RV Safety

Mary Ann Snider, F258818, researched, formulated and presented a three hour seminar on motor home safety at the Roughnecks April rally in Alpine Texas. A driving force for the seminar was the recent loss of a long time Roughnecks couple, Ken and Janelle Myers, in a tragic accident. We feel the subject important and have included the major points for all to read.

  •  The pilot and co-pilot should do a safety inspection of their rig. A list of concerns should be identified and prioritized for action.
  •  Make sure you have the recommended number of fire extinguishers (entry, galley, bedroom, basement and/or tow vehicle).  Know the types of extinguishers, their effectiveness on various fires, how to use them and be sure they are charged.
  • The first rule of RV firefighting is to save lives. Use the extinguishers as an aid to help you get out of the rig.
  • Check with the manufacturer of any dry chemical fire extinguishers to see if they have to be shaken monthly to keep the powder loose or for any questions you may have.
  • Develop a plan of action before a fire occurs. Practice getting out of the rig using two different exits. Try using both the ladder and blanket method. Go out feet first.
  • If you go out the bedroom exit, close the bedroom door before you open the window to keep the fire from spreading so quickly. Do not break additional windows in the rig.
  • Keep a nontoxic foam extinguisher to use on the face. arms and groin of the person who will be last out.
  • Have a meeting place once you get out of the rig.
  • Do not try to save your pet. They have a natural instinct to get out on their own.
  • Make sure everyone who travels in your rig, including grand- children, know to get out of your rig. Review the plan every time you travel.
  • Make sure that in case of electrical fires all adults know how to turn off the house batteries and the current at the pole. Adults also need to know how to turn off the propane at the tank(s) if you travel with your propane on.
  • If possible take the woman’s  purse out of the rig because it usually contains keys, insurance and medical information plus credit cards. During travel keep it in the front and at night keep it in the bedroom near the fire exit.
  • At night keep shoes, flashlight, purse, blanket and anything else you need to get out near the exit. Make sure the exit is not blocked and free of clutter.
  • Make sure you have tried to open your emergency window. You may need to keep a dowel near the exit to prop the window open. Use 303 Lubricant or The Solution on the rubber trim a couple times each year to make it easy to open.
  • If your rig is a 2008 or older, replace ALL detectors with new ones. Make sure you get them from a RV dealer and they say RV APPROVED. RV units are tested against vibration. salt spray, heavy animal smoke and lower/higher temps then your average home home units purchased at Walmart, Home Depot,etc. If you have a 2009 rig or newer replace smoke detectors every 10 years, CO detectors every 7 years and propane detectors every 5 years.
  • Practice the high/low rule. If detectors are placed high (smoke and carbon monoxide) you should get out by going low to the floor. If the detector is low (propane) you should try standing up to get out. Know the sounds of the various detectors and replace batteries twice a year even if batteries appear OK.
  • Google “Mac the Fire Guy”   and review the several articles he has written on fire safety. He recommends a Kidde PI9010 ionized photoelectric smoke detector, two if the rig is over 30 feet. Be sure to watch his video on how to get out the rig safely.
  • Do not leave GPS devices in the sun. Lithium-ion batteries can explode violently and cause fire.
  • Make a video of the contents of your rig and an updated inventory for insurance purposes. Keep them in a safe deposit box or with a family member/friend.
  • Practice unhooking your tow vehicle as quickly as possible to avoid spreading the fire to other vehicles. Keep an emergency bag in the tow vehicle.
  • Inspect all hoses monthly, keep the coach’s underpinnings clean, keep charcoal dry by storing it in a covered metal container, keep rags used to clean the rig in a separate closed metal container.
  • Know your location so firefighters/emergency personnel can find you. Get business cards from the RV office when you check in to keep in the rig, tow vehicle and/or wallet.
  • Keep a set of keys with an emergency button by your bed so you can use it to set off the alarm in your car and alert people that you need help.
  • In case of an RV accident involving injury/death chances are very high you will be involved in a lawsuit. Ask an attorney/financial advisor about ways to protect your assets for your heirs including your spouse.
  • Do not become complacent about safety. Review your plan often. Make sure both pilot and copilot can implement the plan.