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Fire Safety and Escape Planning Checklist for RV’s, Vans, Buses, and Nomadic Travelers

Monthly Safety Maintenance

  • Outside of your RV or Vehicle

Check Engine compartment for anomalies (oil leaks, wires that have been chewed on or are frayed)

Check around the engine compartment and under the vehicle for weeds, leaves, rodent nests, etc.

Open every access door and basement compartment that has electrical wiring and look for problems like wires that may have gotten hot and are discolored, disconnected or chewed on by rodents. Fix immediately!

Check the condition of your propane tank(s) and piping system …No rust or dents

Check the shore power cable to see that it is not damaged and is plugged firmly into the outlet

Check your surge detector if you have one. Make sure it is working correctly

Inspect your generator compartment if you have one. Look for oil and fuel leaks, frayed or chewed on wiring and that the area is clean.


  • Inside

Test Smoke, Carbon Monoxide and Propane detectors monthly

Check gauge on you fire extinguisher. It must be in the green…

Test your egress windows to make sure you or anyone traveling with you know how to operate them.

Open access door to appliances and check for dirt, excess dust, insects or discolored or frayed wires. Check that all the wire connections are tight.


Escape planning tips

  • Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your vehicle and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.  Travelers with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.
  • Know how your egress windows work. Test them monthly and if you’re traveling with children make sure they know how to operate them and escape through one.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and in the living area of your RV or vehicle.
  •  When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
  • Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance from your vehicle where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to identify the location of the meeting place every time your move to a new location.
  • If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire or in the event of an emergency.
  • Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately
  • Once you’re out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning RV. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.

Put your plan to the test

  • Practice your fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.
  • Make arrangements in your plan for anyone who has a disability.
  • Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill.
  • It’s important to determine that you can readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm.
  • Always choose the escape route that is safest – the one with the least amount of smoke and heat – but be prepared to escape under toxic smoke if necessary. Practice getting low and going under the smoke to your exit.
  • Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.
  • In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your RV. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice “sealing yourself in for safety” as part of your fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in if available. If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in. Call the fire department to report your exact location. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.
  • If your vehicle does not have egress windows invest in an inexpensive tempered glass escape tool. They are cheap and may save your life. Leave one (hang it on the wall by the window) near the window you select to escape through.

Clear Your Escape Routes

Items that block doors and windows in your home could keep you from escaping in the event of a fire. And that could mean the difference between life and death. So unblock your exits today! Key to your safety is planning and practicing the fire escape plan twice a year. Start by identifying two escape routes out of each room, if possible, then make sure that each of those escape routes can be used safely by everyone.


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