Of all the things that can go wrong with an RV, a fire is, by far, the most terrifying! If you do a google search for “RV Fire”, you'll get all kinds of horror stories and see a screen full of horrible images. Every RV is made from materials that are very combustible and can go up in flames very quickly. Preparedness is the key to stopping and maybe escaping an RV fire.
Our RV came with two fire extinguishers: a very tiny “kitchen” extinguisher by the main entrance, and a slightly larger one in the garage (office). We knew immediately that this was not enough, so we purchased more.
Fire extinguishers all have indicators showing what type of fire they are designed to put out:
- A – Solids / Combustibles: wood, paper, fabric, etc.
- B – Liquids: gasoline, kerosine, oil, etc.
- C – Electrical
- D – Metals: Magnesium, etc.
- K – Commercial deep fryers
An ABC extinguisher is the most versatile. The last thing you want in a fire is to be trying to find the right extinguisher. The tiny “kitchen” extinguisher by our front door was only a BC type. We now have six ABC type extinguishers total:
- Truck – 4lb (amzn.to/31RC6vr)
- RV Basement Driver Side and Passenger sides – 4lb (amzn.to/31RC6vr)
- RV Bedroom, Living Room / Kitchen, and Office / Garage – amzn.to/2Vs9RBf
We feel that having am ABC fire extinguisher in every room is very important!
Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
What good is a fire extinguisher if it doesn't work when you need it to? Every fire extinguisher will have its maintenance requirements printed on the side of the bottle. Read and follow them! Most will indicate once a month for inspection and maintenance. However, for RVs, we recommend inspection every time you set up camp. Maybe also turn them over a few times to loosen the contents which will settle under normal circumstances, but might get compacted by RV travel.
Consult your fire extinguisher manufacturer's web site for more information on the longevity of your unit. Generally, the disposable extinguishers are good for 12 years and the rechargeable are good for 6 years.
Excellent note from a viewer: Don't shake them upside down to unsettle the powder. Angle the top down about 20° below level and roll it, until you feel the powder moves around. If you shake upside down the powder may be packed into the tube inside and render it useless at the time its needed.-Hoss (youtube)
Fire / Smoke Detection
Just like any home smoke detector you want to test them periodically based on the manufacturer's recommendation. You might also want to add detectors so that every room is covered. We have a detector located in the “hallway” between our bedroom and living room, but if the bedroom door is closed, that detector is isolated. So, we added one to our bedroom. In addition to that, we replaced our stock detectors with first alert zwave smoke and CO detectors (amzn.to/35aPTiK) that integrate into our ring alarm system (youtu.be/f-cWvMqnU9g).
Every RV will be different in this regard. However, every RV, by law, has to have a means of escape in each room. Generally, this will be some kind of push out window. In some Class A's, this can be behind the master bed like we saw in our tour of the Tiffin Bus (youtu.be/QSKcSuzSYl8).
Know where the are and how to use them! When you have guests staying with you, make sure they also have this information.
Automatic Fire Suppression | THIA by Proteng
What about a fire that starts when you're not in your RV? What if your pets are inside? Barring some miracle, if a fire starts in your RV while it's unattended, the RV and everything inside are going to be a total loss very quickly.
After lots of research on automatic fire suppression options, we landed on a product called THIA by Proteng. THIA stands for Tube + Heat = Instant Action. All of the other options we found while researching this topic had a similar flaw: a single point of detection and discharge of the fire retardant. Certainly, one of these solutions is better than no solution at all. But, the thing we really liked about Proteng is that the whole device is a tube capable of detection and discharge anywhere along the tube. Wherever this tube is hottest is where the system releases the FM-200 gas to put out the fire.
Seeing the demo with our own eyes was amazing and sealed the deal. The liquid in the tube turns to a gas instantly! It sounds like an explosion and puts out the fire instantly!
We want to be clear on this: Proteng does not guarantee to put out any and all fires. It's designed for small enclosed spaces where the FM-200 can be the most effective. This would be some of the most likely causes of RV fires like the refrigerator, water heater, electrical areas, etc. In our opinion, it's the best defense against a fire that happens in one of these areas. It's certainly better than no protection at all!
If you would like more information on Proteng, visit changinglanesrv.com/proteng and fill out the contact form or call the number. Proteng is only available through their distribution / installer network, or on site in Jupiter, Florida. If you have any trouble getting information, please contact us (changinglanesrv.com/contact-us/), and we'll get you into the right hands.
We do not have any type of affiliation or relationship with Proteng, but please let them know Changing Lanes sent you.
Check your extinguishers, make sure you have enough of them. Know your fire escapes. Check and maintain your smoke detectors. Those things alone might save your RV and/or your life! If you full time, seriously consider an automatic fire suppression system like Proteng. Hopefully, you will never need any of it.
- THIA by PROTENG! – changinglanesrv.com/proteng (Use the Contact Form or Phone number – Please tell them we sent you! ? )
- 20,000 RV Fires Annually – www.nps.gov/articles/p52-rv-fire-safety-101.htm
- Kidde Recall: www.kidde.com/home-safety/en/us/support/product-alerts/recall-kidde-fire-extinguisher/
- Proteng Demo 1: youtu.be/gs7-XlevHxk
- Proteng Demo 2: youtu.be/ybGeT5ju7Sk
- Proteng Demo 3: youtu.be/ae4NzYfW5Xo
- GasStop Demo: changinglanesrv.com/gasstop-automatic-propane-shut-off/
- 4lb ABC Fire Extinguisher (the larger ones we have in the truck and RV basement): amzn.to/2AJ6lZB
- Standard Home Extinguisher (each room of the RV): amzn.to/2Ip1q48
- First Alert Z-Wave Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detector: amzn.to/35aPTiK
- GasStop: changinglanesrv.com/GasStop
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Every product we recommend, we use ourselves.