catch on fire, they burn fast! You need to have a plan to get out. Before a fire starts, there are some RV fire prevention tactics you can employ!
Check your RV's tires and brakes regularly! A dragging brake can cause a tire to get very hot and possibly start on fire. With a towable RV, you probably won't notice until it’s too late! Not only can it start your RV on fire, but sparks left behind can cause wild fires in dry areas. Make sure your brakes are adjusted regularly and that your tire pressure is correct on every tire to help keep things in working order.
It may be tempting to leave the propane on while you travel to keep your fridge cool, but don't do it. If you are in an accident, or if there is a fire, the propane will add to the fire and possibly even cause an explosion. Make sure to shut the propane off when you travel. Your fridge should be ok for up to eight hours so your food will stay cold while you drive.
If you keep batteries in your RV, keep in mind that they can produce explosive gases. Ensure they are in a well-ventilated area, and keep all flames and sparks away from them. Smoking around batteries, even AAA batteries, can be very dangerous. Check them over regularly and if any seem to be swelling, get rid of them. You also want to get rid of any that have battery acid coming out of them or are corroded in any way.
If you are having any type of problems with your electrical system or want to have something added, ensure you have a professional electrician do it. Don’t use a power strip in an RV. Many fires in RVs are caused by a short in the electrical system.
Dealing With a Fire
Know how to open the door, and ensure everyone else does too! The door latches can vary from RV to RV, so the door may not open the way you’re used to. Have everyone practice opening the door until they can do it without a problem so there is no delay in getting out.
Plan a meeting spot for each campsite. Have everyone meet in the designated area so that you can ensure everyone is out and safe. Run drills to make sure everyone is comfortable and knows what to do. It may seem silly but it can save a life.
Part of this plan should also include making sure everyone knows how to dial 911, and that everyone knows where exactly you are! You never know who will need to make the call and they will need to be able to let the dispatcher know where to send the fire department.
Fire Extinguishers & Smoke Detectors
Ensure you have working fire extinguishers in your RV. Keep one in the kitchen, one in the bedroom, and if you have a bunkhouse, one in there as well. It’s also a good idea to have one in either an outside storage cabinet that is kept unlocked, or one in your tow vehicle. This way no matter where the fire starts you’ll be prepared to protect yourself. You also need to ensure that you have working smoke detectors in these area. Check the batteries often.
If you are ever faced with a fire in your RV, remember that things can be replaced, but people cannot. Don’t try to run in to grab things, just get everyone out safely! If the whole RV is on fire, do not try to put it out yourself! Call the fire department and stay away from it.