The "Safety Tip of the Month"
"Don't be fuelish"
RVer's are often sarcastically accused of "don't you ever leave anything at home?" with some accuracy. It is quite true that we often take an excessive amount of stuff (our personal belongings) with us to make our travels and stays more enjoyable. I know that my own rig definitely falls into that category; my logic to support this is two fold 1) I am a full-timer and have no place to leave anything behind and 2) if I can't have my toys with me I really don't want to go. I suspect that many of you fall into one of those two categories as well. The presence of all those things that we bring along to support our hobbies, crafts or personal activities often can cause the RVer considerable grief, additional expense and much extra work. After all, having fun is hard work. Those activities also commonly necessitate that we bring along additional materials to support those toys. This is very true with
Quite often the methods that we chose to carry the extra fuel required to support motor sports is done in the most questionable manner creating a true safety issue for the RVs occupants and all who must share the road. When our vehicles were designed qualified engineers took great pains to select materials to fabricate fuel system components, to place the tank in the most protective environment possible and to assure that it receives whatever maintenance is necessary to assure that it remains safe throughout its lifetime. When we carry extra fuel (gasoline, diesel or propane) we often do so with little regard for those same issues and only seek out the simplest, quickest or cheapest method possible. Often this involves no more that the purchase of a "red" jug at a discount store and strapping it onto the rear bumper with a bungee cord or throwing it into the truck bed or behind the seat. The following photos shows what is both common and obviously unsafe.
An enlightened RVer should:
1) Consider first "do I really require additional fuel?" recognizing that fuel is commonly available almost anywhere people gather. Sometimes there may be a slight price penalty but that is a small price to pay for your on going safety.
2) If additional fuel truly is required explore the safest ways to accommodate that requirement. For instance can additional fuel tanks be added to the RV, perhaps they were an option originally and could still be added. Perhaps the toy itself offers a viable place to store additional fuel in a safe manner, this should be thoroughly checked out.
3) If portable fuel containers must be utilized they should be specifically designed to carry fuel, of the highest quality possible and they should be appropriately secured in the safest location possible. The bed of a tow truck is good as is a protected environment of the towed vehicle (no people). Never carry a portable fuel tank in a passenger compartment.
4) Any portable fuel container must be properly secured in place to protect them from vibration, to keep them in place over rough roads or in the event of a crash. The tie-down system should be quickly removable allowing the tank to be properly filled (on the ground after removal from the vehicle), separated from the RV when parked and easy to use when you toy requires a refill.
5) All portable fuel tanks should not be filled "to the brim". It is important to leave room for the fuel to expand in the heat; approximately 20% of the tanks volume should not be used for carrying fuel. Use great care when pouring from the tank into your toy as dangerous fumes are released; any spillage should be quickly picked up and the clean up materials disposed of properly.
As with most things safety related, this months safety tip is mostly common sense which combined with just a little thought can effectively keep you out of trouble.
Safe travels until next month.
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