There is no shortage of news stories about different parts of the U.S. and Canada experiencing devastating losses due to various weather conditions. Now that summer is here, the weather becomes ripe for wildfires and forest fires. According to the NIFC (National Interagency Fire Center) on average, there are more than 106,000 wildfire forest fires each year in the U.S. An equally staggering number is there are as many as 20,000 RV fires reported each year. These numbers reflect how important fire safety and fire prevention are to the RV lifestyle.
Here are the most common causes of fires in an RV:
- Transmission fluid leaking
- 12-volt electrical system/short circuit
- Fuel leak
- Open propane flames/unattended stove
- An unnoticed flat on a towed vehicle
- Spontaneous combustion from damp charcoal
- Birds or critters in your flue
- Hot exhaust pipe
What you need to know about fire extinguishers
Make a plan and prevent checklist
- Smoke detectors are required. Get a UL217 to be in code with NFPA mandates.
- Check all hoses, wires and connections before every trip and during a monthly fire check.
- Eyeball your tires at each stop when you’re on a road trip.
- Make sure everyone knows what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it.
- Educate your passengers on using a fire extinguisher.
- Make sure your travelers know how to actually use the exits; not all doors open the same.
- Review “stop, drop and roll” technique with passengers.
- Use the designated fire ring or picnic grill.
- If there is no fire ring or grill available, clear a three-foot area around the fire down to the soil.
- Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby.
- Use only dead wood lying on the ground. Do not cut live trees or branches from trees near the campsite.
- Stack extra wood upwind and away from the fire.
- After lighting, do not discard the match until it is cold.
- Be careful with cigarettes. Dropped cigarettes, like matches, are major causes of fires.
- NEVER leave a campfire unattended, not even for a minute.
- Douse the campfire with water and stir the ashes until they are cold to the touch.