Friday, December 17, 2010

Fire Safety and RV’s

RVs which stand for Recreational Vehicles, the name itself tells the whole thing i.e. RVs are meant for recreational purposes. But have we ever thought about things that deal with the safety of the RVs. Most RVs whether it be small or big, or any type are pretty sophisticated when it comes to safety devices and are equipped with state of the art devices to ensure the safety of the passengers. So, every owner of the RV should know what they are and how to use them in case of an emergency. Some of them are for fire safety too. 

There are 4 common types of fire safety devices or extinguishers available i.e. A, B, C & D. Every alphabet represents an extinguisher for specific kind of a fire. But it is not unusual to find an extinguisher which as ratings like AB or BC or even ABC. What this signifies is that one kind of extinguisher can be used to extinguish the fires of other types. The NFPA requires that all RV’s have a BC rated extinguisher near the key exit. These types of extinguishers are primarily used to extinguish fires that are caused by liquids which are combustive in nature and also gases like oil, gasoline and grease. A BC type can also be used to extinguish electrical fires. 

Most fires that breakout in the RVs are type A which are mainly caused due to combustive materials like paper for instance which means it would need a extinguisher of Type A to extinguish the fire. But, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you have more than one kind of fire extinguisher in the RV, preferably a BC type. Also, it would be a nice idea to keep the extinguisher as handy as possible so that if a fire breaks out it is very easy to find. Also, if one is towing a trailer it is a good idea to have a BC type extinguisher handy. 

But, would keeping these extinguishers in the RV alone serve the purpose? The answer is no. Unless and until one doesn’t have the correct knowledge of which extinguisher is used for which type of fire they serve no purpose. So, one should for what type of fire a particular type of extinguisher is used and also let everyone know in the RV about it. It is a good idea to have an orientation before starting the journey to let everybody know about its usage and location in case of an emergency. Labeling the extinguishers A or B or C or D is outdated and one should have a picture showing what kind of fire it may be used for. If is used to extinguish multiple kinds of fires then it should have the pictures for all types. It should also have a picture with a diagonal line indicating for which kind of fire it shouldn’t be used. After everybody learns about various kinds of extinguishers they should be trained to use the extinguisher properly.  

Although there are many kinds of extinguishers, they more or less work in the same fashion. The most important thing is to remember “PASS” which is an abbreviation of Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep. Pull means, you have to pull the pin that is located right extinguisher’s top.  Aim means, to aim extinguisher’s nozzle on fire’s base. The next command Squeeze means, squeezing the handle standing about eight feet away from the blaze. One should free the handle if one wants to stop. The last command, Sweep, is to extinguish the fire by sweeping the extinguisher across the fire until it is extinguished. Remember to wait and see to make sure that it doesn’t get reignited again. Also, the foremost thing to remember is the self safety and other’s safety and it shouldn’t be risked in the course of extinguishing a fire. The wisest thing would be to take everyone out and away from fire. Then the immediate step to take is to call 911 at the earliest.  

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