Around the time Tony posted Firedude’s RV Fire Safety, I was also working on an article, “Are You Fire-Safe on the Road?“. I interviewed Mac McCoy, better known as Mac the Fire Guy, as well as got an idea or two from Tony.

RV fire in a campground

RV fire in a campground

As I wrote in the article, once George and I could not open the door to the 5th wheel. We have two windows that open as emergency exits. The one in the bedroom is a LONG drop to the ground. The one at the other end, behind our love seat recliner, is still a long drop but not so far. I first started out headfirst but realized I’d land on my arms and head- not a good plan. Trying to maneuver myself out with the love seat moving and not wanting to scrape myself to pieces on the metal frame took time – even with George’s help – but I finally got out with just a scrape on my arm. I wondered if George could have fit. Fortunately there was no fire. A fire is not the time to be wondering where the escape route is, how to open it, and how you’ll get out.

Ladies, do you know how to get out of your rig on your own? Do you know how to operate your fire extinguisher and which types of fire(s) it should be used on? Do you ever clean your detectors? Inspect your extinguishers? Do you have a plan for getting out? Unless you can answer all these questions “Yes,” you are not prepared.

Another thing my editor added is, “Do you know your location when parked and driving?” They had a fire and Megan wasn’t sure of the location. Mark was busy fighting the fire. Be aware of your location even if you aren’t driving – just in case.

Andy, a solo woman, sent me the story of her RV fire after publication. The cause appeared to be a malfunction on the stove. The plastic knob was off but the brass fitting was still on low, releasing propane. In spite of quick thinking and help on the part of her neighbors in the RV park, she lost everything. You can read her story and advice here.

From 2002 to 2005 – the latest statistics – there were on average 3,100 RV fires each year. These fires caused 7 deaths, 62 injuries and approximately $41 million in damages in each of those years. An RV fire is not something to mess around with. The first step is to be prepared. Have a plan, make sure you having propane, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors properly located and operating properly, then know what kinds of fire extinguishers you have and where they are located plus how to use them.

Just like you should know how to hook up and unhook and drive your RV, you should also be prepared for an RV fire and not leave that up to your partner. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

Typical extinguisher found in the RV kitchen area

Typical extinguisher found in the RV kitchen area

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  3. A.W. and FX- thanks for your additional info/links. Good information here. I wasn’t aware of the aerosol fire extinguisher. Will check into it.

    Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

  4. Francis X. Schilling

    All good tips – thanks for the article and comments! As regards the new aerosol spray suppressants mentioned in the previous post, here is a demo video to check out if you are so inclined: (there are others as well)

    A.W. Walker has a good approach in that he/she maintains a variety of extinguisher options. The aerosol is an excellent choice for the galley while I’d hate to fight a fuel fire in the generator bay without a dry chemical extinguisher.


  5. A.W.Walker

    Jaimie, There are several sellers of the flexible fire escape ladder; First Alert is the one I happened upon. I store the shortened ladder in the same box it came in, which is 13″x13″x4.5″.

    The original ladder was 14′ long, for a second story house escape. I shortened it for my 8-9 foot MH drop. When I ultimately replace my analog bedroom TV with a flat-screen, I’m considering storing the ladder in the recovered space behind there; but for now, it can easily fit in an overhead cabinet, in a closet, or under the bed.

    Also, in addition to the fire extinguisher by the curbside door, and one in the bedroom, and one in the dinghy, I recently equipped the galley with a new type of fire extinguisher that works like a regular aerosol spray, about the size of a can of spray paint. It works on grease, fabric, wood, and electrical fires, and is so easy to use, that I could figure it out in a groggy daze at 2AM….flip off the cap, press the aerosol button, douse the fire. Supposedly sprays twice as long as a large traditional extinguisher.

    Also, added a different kind of fire detector that uses photoelectric smoke sensing that complements my existing ionization detector. If one misses, the other gets it, and I’m covering both flaming and smoldering fires.

  6. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    Ladies- this is for you too! Any comments? Are you prepared?


  7. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    John, One by the door is good placement. Do you have one in the bedroom as well? Having 3 other exits gives you more options. I’m sure if there was a real fire, the drop wouldn’t stop me, but I do like the idea of having a ladder.

    A.W. The flexible fire escape ladder sounds much better. How much room does it take? I also like your idea of using the bedspread to ease the way out.


  8. A.W.Walker

    Jaime and Daniel, If your idea of a rope ladder is the same as mine, then it will offer a false sense of a secure exit. My vision of a rope ladder is that it will lay flush against the side of your coach, which will make it very, very difficult to put your foot onto the tread for a stable descent. I considered the rope ladder, but then bought a flexible fire escape ladder from First Alert that has stand-offs, and that allows for actually getting your foot on it as you climb down. This is the same ladder sold for escaping from a stick house, and I cut off the excess to fit my MH. It is stored in the coach bedroom ready to deploy.

    Also, in an extreme emergency if you are in the bedroom area, include an alternate plan to simply grab the bedspread off the bed, stretch it over the sharp metal of the emergency window escape to give it some padding, and then ease yourselves over and out feet-first. You might have the DH stand on the spread to stabilize it while easing the DW out and down before he then exits.

  9. John Jackman

    I have 2 extinguishers in my trailer, one by the kitchen and one by the doorway. I think that having one by the doorway is necessary as this is your first choice for exiting and an extinguisher might give you the extra time needed to get out.
    We have practiced opening up exits but never actually tried to get out. . For me it would be a quick decision and the drop to the ground while not too high would be a risk that we would take at that time.
    I have 3 exits besides the door.

  10. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    Thanks for the comments.

    Daniel- you said, “in the bed room and in the living area I bought some rope ladders with hooks on them to put out the windows of the camper in needed.” Excellent idea. I need to get at least one of those for the bedroom. It is too far a jump.

    We definitely need to put reminders on our calendar or somewhere to regularly check our detectors and extinguishers.


  11. John Candler

    Great Reminder — my wife and I have talked about the importance of knowing what to do in case of a fire — but it has been some time — we will go over it this week end.

    We are planning a trip in May



  12. WE will be going to Alaska in June this will be on my CHECK LIST for sure
    Thanks George

  13. Daniel Sauve

    to replay on your questions. Most people have no idea what to do or even check any safety items in there camp. I am a volentere fireman in our small town. no mater if at home, work, truck or my camper my wife and I are ready and we have checked all options to get out, first in my truck I have a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit and not the cheak ones, a blanket, In my camper I have 3 fire extinguishers and 2 first aid kits, in the bed room and in the living area I bought some rope ladders with hooks on them to put out the windows of the camper in needed, Had to modify them some but not a big thing. They can be found on the internet at very little cost. But what is cost to me no price will ever cover a persons live or the pain that a person will through in a fire. So a life has no price on it, take the time to make sure every one in and around your camper is safe

  14. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

    Thanks, Tony!