RVFor most Americans, traveling to other places is appealing. Although you leave the comforts of your home, the excitement of seeing another place is worth it. During the Memorial Day weekend, a number of people opted to go camping and be close to nature. Stargazing becomes more comfortable when you have complete amenities of a good home with you: a soft bed, functional kitchen, well-stocked refrigerator, and all gear essential for the enjoyable days in the wilds. This is all possible when you travel using a recreational vehicle (RV). This type of vehicle is also called a motorhome and, as the name suggests, it is a home on wheels.

According to Smithsonian.com, RVs have been traversing America since the time automobiles existed. In fact, RVs celebrated their centennial last 2010 and became the top choice for people who want the whole family to gain satisfaction from camping and travels.

It is estimated by Recreational Vehicle Industry Association that there are about 8.2 million US households that own their own RVs. A 2005 Michigan study revealed that RV owners travel for 26 days and an average of 4,500 miles annually.
For some retirees, recreational vehicles have become permanent homes. These people sell their homes in order to purchase well-equipped RVs that will allow them to go to places with warmer climates, get close to nature and see new places in a comfortable way.

Managing a recreational vehicle is easy nowadays with the available technology and safety gadgets. Yet, there are things that should be always in the forefront in RV safety. Just this Sunday, May 26, 2013, KSL reported that a family, out for Memorial Day weekend fun, lost tens of thousands of dollars of recreational vehicles in a roadside fire.

According to the report, the fire broke out in a 20 foot enclosed utility trailer at about 7 p.m. on S.R. 36. Fortunately, passengers were able to detach the trailer from the motor home that was hauling it and get to safety.
The trailer was fully engulfed by the time fire officials arrived. The trailer and its contents were a complete loss, including one side-by-side utility vehicle, two ATVs, and three motorcycles, plus all the required riding gear. The fire may have started due to either a gas leak or heat build-up inside the utility trailer, according to Lt. Corey Nye of the Utah Highway Patrol.

What are the precautionary measures RV owners must observe before taking a trip? Fire fighters provided the following guidelines:

1.  When travelling in an RV, it’s crucial to know your location so emergency responders can find you in the event of an emergency. Be aware of your location and surroundings.

2.  Confirm the local emergency numbers for police, fire and ambulance – is 911 service available in the area? If it isn’t, consider traveling somewhere else.

3.  Most campgrounds are in more remote areas that may not provide cell phone coverage. Check your cell phone coverage.

4.  When vacationing in an isolated area, keep in mind that help from emergency services may be some distance away. It’s vitally important that you eliminate your risk from fire and have a fire escape plan in place that everyone is familiar with and has practiced. Have at least two escape routes – one in the front and one in the rear of the RV.

Test all escape windows, hatches and door latches for smooth operation and keep all escape windows, hatches and doors clear of any obstructions. As soon as they are old enough, teach children how to open escape hatches and emergency exits and have them practice.

5.  The first rule of RV fire fighting is to save lives first and property second. Get yourself and your family to safety before attempting to extinguish any fire. Only if you can do so without endangering yourself or others should you use fire fighting aids on hand. Re-emphasize to everyone aboard that objects can be replaced, people can’t! Never re-enter a burning RV to retrieve anything – GET OUT & STAY OUT!

6.  Install and maintain at least one smoke alarm in your RV near the sleeping area.

7.  Install a propane leak alarm at floor level, no more than 6 inches above the floor or lowest level to alert you in the event of a propane leak. Propane gas, like gasoline fumes, tends to pool in low-lying spots and even a small spark can ignite it. If you have a leak, immediately evacuate the area and shut off the propane at the tank, if it is safe to do so.
Before making that trip, ensure that alarms and devices are working properly.

If you been a victim of a device or vehicle malfunction due to manufacturing defects, contact Christensen & Hymas at
(801)506-0800 for a free consultation.

Image copy right of Glen.