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Basic RV Safety 101 by: Mark J. Polk

I recently received an email from someone that was considering purchasing an RV. After explaining their interest in RVing there was one short question. “Are RV's dangerous to own and operate?” After giving this some thought I realized that this one short question covered a very large spectrum. There was no quick or easy response to this question. I responded by saying that in most cases it's not the RV that is dangerous, but the individual that is operating the RV that is dangerous. I gave some examples of unsafe acts that I have witnessed like carrying a full spare LP gas bottle inside the RV, sleeping in the RV with the generator running and never weighing the RV or checking the inflation pressure in the tires.

I told them when they begin their search for their RV the first thing to verify is that the RV manufacturer is a member of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). If they are, the RV will have an oval shaped RVIA seal displayed on the exterior, usually by the entrance door. This seal means that the RV manufacturer is in compliance with more than 500 safety requirements regarding electrical, plumbing, heating, and fire and life safety. These safety requirements are established under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.2 Standard for Recreation Vehicles. This should put to rest any concerns you may have about the RV itself being safe when it is manufactured.

I explained that the next step is to educate yourself on the systems of an RV and what is required to operate the RV safely and properly. If you're going to be towing a three or four ton travel trailer, or driving a six ton plus motor home you need to understand the importance of proper hitch work, weights and driving techniques. I also explained that anytime you are dealing with petroleum products like LP gas and gasoline generators there is cause for concern, but if handled properly there is nothing to worry about. A good place to start is with our RV Safety DVD

In no particular order, I offered them the following advice concerning RV safety.