Filed under: Family Camping, Preparation & Readiness, Safety on the Road, Traveling Tips
Reduce the Risk of Fire in Your RV/Mobile Home
The BC Coroners Service and Office of the Fire Commissioner are urging owners of mobile homes and recreational vehicles and operators of mobile home and RV parks to take special care to prevent fires in the wake of a calamitous New Year’s weekend for fire deaths in British Columbia.
From December 29, 2011 to January 2, 2012, seven lost their lives in five separate fires. Three of those fires and five of the deaths occurred in mobile homes or travel trailers being used as living accommodation. The BC Coroners Service and the Office of the Fire Commissioner are continuing to investigate these fires.
Studies show that fires in mobile homes and recreational vehicles, especially older units, tend to be more devastating than those in other forms of residence.
Mobile home and RV fires claim the lives of 345 Americans each year and injure 765 more according to a fact sheet prepared by United States Fire Administration (USFA) in June 2006.
Heating and electrical system malfunctions are the leading causes of fire in mobile homes and RVs. Together, they account for one-third of the fires.
Tires and brakes are the culprit in almost 20 percent of RV fires. Some of the worst fires are those caused when one tire of a dual or tandem pair goes flat and then scuffs and ignites, long before the driver feels any change in handling.
At each rest stop, give your tires at least an eyeball check. Remember a pressure gauge reading on hot tires is NOT accurate. Tap duals with a club and listen for a difference in sound; you can often tell if a tire is going soft.
Reduce the risk of a fire in your RV/mobile home by following these fire safety guidelines:
- Install and maintain at least one smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm in your RV near the sleeping area
- Install and maintain a propane (LP gas) leak alarm at floor level in your RV, no more than six inches above the floor
- Test your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, and propane alarm once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year
- You should have three fire extinguishers for your coach—one in the galley, one in the bedroom, and one outside of the coach in an unlocked compartment or in your tow vehicle
- Make sure family members know how to use the extinguishers and understand which extinguishers are effective on various fires
- Ensure electrical wiring and appliances are in good working order
- Never run extension cords under rugs/carpets
- Have your fuel-burning appliances checked annually to ensure they are properly vented, free of any obstructions and dust, and are in good working condition
- The stove should NEVER be used to heat the interior of the RV
- Never leave cooking unattended
- When using the RV stove top or oven, turn on the exhaust fan and open a nearby window to allow fresh air in and carbon monoxide gases out
- Ensure that your 110 power cord for connecting your RV to the campground pedestal is in good condition and of suitable gauge wire to handle the electrical load placed upon it
- Driving with propane on can add to the danger if you are involved in an accident or have a fire; shut off the propane at the tank and turn off all propane-powered appliances while driving
- Confirm that the local emergency number for police, fire, and ambulance is 911 and is available in your current location
- Develop and practice an escape/evacuation plan
- Recognize that impairment by alcohol or drugs can reduce one’s ability to respond quickly to a fire and get out in time
- The first rule of RV firefighting is to save lives first and property second; ensure that you and your family are safe before attempting to extinguish any fire
- Never re-enter a burning RV to retrieve anything—GET OUT & STAY OUT
Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!
Speed was high
Weather was hot
Tires were thin
X marks the spot
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