Wow, what a week. We are in the middle of a heatwave here in Texas. It has been around the 100-degree mark most of the week. Due to the heat and a desire to take our 2 days off and relax, we stayed home both days.
It was a great time to catch up on my work with the motorcycle site I am working on and also do some behind the scenes work on this site. We have also been updating our resumes in the preparation of finding winter work. It’s a little exciting and at the same time unnerving not knowing where our next location may be.
Do You Follow The Tip Of The Week?
If you have been following the tip of the week for the last few weeks, you will notice there has been a theme. The theme has been about safety in your RV. From smoke detectors to emergency exits. This week I would like to close the chapter on RV fire and Carbon monoxide and fire safety by reviewing smoke, carbon monoxide, and propane detectors, emergency exits and adding in the final piece which will be fire extinguishers.
Let’s start with a quick smoke detector review. Smoke detectors can be a really big nuisance. You are cooking your favorite breakfast and all of a sudden, the smoke detector goes off. It startles you just as you are flipping breakfast and next thing you know your breakfast has been catapulted across the room and you start to re-catch your breath…lol. A little bit over-exaggerated but you get the point.
The Mute Button
Most smoke detectors have a disable/mute/or hush button on them. By pushing these buttons you can disable the smoke detector while you cook and they will automatically reactivate on their own after a little while. That way you can’t forget to reactivate it. The bottom line, get, keep and maintain your smoke detector.
On to carbon monoxide and propane detectors. Just like the smoke detector, the carbon monoxide/propane detectors are extremely important and possibly life-saving. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. This makes it extremely dangerous. If you are thinking that you don’t have a generator in your RV so you don’t have to worry, think again. Someone else can be running one or any other piece of equipment for that matter and you have your fan or a/c on. It can suck the gas right into your RV while you sleep and you’ll never know it. Pretty scary.
There have already been instances of things like this happening. Pretty sad when people lose their lives over something that could have been prevented so easily. That should be reason enough to make sure your RV has a carbon monoxide detector. I believe the newer models have to have one by law.
Propane detectors are equally important. Most times your carbon monoxide/propane detector is the same unit. While carbon monoxide has no smell, propane does. There are many fittings located throughout an RV and they can loosen and leak at any time. If you are leaking propane near an open flame or spark, your camping trip (and possibly your life) is over.
You should see a developing pattern here. All 3 of these items I just talked about can be lifesaving. All 3 are inexpensive by comparison to the rest of your RV items but because they are not something that is fun like horseshoes or good to eat like a good steak, they are often ignored. Most people have (or should have) RV maintenance schedules. It would take just a few minutes to add check smoke detector/carbon monoxide/propane detector batteries and expiration dates. Yes, these things have expiration dates!!! Go ahead, add these to your list right now!!!
Did You Add It To Your List? OK, Move On
Ok, now that you have added the above things to your list, what do you do if they go off? If it’s your smoke detector and you see smoke, get yourself and family out immediately and call the fire dept. Use your emergency exits if you have to. If you are at a crowded RV park, alert your neighbors. Just like if you were in sticks and bricks, have a plan. Make sure everyone knows where to meet in case of fire.
Many carbon monoxide/propane detectors go off for unknown reasons. They may temporarily pick up odors that make them sound. If your propane detector goes off and you do not smell propane, it does not necessarily mean you do not have a leak. It might be a good idea to move your family outside if you are unsure. Open the windows and turn off your propane at your tanks. Since your tanks are now closed and windows have been open, if your detector has shut off, you are probably ok to head back inside. Leave your tanks off until you can troubleshoot the problem. If your propane detector keeps going off and you are sure you have no leak, get a qualified RV service tech to check your RV out.
Open The Windows
If it’s a carbon monoxide definitely make sure you open the windows. Take a look around you and see if any other campers are running a generator. Make sure if you are running a generator it is not malfunctioning. If you’re sure it’s a faulty detector, have it checked out as soon as possible. If you or anyone else in your RV are suffering from dizziness, weakness, sleepiness, nausea, muscle twitching, intense headache, or vomiting, seek help immediately.
Most times when these detectors go off they are either malfunctioning or picking up an erroneous odor. With that being said, please don’t assume that is the case automatically. Always troubleshoot the issue immediately or if you can’t. call a qualified service tech. Overreacting? Maybe, but I don’t know about you but I would rather be safe than sorry.
Lastly, I just want to touch base on fire extinguishers. There are many different types of fires and not all fire extinguishers will work on all fires. There are way too many options to discuss when it comes to fire extinguishers so I will briefly discuss the classes and the basic use.
Fire extinguishers come in classes. You have class a, b,c,d, and k. Then there are combinations of those letters.
Class A: Good for fighting fires that involve normal combustibles such as paper, cardboard, and wood
Class B: Good for fighting fires involving flammable liquids such as gasoline, diesel, propane.
Class C: Good for fighting most electrical fires such as machinery, fuse boxes, and wiring. Something to remember with these types of fires is to make sure the power has been shut off.
Class D: Good for combustible metals.
Class K: Good for fighting fires involving cooking grease.
Most RV’s come with A/B/C Fire extinguishers which are a dry chemical extinguisher. They are small in size and should only be used on a small fire that fits in its class. Never try and put out a large fire with your small fire extinguisher.
Pull The Pin And Aim Low
If you do have a small fire and decide to use your ABC extinguisher, pull the pin and aim at the base of the fire.
There are many variables to all the scenarios above. Always familiarize yourself with any equipment, testers, and safety equipment on your RV. Have a plan. Seek out a professional service tech if you are unsure of any problems you have with any of the topics above.
If you have any questions or comments on anything listed above, leave them in the comment section below.