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Old 01-23-2013, 09:30 PM   #1
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Default Think of escape route out of RV

Google searches sometimes turn up odd results. I was searching images for Roadtrek Nissan and saw what looked to be a burnt Sprinter Class B.
I clicked on the photo and it led to an auction site with a lot of salvage vehicles. Fire, flood, roll-overs, collisions etc.

The photo that got my attention was of a 2006 Roadtrek RS Adventurous.

















Propane is often linked to RV fires but there is no propane in the rear corner on the passenger side in that vehicle. I think the coach batteries are located there.

The smoke and heat damage inside is a reminder that we should all think of escape routes to be able to exit the van quickly. If the fire is up front you don't want to block the exit out of the rear for example.
I hope no one was hurt.
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File Type: jpg 2006 Roadtrek fire 9.JPG (84.7 KB, 948 views)
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Most RVs have a pop out window or some sort of escape hatch. I thought that was law.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Google searches sometimes turn up odd results. I was searching images for Roadtrek Nissan and saw what looked to be a burnt Sprinter Class B.
I clicked on the photo and it led to an auction site with a lot of salvage vehicles. Fire, flood, roll-overs, collisions etc.

The photo that got my attention was of a 2006 Roadtrek RS Adventurous.








Propane is often linked to RV fires but there is no propane in the rear corner on the passenger side in that vehicle. I think the coach batteries are located there.

The smoke and heat damage inside is a reminder that we should all think of escape routes to be able to exit the van quickly. If the fire is up front you don't want to block the exit out of the rear for example.
I hope no one was hurt.
Out the front is pretty obvious in most vans, except the driver side door is harder to get to than the other side, especially if the curtains are drawn. The rear doors would probably be the area that you could the most easily mess up, as it can be very easy to cover or block access to the rear door latch, and you have to unlock it (probably) also. On a fixed couch Roadtrek, you have to reach through a hole cut in the wood support, after moving a cushion. We had to be very careful with our full time bed for the same reason. The power sofa we had originally there was very little room to reach the latch.

Probably good to practice in the dark, as I would hate to try to learn how in a dark, on fire, smoky Roadtrek!
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

I used a 6" hole saw to cut an access hole through a rear panel so I can open the rear door on my home-built campervan from the bed area. Exiting that way is still somewhat impeded but I think we could scramble out.
We often carry bikes on back that would block that exit though. I have a hitch extension that I have used before that allows the rears doors to open with the bikes on the rack and should just leave it on whenever we take the bikes. It looks a bit odd with the bikes set far back but it makes sense to have the option of a rear exit.

Can batteries cause a fire like that?
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho62
Most RVs have a pop out window or some sort of escape hatch. I thought that was law.
My Trail-Lite B+ and my Bigfoot Class C both had windows clearly labeled as emergency escape exits. I don't recall having that in my '04 Roadtrek.

Anyone here know if Class B's have a pop out window or escape hatch or are the front, side and rear doors all that is required?
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho62
Most RVs have a pop out window or some sort of escape hatch. I thought that was law.
My Trail-Lite B+ and my Bigfoot Class C both had windows clearly labeled as emergency escape exits. I don't recall having that in my '04 Roadtrek.

Anyone here know if Class B's have a pop out window or escape hatch or are the front, side and rear doors all that is required?
The only Roadtrek I know of that has the pop out rear window is the 200 (really a C) which has no rear doors.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

That van looks like it's in better shape than mine.
Speaking of external rear door obstructions, I have that satellite mount on a standard spare tire hitch mount, and the passenger side door does clear the mount without contacting the hitch mount, if it happened to be left set up over night, as in booster's example. The driver's door will clear it also with minimal contact. There's just enough side to side sway in the hitch mount setup that both doors are fully operational. Some pics to demonstrate....








As for escape hatch windows, mine have the "EXIT" sticker on them, however I'm not sure if I'm supposed to read that as "I'm a window in an exit door, stupid" or as "I'm a window that can be forced open enough that you could crawl through me". I'm not about to try it, but it's possible GM vans come with these stickers. If I remember when I get Drive Clean tested, I'll ask.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

I have never seen another Roadtrek with the EXIT sticker on the rear windowns. Maybe a Canadian thing? The US version usually have screws in the window latches so you can't open them at all.

Do you have any concerns about your dish "walking" away while you are away from the van? I have heard of lots of folks who have lost the freestanding ones.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by booster
I have never seen another Roadtrek with the EXIT sticker on the rear windowns. Maybe a Canadian thing? The US version usually have screws in the window latches so you can't open them at all.

Do you have any concerns about your dish "walking" away while you are away from the van? I have heard of lots of folks who have lost the freestanding ones.
My rear windows still flip open, but don't have any screens to keep bugs out, so they are rarely used as such. The EXIT labels might be Canadian.

Dish walking? Maybe, sorta, kinda, not really. It would be annoying.
The dish parts are fastened in place by the short bolts that came with the dish, but I substituted wing nuts, for ease of setup and tear down. I can now have it set up and aimed in about 15 to 20 minutes. The hitch pin is a stainless steel key lock style. If thieves were able to get the spare tire hitch mount off, they'd deserve to have it.
I had thought about using one nut/bolt in each point of connection, to make it more difficult to steal, but decided the whole rig cost around $200, and could be fairly easily replaced, as the Shaw Direct dishes are fairly easy to find, as are the gray support post, etc. The LNB would be harder to replace. I have marked each piece, so if I were ever ripped off, and spotted a suspiciously similar looking dish at a neighbouring campsite, I could identify my stuff.
Vanadalism is always possible, but I try not to think about it. I never set it up in a non-secure boondock stopover, we just switch to OTA antenna TV in those places. I only set it up in government places like NPS parks, or other commercial campgrounds.
I'm probably more concerned about it falling apart when we drive short distances (sometimes we'll drive to a more secluded area in a NPS park to fire up the generator early in the morning, and brew a pot of coffee) with it still set up. So far, it hasn't budged, and I mark the campsite with stones to try to park in approximately the same position to try to not have to re-aim it. That has also largely been successful. Coffee and TV news to start the day.

Also, (sort of related to satellite stuff) I just got some info from Shaw Direct, that stated clearly that they have no plans to stop the current "home away from home" service they offer, and their 2 original Anik F1R/F2 satellites will remain in place and aimed at all of North America for some time to come. Their recently added G1 satellite will only support any new channels, and it is aimed at "Canada Only". So I was assured that nothing will change for North American TV coverage areas from how it is now.
I mention this because some of you who are Bell ExpressVu customers may have noticed that you can no longer receive satellite signals beyond 100 miles south of the Canada/US border. You may want to look into Shaw Direct, if Canadian TV is something you like to have along in your travels. There is a US option available as well, but it doesn't have much if any Canadian programming.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

The rear door of that Sprinter that had the fire is the rear exit door. It is labeled as such and the handle is accessible and always unlocked. The other exits are up front, either the sliding door or the cab doors.
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:43 PM   #11
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
The rear door of that Sprinter that had the fire is the rear exit door. It is labeled as such and the handle is accessible and always unlocked. The other exits are up front, either the sliding door or the cab doors.
Is that a standard on most/all Sprinters? By MB design, not the conversion company?
That's good to know for anyone considering buying a Sprinter based RV.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

This has been a most useful thread! We are on the road (in NV right now) and we had never attempted to open the rear doors from the inside. I conducted a "fire drill" and found that it is no simple matter to open the doors with the sofa/bed in sofa mode. Will try later when the bed is deployed!
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:17 AM   #13
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
The rear door of that Sprinter that had the fire is the rear exit door. It is labeled as such and the handle is accessible and always unlocked. The other exits are up front, either the sliding door or the cab doors.
Is that a standard on most/all Sprinters? By MB design, not the conversion company?
That's good to know for anyone considering buying a Sprinter based RV.
It is a Mercedes Benz standard if the doors had not been modified.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

That's great info, thanks. I'm sure any folks that are thinking about buying a Sprinter based unit, appreciate knowing about their safety features. It's good general knowledge, in the event you're ever faced with an emergency where a Sprinter is involved.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quanyin
This has been a most useful thread! We are on the road (in NV right now) and we had never attempted to open the rear doors from the inside. I conducted a "fire drill" and found that it is no simple matter to open the doors with the sofa/bed in sofa mode. Will try later when the bed is deployed!
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It's great that you tried it. The risk of something happening is probably very low but we all will have a better chance if we've at least thought about it.

In some Roadtreks you can set up a front bed that would block the passenger front and side door. So think about how to quickly get that mattress out of the way. Also, consider that you might not have any power if it is an electrical fire. Can the sofa move without power? If it can't then you'll know not to waste any time trying that route and would instead exit through a side door no matter what. Cargo carriers are a recurring topic on all Class B related forums. They block the rear doors so, again, you might have to exit through a side door no matter what.

If you unlatch a cargo carrier or pull the pin on a drop down bike rack to allow you to push that item out of the way from inside the van then make a tag and attach it to the steering wheel to remind you to re-latch or re-pin the carrier or rack before driving off!

To me, the fire damage in the photos in the first post of this topic looks to originate at the house batteries. My house batteries are up front and I have propane in the rear so it would be best for me to keep both side and rear exits as options.

I think the Exit sticker on Mike's Roadtrek is for the door. The rear windows on the Roadtrek I had (also Canadian) did not have the screws keeping them shut either but I had guessed it was because I did not have a generator. Mike has a generator. The windows only opened a few inches if I remember correctly.

Your dish setup looks good Mike. I bet you get asked "Where did you get that?"
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

If you have bike racks or cargo carriers you ought to have the swing away kind and have them in the swing away position when in camp. Our cargo carrier is a Gearspace 20 that slides straight out so the back doors will clear and open.

I think the GWVan Sprinter electric sofa can be bypassed and lowered, but in the case of emergency exit they cannot since you have to be outside to disconnect it. I haven't tried it but know you cannot do it from inside. Sportsmobile has a non-electric sofa you set up and down from inside. Truth is, that aspect, in an emergency is moot. Not enough time. When the sofa is down in the bed position the door handle is right in plain sight. When the sofa is up there is clearance to reach behind the sofa back and unlatch the door which means you'd still have to have some physical ability to climb over the sofa back. Once you unlatch the passenger side back door the driver's side back door is free to push open.

There are some Sprinters that have no back door exit such as that new slider LTV Free Spirit and the old Sprinter Airstream Westfalias. I haven't checked but they may have a second escape window but keep in mind those escape windows in all RVs require a lot of physical ability to exit. A lot harder than climbing over a sofa back or a bed set up next to a sliding door.

Sprinters and other Bs with back doors, IMO, are a lot safer than most Class Cs with one door up front and an exit window.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

I agree, this is a very useful thread. Our van, unfortunately, is at its winter storage home right now so I can't check out the rear door situation. If it always opens from the inside, great. But I've been concerned the whole time we have had our van about the side sliding door exit. It's really difficult to get at the lock button and lift it to open the door. We have tried to remember to always hang a set of keys on the hook nearest the door so that the remote entry pushbuttons are available, but for whatever reason I still get confused about which of the three buttons -- 2 small ones and the big one below -- open or lock what. In the dark, in a half asleep state, this would be a major problem! There's also the pushbuttons on the dash, but I'm still getting those mixed up too -- besides which, finding them in the dark would be next to impossible.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:15 AM   #18
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
I think the Exit sticker on Mike's Roadtrek is for the door. The rear windows on the Roadtrek I had (also Canadian) did not have the screws keeping them shut either but I had guessed it was because I did not have a generator. Mike has a generator. The windows only opened a few inches if I remember correctly.

Your dish setup looks good Mike. I bet you get asked "Where did you get that?"
My flip windows open maybe 2", and I have a generator, as you mentioned. Were you thinking the screws were to keep the windows shut to prevent CO poisoning? Possibly.
The satellite setup was conceived in a very warped mind, to match the dish. Updated pics of the real Shaw dish (aka the potato chip) from Grand Canyon South Rim October 2011. Can't remember which loop we were in but the site was picked for it's southern (towards the satellites) exposure. We drove a short distance to the General Store parking area and fired up the genset to make coffee in the mornings, and then back to our site, with the dish set up. They have a quiet time rule from 22:00 to 08:00 if I recall correctly (probably not).

No one asks, but I'm sure some are curious as to what the heck I was thinking.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:29 AM   #19
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

First off, I think this has been a great thread; thanks for starting it Marko, and to all the comments since. Not to belittle getting out of a burning vehicle fast, but another facet of this story is fighting a (small) fire. I felt that the factory supplied 2-1/2 pound B:C fire extinguisher near the side door on our 09/10RTC190P was not enough. Remember that a fire, regardless of what starts it such as electrical or cooking, is liable to involve a wood cabinet, a mattress, bedding, or clothing, which B:C fire extinguishers don't have much effect on. So I've replaced the original with a 2-1/2 pound A:B:C extinguisher in the same location, plus added another 2-1/2 pound A:B:C extinguisher behind the bathroom, under the edge of the bed. Perhaps more importantly, I've also added two Kidde fire blankets: one across from the side door on the outside of storage cabinet door (right next to the stove), and the other one on the outside of the storage cabinet door just aft of the bathroom. They are in small plastic boxes, perhaps 5" x 10", and an inch thick or so. The idea here is to smother the fire before it has a chance to spread AND add lots of heat to whatever is burning; it is this heat that type B:C extinguishers have little effect on, and why after using them on a type A fire, it will flash right back after the extinguisher is emptied. Of course, my new A:B:C extinguishers have pretty limited A capability, but more than nothing ... I don't have experience as a firefighter, and would welcome comments from someone with experience.

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Old 01-27-2013, 11:46 PM   #20
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Default Re: Think of escape route out of RV

Thanks for the info. I went and checked the fire extinguisher I installed in my van. It is 2lbs and rated 1-A, 5-B,C.
Had you not mentioned it the A B C ratings I would not have even known to check.



I might add a second one in the rear too because mine is located near the front.

I like your idea of having Fire Blankets nearby. There would be a lot less mess to clean up compared to using a fire extinguisher if you used one to smother flames on the stove top or out-of-control BBQ

This one is $16 at Home Depot


[youtube:3rmxkzg7]BurzWjyKNrY[/youtube:3rmxkzg7]
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