4 RV Safety Appliances You Hope You’ll Never Need

Camping is fun. The pleasure of camping depends on safety. Here are 4 RV safety appliances that will help ensure your good times are not marred by injury or tragedy.

There is nothing like getting out and enjoying nature. These trips are times for family and friends to get together and enjoy the finest things of life. These adventures provide a treasure chest of memories.

The contemporary RV is truly a marvel of technology. Space age materials and modern designs combine to give campers a great deal of creature comfort in a small space.

You are probably aware that the typical RV is made of combustible materials and often carries highly flammable LP gas. Although RV fires are rare, you should give yourself and your family every opportunity to escape.

In this article, we are going to look at four appliances no RV should be without.

The 4 RV Safety Appliances are:

  • Smoke Detector
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector
  • Liquid Propane (LP) Gas Detector
  • Fire Extinguisher

Many RVs come from the factory with some of all of these installed. You really need ALL of them. The good news is these devices are inexpensive as well as easy to install and maintain.

The Smoke Detector – Early Warning of a Potential Disaster

Go to YouTube, search for “RV fire”. Watch a few videos. This should convince you of the absolute necessity of having a functioning smoke detector in your RV.

Smoke detectors are inexpensive with typical prices ranging from $10 to $30. Make sure your detector has a fresh, 4 RV safety appliancesworking battery. Test it often. Install fresh batteries if you rig has been in storage for a while.

Maintain your smoke detector by periodically cleaning the dust out of it. The effectiveness of a smoke detector diminishes over time. You will need to replace it eventually. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacement.

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The Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector – Disarming the Silent Killer

Several of your RVs appliances emit CO gas. CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. When it is concentrated in the atmosphere, it causes asphyxiation, CO replaces the oxygen in the blood and deprives your vital organs. CO can be lethal.

Your RV furnace, gas oven, hot water heater, generator, and refrigerator may all emit CO gas. Proper venting usually keeps this harmful gas away from those in the RV. Vents can fail. Appliances can fail. A CO detector will alert you of dangerous concentrations of CO.

CO detectors are also inexpensive and easy to install and maintain. They can be purchased at the same places where you can purchase a smoke detector. There are combination Smoke / CO Detectors. This might be a good option and save you money if you need to install both.

The Liquid Propane (LP) Gas Detector

Your furnace, stove, oven all may use LP gas. This gas provides efficient, reliable fuel for these appliances. LP gas is odorless, but the companies that sell the gas add a chemical to give it an odor. LP is heavier than air. It tends to collect down at floor level. This means you could have a high concentration of LP before you are aware there is a leak.

LP gas is highly combustible. An LP gas leak could lead to a fire or an explosion. If you have an LP leak, you need to know immediately.

Like the other RV safety appliances, LP gas detectors are inexpensive ($40 – $50), easy to install and maintain. Because LP gas is heavier than air, LP gas detectors should be mounted near floor level. Always read and follow manufacturer recommendations.
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Fire Extinguisher

Perhaps the most common of the RV safety appliances is the fire extinguisher. Most RVs are sold with a fire extinguisher already installed. In some states, RVs are required to have fire extinguishers4 RV safety appliances. Just because your RV has a fire extinguisher, does not mean that it works. You need to periodically check them. If your fire extinguisher is out-of-date, replace it.

Buy a fire extinguisher that can extinguish class A, B, and C fires. This type of extinguisher typically uses a chemical powder as its extinguishing agent. ABC extinguisher prices range from $50 – $70. They can be purchased from fire extinguisher dealers or online.
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There are some things you should keep in mind. Keep your fire extinguisher where you can get to it easily. Many RVs have a storage nook just for the fire extinguisher. Know the dimensions of your extinguisher canister. That way when you replace it, you can order one that will fit in the nook.

Do not block your extinguisher. Most campers come with little storage space. It is not unusual to have boxes and bags of things on the floor. Don’t block the extinguisher. You don’t know when you are going to need it.

Learn how to use your extinguisher. It does you no good to have an extinguisher if you do not know the proper procedure for extinguishing a blaze. Fire spreads quickly. As a rule of thumb, the volume of fire doubles every thirty seconds. If you have a fire, you must take immediate action.

Many of the camping clubs offer classes on fire safety. Your local fire department may also offer training on the use of fire extinguishers.

If the fire gets into the structure of your rig, knock the flames down, get out and stay out. RVs are made from materials that give off highly toxic fumes when burning. Your rig can be replaced, you and your loved ones can not.

Have an escape plan. Know how to use the escape hatch(es). Designate a meeting place. If you have an emergency where fast escape is the only option, having a meeting place will assure you that everyone has gotten out safely.

Preparing for the Unexpected Gives You Peace of Mind

Chances are you will never experience an emergency like the ones described in this article. Your camping adventures will be what they should be, a fun time away. A properly maintained RV, should never have a fire, a propane leak, or a harmful build-up of carbon monoxide.

If the unexpected does happen, you will be glad you were prepared. With these RV safety appliances, you experience one of camping’s finest blessings. You can relax.

Happy Camping





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Camper Joe


  1. Excellent information. I have a pull behind trailer and I only have a smoke detector. Looks like I have some shopping to do. Do you have all this equipment? Thanks for the tips

    • Thank you, Bill. Finances and job realities forced us to sell our rig, a large pop-up, a few years ago. We are just now getting to the spot where we feel we can get back into the RV market. My wife and I both have a love for the outdoors and camping. Our rig had a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher.

      If your rig does not have an LP tank, you probably don’t need the LP detector, if you are not operating an LP stove, heater or storing LP canisters inside. The small LP canisters count. The detectors are inexpensive. You can buy combined smoke/CO or LP/CO detectors and get two for one. If you get the LP/CO detector, you mount it low. Tests have shown the CO detector is still effective. You can buy everything I mentioned in the article for less than $200.

      – Joe

  2. Great post. It is always good to be prepared in case that something will happen. I also have only a smoke detector, but for some time I’ve been thinking about acquiring a fire extinguisher as well. Are there more than 1 company that creates fire extinguishers? I know it sounds a lil’ silly… 😀 However, if there are, what company would you advise us to purchase from?

    • Thank you, Andrei. Our current fire extinguisher is a Kidde ABC dry powder extinguisher. You can find fire extinguishers made by Kidde, First Alert, and several other fine companies. You can buy them at Hardware Stores, Home Centers, large retailers, like Wal-Mart, and Amazon. They are not expensive. The important thing is that you know how to use it. I hope you never have a fire, but if you do, improperly attacking the fire with your extinguisher may actually spread it. Having a fire extinguisher and knowing how to use it can prevent thousands of dollars in property damage, and even more important, save lives.

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