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RV Fire Safety Tips & Life-Saving Info

Around 1,000 RV fires are reported every year! Here's what you need to know, including a list of life-saving RV fire safety tips…

One of the biggest fears many RVers have is fire, and for good reason — each year, RV fires cause deaths, injuries, and millions of dollars in damages to RVs. Just as fires happen in our homes and businesses.

The point is: it happens, and you need to take steps to make sure you aren't among those stats I just cited.

That's why we talked with our friend and RV expert, Mark Polk. We have compiled his advice into this article with a list of RV fire safety tips everyone should practice.

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RV Fire Safety Tips & Life-Saving Info 1
Mark Polk,

Meet Mark, The Expert

Mark, of, is a true expert on all aspects of RVs and RV safety and has critical and very practical advice about keeping our RVs safe from fire.

Among his top tips, make sure your fire safety devices are as ready to travel as you are. Here is more of our discussion, followed by a compilation of his tips down below.

“A really good habit to get into is, prior to every trip you take in your RV, you test the device,” Polk said, referring to devices like smoke and propane leak detectors.

Also on the topic of fire safety devices, Polk said to use devices that are made for use in RVs, and, where applicable, make sure devices aren't expired.

“It's typically five years from the date it was manufactured,” Polk said. “Nobody really talks about that.”

Of course, fire extinguishers are important to RV fire safety, though Polk cautions that they have limited use and shouldn't be considered the only line of defense against fire.

“You want to look at the site gauge and make sure that it's fully charged, and if it's not, you'll want to replace it,” Polk said.

Being prepared to handle a fire is good advice.

How to Avoid RV Fires

The biggest question we had for Polk, however, was what can RVers do to avoid causing fires altogether?

In short, he said, problems are caused by various incidents, like poorly maintained propane systems.

Other fires are caused by electrical shorts, such as when electric heaters are being used to supplement furnace systems. “Heaters can have a really high wattage,” Polk said. “So you leave it on for a really long time, like when you're sleeping and it's creating a lot of heat in the electrical circuit to the point where the insulation might start to melt and two wires make contact and that ignites the fire.”

Though Polk offered us plenty of fire safety tips, he said people shouldn't be afraid of RVing.

“I don't want to make people paranoid, it's just being aware of these things,” Polk said.

You can hear my entire interview with Mark on Episode 126 of the RV Podcast. For your convenience, we put Mark's top recommendations into the following list of RV Safety Tips…

Mike and Jennifer's Official Summer T-Shirts for you to explore

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NEW shirts for Men and Women who love the RV Lifestyle. Lighter fabric and colors for everyone!

10 RV Fire Safety Tips

Mark touched upon most of the following fire safety tips in the podcast. In the following list, we compiled the top RV fire safety tips and added resources to help make your RV safe!

Remember to take fire safety precautions before hitting the road and during your camping trip!

Tip #1: Memorize Campground Name & Campsite Number

One of the essential RV fire safety tips is to memorize the name of the campground you are staying in and your campsite number. In case of an emergency, this information will help emergency responders locate you quickly.

This is a valuable safety tip for all emergency situations. To take it one step further, we recommend keeping the following information on your RV’s fridge for every place you stay:

  • Call 911 (If you have small children)
  • Campground Name
  • Campsite Number
  • Camp Office Phone Number
  • Directions to Nearest Hospital
  • Directions to Nearest Pet Hospital
  • Your Health Insurance Information

Keeping this information on hand can save precious minutes in the case of an emergency. This reusable checklist magnet with a fridge marker holder makes it easy.

Tip #2: Check Your RV Propane System Annually

Propane is an excellent source of energy for RV appliances, but it can also be dangerous if not handled properly. It is crucial to check your RV propane system annually, ideally by a professional. 

A leaking propane tank can cause a fire or even an explosion. We recommend reading 7 RV Propane Safety Tips to Prevent an EXPLOSION.

Tip #3: Do Fire Drills

Just like at home, it’s a good idea to practice fire drills in your RV. Make sure everyone in your group knows what to do in case of a fire. 

Assign each person a specific task, such as calling 911 or grabbing the fire extinguisher, and designate a place to meet outside after evacuating the RV.

Tip #4: Place “Pet Inside” Sticker on your RV Door

Many RVers travel with their pets, and need to take additional steps to protect them. In case of an emergency, you want to make sure that your pets are not left behind. 

Placing a “pet inside” sticker on your RV door will alert first responders that there are pets inside that need to be rescued.

Tip #5: Be Careful with Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are a popular source of warmth in RVs during colder weather. However, they can be dangerous if used incorrectly or if left unattended.

Make sure your electric heater is in good condition and placed in an area where it won't tip over. Better yet, get a heater that automatically shuts off if it tips over.

It’s best to use RV electric heaters in the 750-1,000-watt range to avoid overworking your electric system. Or, only use the “low” setting if it has a higher wattage.

Tip #6: Use a Low Watt Hair Dryer

Just like electric heaters, hair dryers can overload the electrical system and cause a fire. Use a low-wattage hairdryer, like this 1,000 watt mini travel hair dryer.

Also be sure not to use your hair dryer and electric heater simultaneously. That’ll likely tax your system and increase your risk of an electrical fire.

Tip #7: Use Flameless Candles

Candles can create a cozy atmosphere in your RV, but they are a significant fire hazard. Instead, you can use flameless candles that look like the real thing.

These battery-operated candles are actually made of real wax! They have a remote control and timer function. Their batteries can last over 350 hours.

Tip #8: Keep & Maintain Fire Extinguishers

Having a fire extinguisher in your RV is a must. Make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher and that it is readily accessible. 

Check the expiration date and make sure it is in good condition. And check it every season! There are so many RVs that only have expired fire extinguishers in them– which defeats the point!

Lastly, rain everyone in your group on how to use a fire extinguisher. Here is a list of the 5 Best Fire Extinguishers for Your RV.

Fire Extinguishers for Your RV

Tip #9: Regularly Check Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are essential in any home, including your RV. Make sure you have a smoke alarm installed in every sleeping area and replace the batteries once a year or as needed. 

Be sure to test them regularly. Make it apart of your pre-roadtrip checklist!

Tip #10: Regularly Check CO Detectors

Ensure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your RV and that it works correctly. Test it regularly and replace the batteries once a year or as needed.

A CO detector will alert you if gas is present, saving you from carbon monoxide poisoning and a possible explosion.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide While RVing

Speaking of which, carbon monoxide poses a very big risk to RVers as well. According to the CDC, approximately 50,000 people end up in the emergency room each year due to accidental CO poisoning. Worse, at least 430 people die.  

CO poisoning is a serious risk, especially where any fuel-burning machines or appliances exist. As we all know, an RV itself is a fuel-burning machine with plenty of fuel-burning accessories in and around it!

Learn how to detect CO and how to identify early signs of CO poisoning. Plus, implement these 11 tips to keep your RV safe from carbon monoxide. Keep reading… 

RV Electricity Dos and Don’ts Rrom a Pro

Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!

Before heading out for a new season of camping, there are some RV Electricity Dos and Don’ts you need to know about. We detail them from a top expert whose advice can save you lots of grief. 

We also look at recent damages to campgrounds and communities as storms roll across the US. Read the full article here.

Mike and Jennifer's Great Lakes Shoreline Tour (U.S. Side)

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The Great Lakes region is filled with beautiful vistas, welcoming towns and villages, and fabulous places to camp, hike, and explore.

We were so taken with the adventure of this trip that we just knew we had to write one of our Adventure Guides about it!

But instead of the usual 7 Days that some of our other guides can be done in, with this one, we’re suggesting that you budget more time. This is why we are calling it a “Tour” instead of a 7-Day Guide! There are 86 pages in this new ebook.

In this new Great Lakes Shoreline Tour we cover in detail:

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  • What to See/Do Around EACH Lake like; Ocqueoc Falls Scenic Site, Les Cheneaux Islands, Antique Boat Museum, and many, many more places including BONUS side trips!
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Official RV Lifestyle QUICK Links to ALL our eBooks

You can see ALL our eBooks here, or use the following Quick Links to go straight to what you need!

●    Adirondacks

●    Arizona

●    Colorado 

Coastal Maine

●    Florida’s Atlantic Coast

●    Florida’s Gulf Coast

●    Florida Keys

●    Great Lakes Shoreline

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Lower Peninsula

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New England Bundle
Coastal Maine, Adirondacks

Ultimate Michigan and Great Lakes Bundle – 3 ebooks –
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Michigan Bundle
Upper Peninsula, Lower Peninsula

The Great Lakes Adventure Guide Bundle
The Great Lake Shoreline Tour & JUST the Upper Peninsula Guide

Florida Adventure Guide Bundle
Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, Keys 

Southwest Adventure Guide Bundle
Arizona, Colorado, Southern Utah) 

Ultimate 7-Day RV Adventure Guide Bundle
Collection 1- our first 10 ebooks (does NOT contain Great Lakes Shoreline or Natchez Trace)

We also have a nice collection of ebooks that will help you navigate the RV Lifestyle. 

Like these:

RV Buying Secrets

The Beginner's Guide to Boondocking 

The Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites

Boondocking and Free RV Camping EBOOK Bundle

The Beginner’s Guide to Boondocking ebook and Ultimate Guide to Free Camping Sites

And ONE PRINT book 🙂 and yes, before you ask, we have plans for MANY more print books.

The Complete Guide to Boondocking – PRINT VERSION
This is the same as the ebook titled The Beginner's Guide to Boondocking but in print.

And while you are exploring all our ebooks – check out the hoodies, T-shirts, Stickers, and mugs in our MERCH Store! You can get to it directly by just going here – SHOP!

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-04-23

Mike Wendland is an Emmy award-winning journalist, traveler, and producer of RV Podcast, the RV Lifestyle travel blog, and the RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. Mike, traveling with his wife Jennifer and their Norwegian Elkhound, Bo, has vast experience and a great passion for exploring North America, previously working as a long-time NBC-TV News Channel Technology Correspondent and now sharing his love for the RV lifestyle with millions. Mike is not only an adept RV life enthusiast but also a skillful storyteller, bringing to his channels stories from the road that perfectly capture the magic and hardships of this lifestyle.

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