Feb 13 2011, 09:10 PM
I am certain this topic has been covered before but something happened this week at our campground I felt I needed to share.
One of our permanent campers had a flood in the back of his camper. He was trying to dry out the carpet and set up an infra-red light. Apparently about the time he drove off to go to work, the light fell onto the carpet. I was outside pumping propane and started hearing an alarm go off. Most of our permanent campers give me a key to use in emergency (not required) so I ran and grabbed his key and yelled for my husband. We opened the camper door and smoke billowed out. Hubby went in and found the fire and got it put out. Fortunately the fire had only been going for a few minutes (maybe 20 minutes since the owner left, but the fumes were toxic and obnoxious. The owner had to leave for the weekend and there was very little actual damage to the camper but the smell was horrible. I kept the windows open each day, sprayed lots of air freshener, washed everything washable and the smell is almost gone. Strangely enough, I heard that Vodka will cut smoke odors so I got a bottle and, with a sprayer, sprayed it all over his couch and valances and anything that can't be removed easily and it worked.
My point is, please, please, make sure you have smoke alarms with good batteries in them. If you are staying long term where you trust the employees you might want to give them a key. If I had had to wait for this man to return from work I am certain that his camper, as well as those close to him, would have gone up in smoke. In the 20 minutes or so that fire was going someone sleeping could have died.
Feb 13 2011, 09:45 PM
Very good point! We check the 9 volt battery in the smoke detector all the time as we travel and at home. This low cost item will save your life. RV units burn fast and you will have little time to get out if you have a fire. We also carry two commercial grade fire extinguishers. One inside near door and one outside in a bay also near door that is foaming type to put out oil fires due to diesel fuel leaks. You never have to much fire fighting equipment in a fire. Low cost items to be safe. We have saw the parts left over in RV units at the end of a fire. The tow truck did not have a lot to carry away.
Feb 13 2011, 09:54 PM
What a terrifying experience for you! And how lucky was the resident that you heard the alarm and came to his rescue. I'm glad everyone is OK.
Feb 14 2011, 09:25 AM
Speaking of fire extinguishers. The man does have them but the smoke was so thick and black that we couldn't see them. They are great to have but I wouldn't rely on them. If there is a fire the best thing you can do is to get out really fast.
Feb 15 2011, 01:26 AM
Good quick thinking!! Glad you had keys to his coach. Here are some suggestions to remove the smoke smell:
1) Any soft goods that are removable should be professionally dry cleaned or washed or thrown away. (blankets, drapes, clothes, pillows, etc.)
2. Any soft items that are not removable (mattresses, carpeting, headliner, etc.) should be cleaned by a carpet cleaner or restoration company)
3. Hard surfaces should be wiped down first with a dry cloth, then a wet cloth until no soot comes back. Any surfaces that still look black should be removed or sealed & painted.
4. The resident should then run a professional ozone machine in the coach for several hours to remove any further smoke smell. Don't try one from a discount store, but a professional one from a rental company or restoration company. They cannot be in the coach while it is running.
Feb 15 2011, 08:47 AM
Thanks for the suggestions but the smell is almost totally gone. The vodka did the trick on the cushions and mattresses. I used vinegar on the walls and there was almost no soot and nothing was blackened at all. All linens and clothing were washed a couple of times with vinegar and then air dried and you can't tell they were ever in a fire. I think the fact that it was put out and the place opened to air out so fast really helped.
Feb 15 2011, 04:56 PM
I can think of a better use for the vodka. There is a product called Fabreeze that works really good on odor. We used it all the time when we were in the lodging business. We are going on a mini vacation tomorrow and I am going to be sure to check my 9 Volts.
Feb 15 2011, 06:49 PM
Febreze is good. We have been known to go in a casino or two where it is always smoky. We spray our clothes with Febreze (the one for clothes) when we get home, and it really takes out the smell. Their air freshner is also good.
Feb 15 2011, 10:53 PM
I used Febreeze also but the Vodka worked without the overwhelming flowery after smell. I didn't want his camper to smell like flower scented smoke. I found that back in the days of the olden movies when the actors had to wear the same costumes day after day and they could not get washed they used Vodka to take the smells out and if it was good enough for Hollywood it was good enough for me.
Feb 16 2011, 08:51 PM
We have a small TT, and the fire extinguisher is actually mounted just inside the door. After your description of the fire, I guess ours is mounted in a good place!
Feb 16 2011, 10:24 PM
We carry 3 fire extinguishers: one just inside the front door, one in the back closet (easily reached), and one in an underneath bin. Fortunately we have never had to use one, but that brings up a question. How do you know if the extinguisher is still good?
Feb 17 2011, 12:28 AM
Look in the phone book under "fire suppression" or other "Fire" sections, and you can take the extinguishers to one of these companies to be checked. Many extinguishers can be tested and tagged showing that they are certified. A few disposable ones cannot be tested.
Feb 20 2011, 08:35 PM
The commercial grade fire extinguishers have a life cycle of five to seven years. Ones from Home Depot may or may not work in a couple years. You can reload the commercial grade ones for a small fee. Ones that come with RV units are junk grade and most have no meter to show if it is dead or not. Best thing to do is take them to the dump and then replace with better extinguishers. What will it cost to replace your RV unit in case of a fire and the extinguisher did not work?
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