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Old 09-19-2016, 10:12 PM   #1
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Adding a fire extinguisher in the Propane Tank Bay

There is a lot of great discussion on the importance of adding more fire extinguishers and replacing the small ones that come with the RV with bigger ones.

I finally installed an upgrade to put a fire extinguisher in the bay with the propane tank. There are two reasons to add a fire extinguisher here:
1. The fire could start in the propane tank bay, perhaps when filling.
2. The propane tank bay is the only unlocked bay in my RV, so it can be accessed by anybody who knows there is one there.

I installed an old ABC extinguisher that buckles in. Being old, it is less likely to be stolen. But, I plan to keep it in the Berk while being stored, and installed in the bay when we go camping.

The pressure gauge reads normal, and hopefully the motions of the RV will shake it up to prevent clogging.

BTW, I did replace the small Forest River fire extinguisher by the passenger seat with a larger one from Costco. The Costco one only hung from the top and bounced around, so I put in a strip of velcro to hold it in place. I'm sure that anyone stress by a fire will be able to disconnect the velcro.

I do have a couple of other fire extinguishers. The original Forest River one is in the bedroom, and the bay for the slides and equalizer levels has one.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:20 PM   #2
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2 thoughts. If I were to put an extinguisher in the propane bay, I would probably do a Halon or HFP flood if there's a worry about a fuel fire at the tank. Second, if that's an old extinguisher with questionable integrity of the gauge, look for a fire extinguisher shop near you and take it in. They'll discharge it and refill for a nominal price. You'll then know exactly when it was last serviced and if there's any issue.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:41 PM   #3
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I always like the idea of extinguishers close at hand, 1 in bedroom, near the exit and away from a probable fire/ fuel source. Just me!
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:43 PM   #4
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well, it is better than nothing but my thought was sort of the same. How can I get close enough to the propane bay if it catches fire to get the extinguisher?
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:05 AM   #5
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Dry chem extinguishers will actually settle and compact with the vibrations from driving. From time to time flip the extinguisher upside down and tap on the side. You will hear and feel the powder loosening up inside. Otherwise it can compact and fail to dispense when needed. Smart idea. I like it.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:45 AM   #6
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I think that if there is fire at or near the propane tanks I would spend my money on faster running shoes
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:06 AM   #7
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Isn't this like putting a hand held extinguisher in the bunker where the dynamite is stored?
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:07 AM   #8
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If your propane tank catches fire it's gonna go "BOOM". Not anywhere enough time to get to or use a fire extinguisher.
Your placement though is a good idea as that compartment is never locked giving good access.
And if your propane tank ever does catch fire, get everyone AWAY from it. Don't go running toward it. If its being filled, than if it goes than the other filler tank is gonna go with it.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:23 AM   #9
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From what I see, the only downside is if the propane tank is the thing on fire. There are a lot of other things that can burn that it would be nice have one handy outside.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sc00ter View Post
Dry chem extinguishers will actually settle and compact with the vibrations from driving. From time to time flip the extinguisher upside down and tap on the side. You will hear and feel the powder loosening up inside. Otherwise it can compact and fail to dispense when needed. Smart idea. I like it.
We got told this when we had a boat inspection. They suggested the best way to mount them is on there side. Does not eliminate settling and packing of the material but sure helps. Either way yes we need to shake up the extinguisher from time to time. It's not so critical in the house but a boat like a trailer is subject to vibration and bump packing the material.

On another note I understand that compartment is unlocked but I would prefer to have it someplace else to be able to go at the fire with the extinguisher in hand. But then like DDC said if the fire was in there a pair of good runners might be a better investment.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:32 AM   #11
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I think it's a good idea. You most likely won't need it for the propane itself, but having an extinguisher available without needing to fumble with a locked compartment saves time. With it being accessible from the outside it would be readily available for roadside or campsite emergencies. Just make sure it's maintained and serviced properly.
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Old 09-21-2016, 01:38 PM   #12
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I think that if there is fire at or near the propane tanks I would spend my money on faster running shoes
x2
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Old 09-21-2016, 01:50 PM   #13
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You can cut the propane off while you're grabbing the extinguisher. A propane fire will probably be on the other end of the pipe, such as range, refrig or water heater. If there is a fire anywhere evacuate, cut the gas off if you can safely and pray your insurance is up to date.
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Old 09-21-2016, 03:51 PM   #14
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Fire Extinguisher

let me introduce myself I am John Grubb i own a surveyor 240RBS I also have been a fire extinguisher technitian for 18 years it is a great idea to have a better fire extinguisher than the one provided my the manufacturer, However if your concern is the propane cabinet and your extinguisher is in that cabinet it would be uslesss because you would be unable to access it. I would suggest putting it in a different location. I read one of the post about halon which is a very good extinguisher but they can be expensive. please let me know if I can be of any assistance.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:53 PM   #15
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propane tank explosion

A propane tank explosion due to a propane leak is unlikely as the tank won't explode unless the tank gets hot enough to rupture. If the propane itself is burning a fire extinguisher is no good. The only way to stop a propane fire is to shut off the gas. I would not go near a tank that was burning. I do like the idea of an extinguisher available from outside the rig.
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Old 09-25-2016, 03:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mcnabbwr View Post
I think it's a good idea. You most likely won't need it for the propane itself, but having an extinguisher available without needing to fumble with a locked compartment saves time. With it being accessible from the outside it would be readily available for roadside or campsite emergencies. Just make sure it's maintained and serviced properly.
Bill and Pam,
You've caught my point exactly.

Others seem to think that I want to put out a propane fire with the extinguisher. If I had a propane fire, I'd either use the one by the inside of the front door or the one at the propane refilling station, depending on the circumstances.

The purpose of this extinguisher is to be readily available without having to fumble for keys. I would be using it to put out fires elsewhere, and perhaps on someone else's vehicle.

I will look into the question of whether it is in proper working order. Perhaps I'll partially open the valve and see if it works. If that starts a leak and the pressure gauge goes down, then I'll get a shop to install a new valve and refill.
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by gordonsick View Post
Bill and Pam,
You've caught my point exactly.

Perhaps I'll partially open the valve and see if it works. If that starts a leak and the pressure gauge goes down, then I'll get a shop to install a new valve and refill.
FYI, If you squeeze the handle to test it you will need to have it serviced. If you are unsure of its condition take it in and have it checked. If it's what's considered a throw away (plastic handles) use it for practice and purchase a new one.
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Old 09-25-2016, 11:18 PM   #18
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Propane is heavier than air. When leaking it will travel and migrate and if an ignition source is present flash. The location of the extinguisher and being able to get to a propane tank issue is dependent on several factors, is it a leak at a valve, pipe and the location. Propane tanks generally are pretty durable. If the relief valve is venting you is highly unlikely you will be able to get to it, it also means that the tank is venting because of to much pressure, overfilling, impinging flame ect. It has been my experience that valves and piping issues can be reduced by shutting off the tank. Pressure relief valves are a different issue, if involved in fire they will need a lot more than the the standard extinguisher, the other issue if you do get it out is mitigating the propane that is still leaking. I would hesitate to recomend any course of action to someone untrained. Propane is some serious gas especially when confined. One of the reasons the propane tanks are not locked and in an open compartment.

Extinguishers are fantastic to have on hand. Good idea on the location in the tank space for access. Inspect them regularly. They are also inexpensive. You tube extinguisher use as well. Ive seen them used successfully and not so successfully. PASS Pull Aim Squeeze Sweep. Base of the flames and not the flames themselves.

RVs generally do not fair well in fires.

I'm not implying that the OP doesn't know this...just adding to conversation.

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Old 09-26-2016, 06:51 AM   #19
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Between opinions on this...is it best to turn off gas at tank when leaving our motorhomes for week or even months upon completion of travel, or just leave valve open all the time.
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnabbwr View Post
I think it's a good idea. You most likely won't need it for the propane itself, but having an extinguisher available without needing to fumble with a locked compartment saves time. With it being accessible from the outside it would be readily available for roadside or campsite emergencies. Just make sure it's maintained and serviced properly.
X2!
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