Far and above, it seems that fires are one of the most dangerous elements to RVing.
IN NO WAY do I want to indicate that RVs are unsafe, but rather, I want to alert people to the possibility that RVs have a number of features and attributes that make them susceptible to fires.
Additionally, an RV can have the undesirable side effect that you have no way to get out of the RV without battling the fire. Worse, the RVs can be consumed rather quickly.
Why are RVs susceptible to fires?
Let me count the ways.
- RVs have propane appliances. Couple this with movement & vibration and you have a formula for propane leaks. Make sure you have a propane detector installed.
- RVs are used near campfires – it is why you call it camping. This may seem silly, but it is a real possibility.
- RVs run their refrigerators using propane and often when moving people do not turn off the propane – shazzam – a collision and a fire can ensue.
- Birds LOVE to build nests in RV engines. Engines get hot. Hot engines ignite bird nests.
- Indoor RV ranges love to have wimpy clicker igniters. This is a fire opportunity.
- RVs are stored for long periods of time and then put back in service expecting things to work perfectly. Mud daubers and other natural elements can conspire to create a fire hazard.
- RVs have this wheel bearing thing where the bearings can get dry, then get hot, then start a fire from the axles up.
- RVS seem to be oddly susceptible to electrical issues. My relative just about caught his RV on fire from the 30 Amp cord having a short to the junction box.
How can you avoid fires in an RV?
- Have a propane detector installed. They could save your life.
- Smell around for propane – especially after you are starting something up after it has been idle for weeks on end.
- Make sure pilot lights are working.
- Don’t run too much gas on your range before clicking the stove to on.
- Make sure your wheel bearings are packed and ready for long trips.
- Make sure the electric brake is not being driven while engaged.
- Test all components/appliances the first time with GOOD supervision. Just don’t assume everything is in perfect working order.
- Monitor electrical devices and if it is working funny – beware – stop and inspect.
- Most importantly: Keep a fire extinguisher handy. I would recommend having one in your bedroom, one in the opposite end of the RV and one near the RV main entrance door.
- Make sure all your fire extinguishers are ready to go and have a “charge” in them – usually indicated by a small dial with a pointer to something green.