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Old 04-28-2015, 10:56 AM   #1
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Airstream fires?

How bad are fires in a airstream.were moving in and I need safety advice
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:03 AM   #2
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Let's put it this way.... you're not gonna simply kick-out the walls to escape from a fire like you can the SOB's.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:24 AM   #3
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Better have a fire extinguisher just in case. Most rear windows are designed as escape hatches.
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:49 AM   #4
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Fire safety is a genuine concern in any home, regardless of it's mobile nature or not. Get a smoke detector and a good Halon Gas fire extinguisher.
Air Stream trailers are perhaps a little less likely to catch fire do to the aluminum inside skins. However there are plenty of combustable inside like curtains, cabinets, bedding, etc. Practice fire safety! Think before you put a portable heater next to a cabinet or bedding. Don't place candles to close to curtains.
You can also have the gas line and fittings pressure tested for leaks. That should be done every year as they can shake loose during travel.


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Old 04-28-2015, 12:33 PM   #5
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Let's put it this way.... you're not gonna simply kick-out the walls to escape from a fire like you can the SOB's.
A presumptuous statement. Many SOB's are clad in 0.040" aluminum or fiberglass. No easy task.
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Old 04-28-2015, 03:29 PM   #6
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RV fires are rare, and it generally takes an act of negligence to start one, so I don't want my post to alarm anyone. But having been a safety coordinator at work, and having been trained on how to design fire protection systems as a mechanical engineer, it's a subject I take a personal interest in. But I am not a professional firefighter or investigator, so my knowledge is (mostly) academic.

The first step is fire prevention. Which comes down to basic housekeeping and common sense since most of the furniture is built in. The main things are to make sure you don't store burnables next to the furnace or stove, and that you keep your paths to the exits clear. And if you smoke, make your trailer a non-smoking trailer and step outside to light up. Residue from smoking accounts for a lot of fires.

The next step is fire detection. LPG detector, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector. Have them, and make sure they all work.

The third step is fire evacuation. Know where every exit is in your Airstream, and how to get to that exit in the dark, crawling on the floor (just for fun, try crawling from your bed to the nearest exit— and opening it— with your eyes closed. It ain't always easy).

The fourth step is fire fighting. Make sure your fire extinguisher is next to an exit, because you always fight a fire from the outside in, so that the fire can't stop you from getting back out if you can't put it out. If you want to fight a fire, get out first, turn off the propane at the cylinders, and then come back in with an extinguisher. Never have a fire at your back.

Most RVs, Airstreams included, have small extinguishers that are okay for handling burning grease on a stove or other small fires, but aren't big enough to handle any major firefighting. If the fire is too big to be handled by a single extinguisher, let it burn, and evacuate toward the rear of the trailer so you're as far from the propane cylinders as possible. And if you have a chance, get training on how to use an extinguisher. Some fire departments offer such training, and even if they don't offer regular classes, stop by your local firehouse and ask if they'll train you. I doubt they'll refuse. Also, make sure your extinguisher is inspected regularly. Another good reason to stop by the firehouse.

Oh, before I forget… Every propane cylinder has a pressure relief valve near the top. Make sure it's pointed away from your trailer. If the front end of your trailer catches fire, the propane cylinders will get hot. Which will cause the propane inside to expand and cause the pressure relief valve to pop open. You do not want the propane escaping from the pressure relief valve to be spewing toward the fire! I saw a video once of a (non-Airstream) trailer that caught fire. The propane cylinder's pressure relief valve opened due to the heat, the escaping propane caught fire, and it was like an out-of-control acetylene torch aimed right at the trailer's front windows. Made the situation much worse than it was before.
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Old 04-28-2015, 04:14 PM   #7
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It's very rare, but if you discover the camper is on fire, get out. RVs burn quickly. Know how to open the emergency windows and get the screens out. Fighting it is possible IF your escape route is open and the fire is small enough.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:02 PM   #8
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We carried these in Naval Aircraft to expedite egress from aircraft in case of an emergency. Would they work in an Airstream? I would certainly not be presumptuous and say that it positively would.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:33 PM   #9
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We carried these in Naval Aircraft to expedite egress from aircraft in case of an emergency. Would they work in an Airstream? I would certainly not be presumptuous and say that it positively would.
All it takes is an ordinary hammer to break a window and knock out any broken glass. A Maglite flashlight, especially with an aftermarket glass-breaker end cap (http://www.amazon.com/Bust-Cap-Glass.../dp/B00RMHJ6Q8) will also do the trick.

I can't imagine that you'd have to hack your way through a wall to get out.
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:10 PM   #10
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If you post the year and model it would be helpful. Some Airstreams have rear doors for escape. Others have escape windows in the back. CO problems are more common cause of death. Catalytic heaters can be a problem. These things are tight, if you keep the windows shut. Electrical and appliance (furnace, water heater, stove, and refrigerator) are possible sources of ignition.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:14 PM   #11
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figure out your 'escape' route so that you can do it with your eyes closed..
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:32 PM   #12
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My 16' sport has a escape window in the rear. Unlatch, push out with your feet. I do agree everyone should have and escape route. Better to be prepared & hope you never need it.


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Old 04-28-2015, 08:59 PM   #13
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Some of the older models don't have removable screens. So I keep a knife near the sleeping area.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:15 PM   #14
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When my brother and I were in elementary school, the fire department came to the school and taught a little seminar on how to escape from a fire, and suggested that every child take home their booklet and have family fire drills. Prior to that it had never occurred to me that we had only two windows out of the attic bedroom. One was a direct drop to a concrete driveway, the other had the power lines attached to the house directly under the window.

We immediately learned not to hide under the bed or in the closet (most small children who've never had a home fire drill are found in one of those locations - usually dead).

Plan and practice! When it goes wrong you don't have time to think of a solution - it has to be already in place.
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