When it comes to safety and fire safety, in particular, preparedness is vital. This is doubly important in an RV, where space is limited, and escape routes are few. With their combination of living spaces, cooking facilities, and propane-powered appliances, RVs pose unique fire safety risks. One essential component of fire safety is having the proper fire extinguisher on hand.
Not all fire extinguishers are created equal
It’s important to understand that not all fire extinguishers are created equal. Fire extinguishers are classified into types (A, B, C, D, and K) based on the types of fires they are designed to fight. Type A is for ordinary combustibles like wood and paper, B is for flammable liquids like grease or gasoline, C is for electrical fires, D is for metal fires, and K is for kitchen fires. That’s a lot of different fire extinguishers—too many to carry unless you plan on using them in your evening campfire juggling act.
A multipurpose extinguisher like an ABC type is most suitable for an RV, where multiple types of fires can occur.
The ABC fire extinguisher can tackle most fires in an RV, including those caused by cooking mishaps, electrical malfunctions, or flammable liquids. It is important to note that fire extinguishers are also rated based on their capacity to extinguish fires. For example, a 1A:10B:C extinguisher with a capacity of 2.5 lbs. is less potent than a 3A:40B:C with 5 lbs. capacity; the latter has four times the capacity (40B vs. 10B). For an RV, a compact yet robust extinguisher, such as a 2A:10B:C model, offers a good balance of size and power.
Know how to use your fire extinguisher
However, simply having a fire extinguisher isn’t enough. Knowing how to use it is critical. Everyone in the RV should be familiar with the PASS method: Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever, and Sweep from side to side. Regularly inspect the extinguisher for any signs of damage and ensure it is within its expiration date.
Placement of fire extinguishers in RVs
Placement of the fire extinguisher in your RV is another critical consideration. It should be in an easily accessible place, away from potential fire sources like the stove or heating appliances. A good spot could be near the exit door, allowing easy access even in an emergency.
While a fire extinguisher is vital, it should be part of a larger fire safety plan. Regularly check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and ensure everyone knows what to do in case of a fire. Safety should always be the priority, and evacuate the RV immediately in the event of a fire. Here at RVtravel.com, we have regularly published stories and videos about the astonishing speed with which an RV fire will grow and spread due to liquid fuels, flammable construction materials, upholstery, etc.
An RV safety essential
An appropriately rated, well-maintained fire extinguisher, correctly located, is essential to RV safety. It is necessary to check the availability and serviceability of extinguishers before the start of the camping season and before every trip. Once a fire has started is not the time to find that your extinguishers have already been depleted or are expired. Coupled with good practices and awareness, it significantly reduces the risk of a fire becoming a disaster. So, enjoy your RV adventures, but remember—safety first!
Thank you, Randall!
We saw a product at an RV rally that you install or place in an area of high risk for fire – such as behind refrigerator, stove, furnace, battery compartment or water heater.
When temperature reaches a certain point, the product basically explodes and sprays a fire suppression agent all over. Seems like a great safety feature to have. We haven’t installed them yet but are considering.
When I was a kid, we had CO2 fire extinguishers. They didn’t make a huge mess, they chilled whatever was burning, and seemed to work on about anything. Whatever happened to them? That was before political correctness was invented.
They are still around. Costly and very heavy compared to dry chemical extinguishers. And since CO2 extinguishers are high pressure vessels, they are subject to periodic hydrostatic pressure testing. Must be refilled by certified professionals with the proper equipment. They won’t be found at the local Walmart store, but a fire extinguisher business should be able to supply and service them. Possibly a welding gas supplier also, but I have never checked.
Happened to be campground neighbors (in Missouri) to a Fire Chief and his Mrs. he told us everything about which kind and how many and where to store the ABC type fire extinguishers, We have a fifth wheel so…one at the door (manuf provided), one in the bedroom closet and one in the tow vehicle! Thats what we carry and fortunately we havent needed them!
Aren’t extinguishers provided, come with your RV, TT, Fiver? They have two different types, are you saying to replace those?
There are two types of dry chemical fire extinguishers that can carried in an RV, as long as either is at least 5 pounds or more. The ABC and the BC rated fire extinguisher. The ABC extinguisher also works on common combustibles like wood and paper, however, the ABC dry chemical is more corrosive than the BC dry chemical. I prefer to put the fire out, but not replace items damaged by the dry chemical I can throw water on. And most fires if not extinguished when small, will not be stopped. Carry as many, and as many different types of extinguishers as long as having at least one rated at 5 pounds or more to be legal.
If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher like most of the ones shown be sure every night that you travel you take that fire extinguisher hold it upside down and bang it. This will loosen the powder inside that has packed down and becomes unusable in a fire. I thank Mac the fire guy for this useful piece of information
Excellent point. Thanks!