Hand holding a fire extinguisher and squeezing the trigger.

RV Fire Safety Precautions to Protect Your Family & Vehicle

The most important rule to enjoy any RV trip is “stay safe.” Like your home, being safe begins with a plan. While RV fires are unlikely in a well-maintained camper, any motor vehicle or electrical appliance has the potential to start one. If you want to relax on your trips, make sure to practice proper RV fire safety so you don’t have to worry about it. Read below to find tips to keep you and your RV safe from any potential fire hazards.

Hand holding a fire extinguisher and squeezing the trigger.

What Makes RV Fires So Dangerous?

Any fire is inherently dangerous. But in an RV, there are a few additional risks that aren’t necessarily found in other situations:

Fuel Sources

There’s an increased chance of the fire being near items like a propane tank that can cause even more damage. If you have the propane tank on, it can literally add fuel to the fire and increase the rate at which it spreads.

You also have the risk of the fire reaching your RV’s fuel tank. In either case, it will make matters worse.

Tight Quarters

Smoke inhalation is the number one risk with any interior fire. If your RV is well-sealed to save energy costs, it will also hold in that excess smoke. Given the smaller space, it won’t take long for the smoke to completely fill the cabin.

High-Volume of Flammables

You’re surrounded by quality wood and fabric in your RV. But those materials, and others, are highly flammable. Most objects are positioned near something else – leaving very few gaps in between. This can quicken the pace of a spreading fire.

RV Fire Safety Precautions

Stock Up on Fire Extinguishers

Just like your home, you need to have emergency fire extinguishers ready and available. Many small fires can be handled with just an extinguisher, preventing larger damage and any risk to your health. Depending on the size of your RV, it may be a good idea to have one stationed at either end.

Any type of fire extinguisher will work, but remember that dry chemical extinguishers release toxic chemicals when they’re used. They can be effective for handling electrical fires, but you will want to move out of the RV soon after to let the cabin vent.

Invest in an Automatic Fire Extinguisher

An automatic fire suppression system is a great way to increase the safety of your RV in circumstances where you can’t act quickly on your own. A foam-based automatic suppression system will identify when temperatures have gone to extreme levels and trigger a release.

These types of systems are designed for engine fires. With the large volume of fuel in motorhomes, it can be extremely reassuring to have a way to defend against an unexpected fire.

Keep in mind that automatic fire suppression systems can’t fit in every type of RV. Different sizes and designs can make them too difficult to install. However, it’s worth investigating your options if you’re worried about an engine fire!

Test Your Smoke Detector Regularly

A finger pressing on a smoke detector testing button.

Smoke detectors are your first line of defense. But they’re also battery-operated. Most smoke detectors emit a loud, frequent beep when the battery is running low. In your home, it’s impossible to miss. However, if you only take RV trips on the weekends, you may miss these alerts until the battery completely dies. Don’t rely on it – always test them to make sure they work.

Without a charge, they won’t offer you much protection. The best way to protect yourself is to test your smoke detector before every trip. This way, you can change out batteries before you hit the road if needed.

Have an Escape Strategy

Fire safety plans always include escape preparation. Your RV fire safety planning should too! Especially for families that travel in their RV with children, an escape plan can help reduce confusion in an emergency.

Remind yourself and teach your child how to reach an exit from any location in the RV. It’s a good idea to plan for escapes from both ends of the interior. Likewise, show them how they can escape through the windows – sometimes a fire can make the normal exits unreachable.

Always Know Where You Are

A fire can happen at any time, in any place. Keep track of where you are as you travel the nation in your RV. If you need to contact emergency services, the most important information for them is your location.

Watch for mile markers, exits and other notable landmarks so that you can direct first responders to your location if needed. You don’t have to be exact, but the more information you can offer, the faster they will be able to reach you. RVs aren’t difficult to spot on the highway as long as they have an idea of where to look for you!

Practice Your RV Fire Safety Plans

No safety plan is complete without practice runs. In addition to solidifying the plans so that you and your child can see it in action, a trial run helps work the kinks out of your escape. Maybe a window is hard to open. You may find tripping hazards or other potential roadblocks to getting out from a particular area of your RV.

Do a few run-throughs of your plan and discuss them afterwards to find out if anyone had any problems. Then, plan to do them again a few times each year. The more often you repeat them, the easier they’ll be to remember!

Helpful Tips to Stay Safe:

#1. Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Not all smoke detectors are designed to identify carbon monoxide too. If yours doesn’t, you can either replace it with one that does, or buy a stand-alone carbon monoxide detector. Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible. Without a detector, it’s nearly impossible to identify until it’s already affecting you.

#2. Avoid Electrical Overload

Your RV has a lot of electrical appliances. You don’t want to load them all in one outlet at one time. If you have appliances that require a high-power draw, spread them out to reduce your chance of overloading an outlet. Surge protectors are a great investment for any RV owner. Buy a few high-rated ones and use them for any appliances that you can.

If you plan to try dry camping, you’ll want to become an expert at reducing your electricity use anyway. Reducing your overall draw is great for safety and for reducing your risk of fire!

#3. Be Mindful When Cooking

RV cooking isn’t exactly like home cooking. While you have most or all of the same tools, you’ll be working with a smaller space. It’s much easier to leave a burner on or have flammable objects near the stove. Stay alert and practice all the cooking safety you would at home.

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Start Your RV Life Today – Contact RV Wholesale Superstore

Do you have questions about RVing and RV fire safety? The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you! We can answer your questions and help you choose the perfect RV for you and your family! Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at 844-601-1171


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