RV Safety Tips - Carbon Monoxide


The following RV safety tip hits a bit closer to home than desirable.  Once on a camping trip to Disney Land, we awoke to an ambulance and EMT's surrounding an Air Stream travel trailer that was parked in the space right behind us.  They carried a couple out of the trailer that had died the night before due to carbon monoxide poisoning. 

This safety tip was submitted to the internet by RV Expert, Mark Polk.  It's full of some very good advice.


Mark Polk

I am a big advocate for RV safety and a major safety concern is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide Gas is invisible, odorless, and deadly. Carbon Monoxide is created when any fuel is burned; this includes gasoline, propane, natural gas, wood, & coal. It is extremely serious when combustion by-products are not vented outside. Carbon Monoxide is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States each year. Let’s look at what we can do to prevent the danger of carbon monoxide in our RV.

In RVs, carbon monoxide gas usually results from:

  • Exhaust leaks from either a vehicle engine or a generator.
  • Improper use of portable gas powered heaters.
  • Someone else’s vehicle or generator when camping in close quarters.


If your RV doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector you need to purchase a battery operated carbon monoxide detector designed for use in RV’s. Test the carbon monoxide detector every time you use the RV.  Replace the carbon monoxide detector batteries when you change clocks for daylight savings time.

Here are some more important notes about Carbon Monoxide:

  • Inspect the generator exhaust system before using the generator, every time.
  • Avoid leaving windows down and roof vents open when in close proximity to vehicle and/or generator exhaust.
  • Follow all directions and safety cautions and warnings when operating gas powered heaters.
  • If you use a portable generator direct the exhaust away from the camping area.
  • Never use the range burners or oven to heat the RV!
  • When cooking with the range burners use the range fan & always leave a window cracked open for fresh air and ventilation.


Learn how to recognize Carbon Monoxide Symptoms

Symptoms Include:

1)      Dizziness

2)      Vomiting

3)      Nausea

4)      Muscular twitching

5)      Intense headache

6)      Throbbing in the temples

7)      Weakness and sleepiness

8)      Inability to think coherently

If you or anyone else experiences any of these symptoms, get to fresh air immediately.  If the symptoms persist seek medical attention.  Also, be sure to shut the vehicle or generator down and do not operate it until it has been inspected and repaired by a professional.

Happy RV Learning,


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