More and more people are using motor homes and travel trailers in the winter, and Missoula Rural Fire is warning residents about possibly serious fire dangers.

Captain Ron Lubke said this week that there have been several incidents involving motor homes that have brought fire crews to the scene.

“We’ve had a rash lately of folks living in motor homes and recreational travel trailers, and we felt it was time to get the word out to make sure these folks are safe,” said Lubke. “Probably the biggest thing is that people don’t realize that a motor home is both a vehicle and a structure, and there are places where fires can easily occur,” he said. “The kitchen or cooking area is the most common just like a regular household. Being also a vehicle, the second most common place for a fire to start is the engine compartment, In addition, with the 12-volt electrical systems, the lighting systems can get extremely hot and we want to keep combustibles away from those lights.”

Lubke said people who own motor homes forget one vital piece of safety equipment.

“Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be in every room, because fires in motor homes spread quickly,” he said.

Lubke was very direct about what to do is a fire starts in a motor home or a travel trailer.

“Know two ways out,” he said. “If you can’t get to the main way out, know how to operate the emergency exits. Most are built with window exits where the entire window pops out, so become familiar with how it works, and you might even want to practice with your family. At the very least, consult your owner’s manual on how to operate the emergency exits. Most important, once you’re outside, do not go back in again. Also, know your location, so fire crews can get to you quickly.”

Have working fire extinguishers in the right places and know how to use them.

Get more details by contacting Missoula Rural Fire at 549-6172.