RV Fire Safety Device Information
By Mark Polk
Every RVer should know what safety devices are available on their RV and understand how to use them. Most RVs regardless of what type or what size it is will come equipped with several safety devices. There are four different types, or classes of fire extinguishers, A, B, C, and D, and each type is for a specific type of fire. Some fire extinguishers have multi class ratings like, AB, BC or ABC which means one fire extinguisher can be used to put out different types of fires. The National Fire Protection Agency rules that RV’s must have a “BC” rated fire extinguisher near the exit. “BC” rated fire extinguishers are used for flammable liquids and gasses like grease, gasoline and oil, and for electrical fires. Many RV fires that happen inside an RV are type A fires caused by common combustibles like paper, and they require a type A fire extinguisher to put them out. This is why, in my opinion you need more than one fire extinguisher for your RV. It’s a good idea to keep a BC type fire extinguisher in an outside storage compartment where it is easily accessible. You should also keep a BC type fire extinguisher inside the RV and keep an A type fire extinguisher inside the RV. If you tow a trailer keep a BC type fire extinguisher in the tow vehicle too. Having these fire extinguishers available is a great idea but they are worthless if you and the other people traveling in the RV don’t know what type of fire they are used for and how to properly use them. Get everybody who will be in the RV together, and make sure they understand the different types of fire extinguishers you have and where they are located in the event of an emergency. The old style labeling for fire extinguishers, to designate what type of fire they are used for was with the letter A, B, C or D
Newer style labeling for fire extinguishers includes a picture designating the type of fire it is used for.
If it can be used for multiple types of fires it will show the pictures for the types of fires it can be used for and it will have a red diagonal line through the picture of what it cannot be used for.
Once everybody understands the different types of fire extinguishers the next step is to teach everybody how to properly use a fire extinguisher. There are different types and sizes of fire extinguishers, but for the most part they all work the same way. Teach everybody to remember the word PASS. This is an easy way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher, especially during an emergency. PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep. Pull the pin located at the top of the fire extinguisher. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. Squeeze the handle, standing approximately 8 feet away from the fire. Release the handle if you want it to stop. Sweep the nozzle back and forth at the base of the fire until it is out. Observe the fire to make sure it does not re-ignite. Most important, do not risk your personal safety, or the safety of others, attempting to put a fire out. The first step is to get everybody out of the RV and away from the fire safely. Have somebody call 911 for help, and if you can’t extinguish the fire within the first minute or so let the professionals put it out.
Happy Camping! Mark
Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk, owner of RV Education 101
RV Expert Mark Polk, seen on TV, is the producer & host of America's most highly regarded series of DVD's, videos, books, and e-books. Sign up for your free "RV Education 101" Newsletter rveducation101.com/email/
Mark Polk is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Three, specializing in wheeled and track vehicle fleet maintenance operations. Polk owns and operates RV Education 101, (based in North Carolina) since 1999, and also has an extensive RV background working in RV service, sales and management. Polk has a degree in Industrial Management Technology with 30 plus years of experience in maintenance includes working as an RV technician, a wheeled vehicle and power generation mechanic, an automotive maintenance technician, Battalion and Brigade level Maintenance Officer, an RV sales manager and also in the RV financing department as the Finance & Insurance manager. www.rveducation101.com/
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