One of the most important safety devices you can keep in your RV is a fire extinguisher. Hopefully, it’s a resource that you’ll never have to use, but in the event that you need one, and don’t have it, the consequences could be disastrous.
RVs are homes on wheels, and as such, they are especially vulnerable to fire related danger … more so than a brick and mortar home or a car. A fire can engulf an RV in a matter of seconds, which can turn a great vacation into a disaster. Each year, between 6,500 and 20,000 RV fires are reported, and the numbers are probably higher if you include the ones that don’t get reported.
Sometimes we humans think about buying something that we may need one day, but we never seem to get around to making the purchase because we procrastinate, or forget. Don’t let this be the case with a fire extinguisher for your RV. Having a properly functioning fire extinguisher on hand could be a matter of life or death while camping in your RV. It could also save your coach from burning to the ground, or sustaining substantial damage.
Fire extinguishers are relatively inexpensive, and in the event that you have a small fire, you will be so grateful that you have one on hand. It is just a matter of seconds before a small fire becomes a big fire, consuming everything in its path, and it can usually be avoided by having a fire extinguisher within easy reach.
Fire extinguishers can be purchased at most home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes. They fall into different categories. There are classes A, B, C, D and K. Each type is used for different types of fires. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends a minimum of one 10 B:C rated extinguisher for your RV. This is the most common extinguisher, as well as the least expensive. The number 10 means that the extinguisher will cover 10 square feet. The B rating is for flammable liquids such as gasoline, diesel fuel and flammable gasses, like propane. The C rating is used on fires that involve energized 120v electrical equipment, such as fuse boxes, wiring, machinery, appliances and circuit breakers. The extinguishing agent will not conduct electricity back to the operator in the event of an electrical fire. The agent used in the B:C extinguisher is basically baking soda, which causes little or no damage to the items it comes in contact with.
Extinguishers that have an ABC rating cover common combustible items like paper and wood. The disadvantage to this type is that the extinguishing chemical used in them (Monoammonium Phosphate) is toxic and corrosive, and tends to melt onto any surface it touches, which makes it very difficult to remove. If your RV is not properly and completely cleaned, the residue can injure or kill your pet and do severe damage to some of your belongings inside the coach.
The fire extinguisher in your recreational vehicle should be placed within 24 inches of the primary exit door. Each RV should have at least one extinguisher, but you can never have too many. Each member of the travel party should know where the extinguisher is and how to operate it in the event of a fire, and what type of fire it can be used on. If the extinguisher is rated by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) (which in most states is a legal requirement), then the pertinent information will be listed on the label, as well as in the instruction manual that came with it.
It may be something that you never use, but hopefully, in the event that you need one, you will have a fire extinguisher on hand. Remember, it could mean the difference between a good ending and a bad ending to your trip.