RV Fires and CO Poisoning: What You Need to Know Before Hitting the Road for Camping Season


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CHICAGO, IL – As the camping season kicks off, the Illinois State Fire Marshal is reminding residents of the fire and carbon monoxide (CO) hazards present in recreational vehicles (RVs) and campers. 

Between 2018 and 2020, an estimated average of 4,200 RV fires were reported to U.S. fire departments each year, causing an estimated 15 deaths, 125 injuries, and $60,300,000 in property loss. Most of these fires occur between the hours of 2 and 3 p.m., during the months of May through August, and on Fridays and Saturdays.

CO is an odorless, tasteless, and invisible killer that can build up quickly in the small area of an RV, causing severe illness or death. Improper use of generators and malfunctioning gas-fed appliances are the leading causes of CO poisoning. Therefore, it is crucial to check propane supply lines for kinks or damage and ensure generator exhaust is pointed away and downwind of the RV.

Other life-saving tips for RV users include staying in the cooking area when preparing food, keeping electrical outlets from overloading, and having a portable fire extinguisher on board. RVs should also have working CO and smoke alarms installed inside to alert users of potential hazards, which should be tested every month.

Lastly, it is essential to have a trained technician thoroughly inspect the RV at least once a year to ensure it is in safe operating condition.

By following these safety tips, RV users can enjoy their camping season while minimizing the risk of fire or CO poisoning.


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