NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Today marks the first day of summer, a time for families to enjoy barbecues and backyard gatherings and to escape the heat by staying indoors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants to remind travel trailer residents to make the summer months more enjoyable by following some simple precautions to stay safe.
Below are some important travel trailer safety tips residents can use:
- Before using your grill, position it at least three feet away from your trailer and any shrubs or bushes, and never bring it inside. With a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to be sure it is working properly and not leaking. When starting a fire in a charcoal grill, only use starter fluid made for barbecue grills.
- When cooking indoors, always be sure to have proper ventilation in your trailer. Never store flammable items (pot holders, paper towels, matches, etc) near your stove top, and do not leave cooking food unattended for even a few minutes. If you have to go out, turn off all burners before leaving.
- If a gas stove's burner does not start after two or three turns of the igniter knob, wait at least 30 seconds before trying to reignite the burner. If a pan catches fire on the stove, cover it with a lid and turn off the gas or use the fire extinguisher to put it out.
- Know where your fire extinguisher is in the trailer and know how to use it. Remember to keep it near the exit.
- If you suspect that you have a gas leak in your trailer, don't look for the leak yourself. Get out immediately, leave the door open behind you and then, from outside the trailer, call 911 or your local fire department to report the leak.
- For trailers with electric stoves, if the power goes off to your trailer while you are cooking, remember that your stove's burner knobs may still be on when the burners 'go dead.' When the power comes back on, it will start your stove's electric burners unless you turned them off.
- Do not overload electrical circuits by using more than two electrical appliances at a time.
- Stay cool indoors and help keep costs low by setting your air conditioning unit to 78 degrees.
- Check smoke detectors monthly and replace the battery as needed. Never smoke in bed, and if you must smoke in the trailer, use deep, metal or ceramic ash trays and make sure cigarettes are completely out before discarding them. Never leave a candle burning in a trailer if you go to sleep or leave the trailer.
- Make sure the heater fume vent on the outside of the trailer is never blocked or covered.
- For maintenance or repair that you cannot attend to yourself, call your maintenance contractor or the travel trailer hotline at 1-888-294-2822.
"There are several steps families should take to ensure they are safe during the summer months," said Sidney Melton, FEMA Individual Assistance section chief of the Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office. "One important reminder is to coordinate with your maintenance contractor so that monthly maintenance services can be performed on your unit."
Summertime also brings hurricane season. If tropical storm force winds are nearing, listen to local and state officials for evacuation orders, and always leave the trailer behind. For more information on trailer safety, as well as important tips to prepare for a hurricane, visit www.fema.gov, //www.emergency.louisiana.gov/ or www.ready.gov.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, r...