RV Fire Safety Tips to Know

May 10, 2021 | Maintenance & Mods, Rigs

RV Fire Safety Tips to Know

Every RVer should know these simple and potentially lifesaving tips about RV fire safety before hitting the road.

By Kris and Andy Murphy

Photo: Kris & Andy Murphy

RVs can have a higher fire risk compared to other vehicles because of their additional moving parts and onboard fuel, higher electrical draws, and in some cases cheap or quick assembly. The main cause of RV fires is often the refrigerator, followed by engine fires in motorhomes, brake fires in trailers, and electrical fires. Unfortunately, fires can happen to anyone at any time, and many RVs are made out of flammable materials like wood, pressboard, and metal. It’s critical to be prepared and equipped for fire.

Related What to Do When You Accidentally Set Your Rig on Fire

Always Have a Plan and Practice It Often

Have an RV fire safety plan and practice it often, especially if you have kids or dependents who need extra assistance. If you use your RV for weekend trips, take time to refresh everyone’s memory on the safety plan and practice it before heading out. If you live in your RV full-time, practice different scenarios so everyone knows where to go and how to get out should a situation arise. Ensure that all of your emergency exits are clear, and have a backup plan in case one becomes blocked.

Equip Your Camper with the Right Tools

Check the fire safety tools you have on board. Chances are you have fire extinguishers for putting out a stove fire. Consider upgrading those extinguishers to something heavier duty. We swapped out our rig’s original fire extinguishers for ones filled with fire suppressants that can put out an airplane fire. These are nontoxic and have more output to clear a path without allowing the sprayed material to reignite. 

To reduce the risk of a refrigerator fire, we added a self-deploying extinguisher to our unit. If a fire starts behind it—usually in the vents—the extinguisher will self-trigger and, hopefully, put it out before the fire spreads. 

If you carry important documents on board, secure them in a fireproof bag or box. Be sure to remove any plastic folders that could melt.

My RV came with a few fire extinguishers. Why do I need to replace them?

Most RVs come with underpowered automobile extinguishers that satisfy the legal requirements, but might not be enough in the event of a major emergency. Also, most RV manufacturers place extinguishers only by the door, so consider getting more than one to have at key locations throughout your rig. Do your research on what came with your RV.

How many fire extinguishers should I have in my RV?

Have one in every section. Place them where you are going to be, not next to the door, where you need to go. If there’s a fire in the kitchen, can you get past the kitchen to the door? Review your plan and think about what setup would make it easiest to get out at any time of day.  

What areas of the RV are more at risk of fire?

Common causes of fires in RVs are electric or propane refrigerators, overheated engines and brakes, and an overloaded electrical system. 

How do I keep important travel documents safe from fire?

Keep your important travel documents, passports, and so on in a fire-safe bag or box. Remove all plastic that could melt and ruin any papers stored inside.

How do I teach my kids what to do in case of fire?

Have a plan and practice it often, especially when you have kids or dependents who need extra assistance. Always review your RV fire safety plan with everyone and practice it before heading out.

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Kris and Andy Murphy

Kris and Andy from Where Wild Ones Roam have been on the road since 2018 and are traveling the country in their Keystone Fuzion. High in the mountains and deep in a forest is where we they feel at home the most. They are true nomads.