Have you ever been on the highway and come across an RV on fire? It is surprising how many videos there are on YouTube showing just that! People have taken the time to share a horrific event that someone else is experiencing. People usually get out before disaster strikes, but sometimes they don’t!
These types of events happen to all kinds of folks who are trying to enjoy life out on the open road. It could be someone like your parents who have decided to buy an RV and live in it full-time to enjoy their retirement years on the road. Wouldn’t you like to help them to choose an RV that would keep them safe? Of course!
Could helping people travel safely in their RV be the business opportunity you have been looking for? How would it make you feel saving someone from a disaster by identifying the tires are cracked and outdated or finding a gas leak that could destroy the RV in minutes?
What do people do when they are buying a home? What steps do they take to ensure that the home they want to buy is safe to live in? They get a home inspection!
So, when purchasing a used RV, a home on wheels, why would anyone not want it inspected by a certified RV inspector? Could you see yourself helping people be sure they have chosen a safe RV?
RV inspectors verify that all safety systems are functioning as they should. Here are some of the major items that are examined:
- Check the Refrigerator to be sure it will not overheat and cause a fire.
- Check safety alarm devices to be sure they are functioning if a fire should break out, propane starts leaking, or carbon monoxide gas levels become too high. These are life safety issues!
- Verify the tires are safe to travel on. Catastrophic blowouts can lead to disastrous results in a vehicle weighing as much as sixty thousand pounds!
- The integrity of the three electrical systems on the RV! Getting shocked by an RV can kill you instantly. RV’s are like a rolling earthquake! Wire insulation can wear off. Also, previous owners have been known to make unsafe modifications to their RV.
These are just a few of the Life Safety items that you, as an RV inspector, could help people with! Will you join us in our mission? We want to assure RV buyers that they will have safe and worry-free travels!
RV Fire Safety Facts That Could Save a Life!
Courtesy RV Alliance America
At best, a fire in an RV can delay or ruin a vacation. At worst, it can mean injury, financial loss, and even death. Unfortunately, RV fires are one of the largest causes of motorcoach loss in America today. The following tips can help to recognize the most common fire hazards and protect RV owners from damage and injury.
These are just some of the things RV inspectors work to identify in a used RV sale! Why is this so important? Because if issues like these go undiscovered, lives will be lost!
Rubber fuel lines are commonly used to connect metal lines to the electronic fuel injection system or the carburetor in older coaches. All the lines and connections between the fuel tank and the engine should be checked monthly. If there is any sign of a leak, the lines should be replaced, and the entire system should be inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.
A pinhole-sized leak in a radiator or heater hose can spray antifreeze on hot engine parts. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol concentrate and water. When the water boils off, the remaining ethylene glycol can self-ignite at 782 degrees F. During a monthly fire inspection, all hoses should be checked for firmness, clamp tightness, and signs of leaking.
A hard-working engine manifold can get as hot as 900 degrees F. The heavy insulation in the compartment reflects the heat to the top of the engine, and a fire can easily break out. The radiator should be inspected, and any problems should be repaired by a qualified person as soon as possible.
Grease, oil, and road dust build up on the engine and transmission, making them run hotter. The grime itself usually does not burn, but if combined with a fuel leak or short-circuited wire, a fire could start. An RV’s underpinnings should be kept clean! It will run cooler, more economically, and longer.
A dragging brake can create enough friction to ignite a tire or brake fluid. Some of the worst fires are those caused when one tire of a dual or tandem pair goes flat, scuffs, and ignites long before the driver feels any change in handling. At each stop, Tires should at least receive an eyeball check. When tires are cool, the duals can be tapped with a club and observe a difference in sound from one tire to the next. Often it is easy to tell if one is going soft.
SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION can occur in damp charcoal. Charcoal should be fresh, kept dry, and stored it in a covered metal container. Rags soiled with auto wax or cleaners that contain petroleum products or other oil-based cleaning materials can also spontaneously combust if disposed of in a combustible container. Dirty cleaning rags should be stored in a metal container with a lid.
A hot exhaust pipe or catalytic converter can ignite dry grass.
Driving with propane on can add to the danger if the RV is involved in an accident or have a fire. Most refrigerators keep food cold or frozen for eight hours without running while traveling. Shut the propane off at the tank.
If an RV is stored, the flue should be checked before starting the refrigerator on propane. Birds and insects can build nests and clog the flue, causing a fire or excess carbon monoxide to enter the RV.
Batteries produce explosive gasses. Flames, cigarettes, and sparks should be kept away from them. The battery compartment should be properly vented. Vent caps should be kept tight and level. Batteries should be checked monthly. Swollen batteries should be replaced immediately. Extreme care should be taken when handling batteries — they can explode.
A capable RV electrician should service any wiring that needs attention in an RV and common sense used in any electrical aid. All 12-volt connections should be checked before and after every trip. Most coach fires are caused by a 12-volt short.
Gasoline and propane can pose an immediate, explosive danger. Though diesel fuel is less volatile, it dissipates more slowly, so it remains a danger longer. Any leaks or spills should be dealt with immediately. All fuels should be used in adequately ventilated areas.
Even if the flame in a galley stove goes out, gas continues to flow and could result in an explosion. A stove should never be left unattended or used to heat an RV. Open propane flames release high levels of carbon monoxide.
In a compact galley, all combustibles — from paper towels to curtains — are apt to be closer to the stove. Greater caution should be observed in an RV than at home. A box of baking soda — the ingredient in powder extinguishers — can be used in lieu of a fire extinguisher for minor galley flare-ups.
A plan of action should be developed before a fire occurs.
All travelers should know what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it. Smoke detectors should be tested regularly.
Two escape routes should be planned — one in the front and one in the rear of the RV. As soon as they’re old enough, children should be taught to open hatches and emergency exits.
Three fire extinguishers should be in an RV — one in the galley, one in the bedroom, and one outside of the RV in an unlocked compartment or the tow vehicle. Family members should know how to use the extinguishers and understand which extinguishers are effective on various fires.
Deadly, invisible, odorless CO usually results from exhaust leaks or misuse of heating devices. A CO detector should be located in the bedroom. The proper location is on the ceiling or an inside wall at least eight inches from the ceiling and at least four feet from the floor.
Liquid petroleum gas, like gasoline fumes, tends to pool in low spots in the RV until a spark sets it off. Newer motorhomes are equipped with an automatic shut-off when its sensor detects an LPG leak. If a leak is noticed, the propane should be shut off at the tank.
The first rule of RV firefighting is to save lives first and property second. Everyone should get to safety before any attempt to extinguish a fire is made. Only if the fire can be fought without endangering lives should firefighting aids be used!
A quick disconnect fitting on the water hookup can assist in unhooking the water to fight a fire at the campsite instantly. If a nearby RV is burning and the RV cannot be moved, but one can safely stay close enough to keep it hosed down, it may be able to be saved.
Would you consider helping unknowing RVers be safe on the road? Training courses are available to help educate you so you can start your RV inspection business. Help save lives and ensure that people enjoy the RV lifestyle safely!