RV Fire Safety Tips

Owning an RV comes with some risks. Onboard propane tanks, propane powered appliances, and hundreds if not thousands of feet of electrical wiring pose risks. In all fairness, these same risks exist in houses as well, but houses are also stationary. Anytime an RV is moved, it’s the equivalent of your house experiencing an earthquake. Things can happen during transit. RV systems require extra due diligence in order to stay safe. Here, we outline a few tips on things to look out for and ways to try and prevent disaster.

Tip #1: Update Your Propane and Smoke Detectors and Test Them Often

If you’re like us and you bought a used rig, the first thing you’ll want to do is replace your smoke and propane detectors. The official recommendation is to change propane detectors every 5 years and smoke every 10. But that’s also assuming the current detectors are properly functioning. If you don’t hear a beep when you try to test them, you should definitely replace them. Propane detectors are always hard wired due to the amount of electricity they draw. You can try changing the batteries on your smoke detector first if it isn’t hardwired, but worth considering replacing it either way. Plus while you’re at it you can replace your old smoke detector with a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Below are the ones we ended up replacing ours with. They were a cinch to install, and give instant peace of mind knowing you’ve got new detectors in place to keep you and your family safe.

Tip #2: Update/Add a Fire Extinguisher

If you don’t have a fire extinguisher installed, you should get one like this fire extinguisher approved for automotive use. If you have one installed already, you should make sure it is tested and/ or replaced every 5 years in order to ensure the effectiveness if it is needed. It is always better to have an extinguisher and not ever need it than to need it and not have it.

Tip #3: Check Your Fridge

Fridges are a source of many RV fires. There’s much debate about the many potential reasons why. One big culprit is the boiler overheating. At the very least, research your fridge maker and model for any recalls.

Another option is to consider an aftermarket addition to help monitor the boiler temperature and cut-off power to the fridge if temperatures are outside of normal levels. This particular fix is patented, so the place to buy it from are the people who make the product, ARP Fridge Defend. We haven’t installed this product and cannot vouch for it’s efficacy, but it is something we are strongly considering installing since we would like to be as safe as possible from issues with fires.

Tip #4: Check Your Propane System

It’s fairly obvious to say that propane is dangerous, but a lot of people don’t take the time to check their propane system and devices to ensure all things are safe. Check all fittings, and ensure that any propane powered devices are inspected regularly for proper function. To be extra safe, turn off all propane while driving. Many RV’ers don’t turn their propane off while driving, and even run propane appliances like fridges and generators. This isn’t recommended, although we have been guilty of this ourselves. At the very least, always make sure all appliances are shut off whenever you stop to refill gas or propane .

Tip #5: Campfire Safety

Ideally you have a propane fire pit to use. If not, always ensure your fire is well protected in a metal or stone enclosure. Don’t build huge bonfires because very few people have the skills or equipment necessary to prevent fires from spreading. Keep the fire to 3-4 logs at a time and stack them so there is always sufficient air circulating to fuel the fire. Another big thing to always keep in mind is that propane tanks, whether portable or attached to the RV, should always be far away from any campfires.

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