The following fire safety article was written by:Mark Polk
, founder of RV Education 101http://rveducation101.com/
RV fire safety is something most RVers don't think about or discuss very often, but's a topic that deserves serious attention. Do you know that there are about 20,000 reported RV fires each year? Do you know what to do in the event of a fire in or around your RV? If you said no, don't feel bad; a lot of other people don't know either.
A large percentage of RV fires are transmission-related on motorhomes. Leaking automatic transmission fluid can ignite and quickly spread if it contacts any portion of the exhaust system. Before traveling in your RV or tow vehicle inspect the underside for any signs of fluid leaking. Have any potential leaks checked and repaired immediately.
More than one-quarter of RV fires are caused by shorts in the 12-volt electrical system.
Not only do you need a fire extinguisher, but you need to inspect it before each trip to make sure it's charged. Look to see if the arrow is pointing in the green area in the sight gauge. If it reads empty or needs charging replace it or have it recharged immediately. If it's a dry powder type fire extinguisher, the arrow pointing in the green doesn't always guarantee that it will work.
Every month you should turn dry powder extinguishers upside down, tap on the bottom of the extinguisher and shake it so the powder that settled on the bottom is released.
There are four different types, or classes of fire extinguishers, A, B, C, and D, and each type is for a specific type of fire.
Class A extinguishers are used for fires caused by ordinary combustibles like paper and wood.
Class B extinguishers are used for fires caused by flammable liquids like grease, gasoline and oil.
Class C extinguishers are used for fires caused by electrical equipment.
Class D extinguishers are used for fires on flammable metals and often they are specific for the type of metal it is.
Some fire extinguishers have multi class ratings like, AB, BC or ABC which means one fire extinguisher can be used to put out different types of fires. The National Fire Protection Agency rules that RVs must have a "BC" rated fire extinguisher near the exit. "BC" rated fire extinguishers are used for flammable liquids and gasses like grease, gasoline and oil, and for electrical fires. Many RV fires that happen inside an RV are type A fires caused by common combustibles like paper, and they require a type A fire extinguisher to put them out. This is why, in my opinion, you should have more than one fire extinguisher for your RV.
It's a good idea to keep an ABC type fire extinguisher in an outside storage compartment where it is easily accessible. You should also keep an ABC type fire extinguisher inside the RV. If you tow a trailer keep an, ABC type fire extinguisher in the tow vehicle too.
Having these fire extinguishers available is a great idea but they are worthless if you and the other people traveling in the RV don't know what type of fire they're used for and how to properly operate them. Gather everybody who will be in the RV together, (not small children) and make sure they understand the different types of fire extinguishers you have and where they are located.
The old style labeling for fire extinguishers, to designate what type of fire they are used for was with the letter A, B, C or D. Newer labeling includes a picture designating the type of fire an extinguisher is used for.
If it's intended for multiple types of fires it will show the pictures for those types of fires and it will have a red diagonal line through the picture of what it cannot be used for.
Once everybody understands the different types of fire extinguishers the next step is to teach them how to properly use one. There are many different types and sizes but they essentially work the same. Teach everybody to remember the word PASS. This is an easy way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher, especially during an emergency.
PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.
Pull the pin located at the top of the fire extinguisher.
Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the handle, standing approximately eight feet away from the fire. Release the handle if you want it to stop.
Sweep the nozzle back and forth at the base of the fire until it is out. Observe the fire to make sure it does not re-ignite.
Last but certainly not least you need to have an emergency escape plan. The National Fire Protection agency requires that RVs have emergency escape windows. Make sure everybody knows where the escape window is located and how to use it. It's a good idea to practice using it so you are familiar with how to get out of the RV in case of an emergency. You should have an escape plan for the front of the RV and the rear of the RV.
Most important, do not risk your personal safety, or the safety of others, attempting to put a fire out. The first step is to get everybody out of the RV and away from the fire safely. Have somebody call 911 for help, and if you can't extinguish the fire within the first minute or so let the professionals put it out.
The original article, including supporting graphics, may be viewed at RV Education 101: http://www.rvuniversity.com/staticpages/index.php/RV_Fire_Safety/print
This article has been approved for redistribution solely on this forum by: Mark Polk, founder of RV Education 101http://rveducation101.com/