Many families will celebrate the upcoming 4th of July holiday in an RV. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, the purchase and use of recreational vehicles has increased significantly.
There was approximately a 7% increase in new campers in the U.S. during 2020. People changed their plans to fly or travel abroad and chose to either rent or purchase an RV and go out and explore the outdoors through camping. According to the National Park Service:
- Recreational vehicles include everything from folding camping trailers to truck campers to luxury motor homes
- Eight million U.S. households own at least one RV.
- RVs travel an average of 4,500 miles each year
Whether you are heading out to the campsite, traveling cross-country over the 4th of July holiday or living in a recreational vehicle (RV), it’s important to know about fire safety in these movable structures.
Recreational vehicle fires
According to the United States Fire Administration, from 2018 to 2020, there were an estimated average of 12,600 RV fires reported to fire departments each year. July is the peak month for these fires. They resulted in approximately 15 deaths, 125 injuries and more than $60 million in property loss.
E.S.C.A.P.E. Fire Safety shares these life-saving tips for the RV user
- Check propane supply lines for kinks or damage; Test all fitting connections with a gas leak detection device
- Turn off propane at the tank and turn off all propane-powered appliances while driving
- Make sure generator exhaust is pointed away and downwind of the RV
- Stay in the cooking area when preparing food. If you leave, turn off the burner
- Have a portable fire extinguisher on board that you can easily reach; Adults should take a brief training course on how to properly use an extinguisher. Remember the acronym PASS — Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep
- Keep doors and windows clear for escape and make sure they open easily Practice a fire escape plan with everyone staying in the RV
- Don’t overload the electrical outlets; Using too many electrical appliances at the same time can cause a fire
- Have a trained technician thoroughly inspect your RV at least once a year