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jon48

Need suggestion for strategy to safely get out

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My Tiffin (37ft DP) has a 16" tall emergency exit window in bedroom that drops, no hinges.  It is 7+ ft off the ground.  And it is above a cupboard so maybe 3ft off floor.

My wife & I are in our 70's.  I don't see this emergency exit as being practical at our age.  I need a good idea about how to navigate getting through this window and safely to the ground in the event of a fire in the forward part of my coach.

There is a TV mounted into a fairly sturdy frame, I am thinking of putting a handicap handhold mounted horizontally under the TV (even with the top edge of the window).  That would provide something to hang onto while wiggling out.....maybe.  But then there is the drop to the ground.

There must be a better solution to get out in case of a fire.

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Thoughts?

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Buy a hook type ladder to hook over the window frame to assist in getting down. It could be stored in the closet.  Also, if you ever have to use the exit take the comforter off the bed and throw it over the window edge to keep from getting scraped. 

A folding type hook ladder would store easier inside the MH.  Rope ladders are okay but my belief is that one has to be nimble to desend a rope ladder in those conditions.  

Consider that a broken ankle, foot, leg is a small alternative to burning alive.

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Check out this Kidde fire escape ladder to see if it will fit your both. It is designed for a stix N brix house but may be cut off to fit your MH. The problem I see is the 16" high window, unless you are both skinny getting out that window will be quite difficult.

Our bedroom escape window is tall and wide enough, with a 6' drop to the ground. If we are injured falling out the window it is still better than being killed from smoke inhalation. You have approx. 4 minutes to escape before smoke and heat overcome you.

IMO preventative actions are best, inspect the engine compartment for any fuel or oil leaks and correct them prior to each trip, as the leading cause of MH fires is the engine compartment.

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My wife's WPA-built charter school has something like the recommended Kidde fire escape ladders in very classroom.  The hook mechanism looks unwieldy for an RV and an 18" window but if there's not a different brand with more compact hooks, I think that's the way to go.  Or keep a powerful chop saw in the bedroom.   

Our escape window is on the driver's side.  I've wondered how we get out if we roll over on that side and our door, which is heavy, becomes a vertical hatch eight feet off the ground and eight feet above what we're standing on.  Maybe we climb up  the front seats.  Maybe if we do roll over that way we'll be lucky enough that the windshield will pop out. 

At least with a diesel pusher we don't have to worry about a gasoline fire at a front engine.  Anybody ever hear of a fire starting from the electrical half of a generator? 

 

Edited by urbanhermit
text

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When our coach was involved in a head-on collision a few years back we were forced to bail out using a side window similar to what you're talking about. It sure looked like a long way down when you look out, but it's not really as bad as it seems. We put our feet out first and grabbed on to the window edge as we lowered ourselves down. By the time we were out and hanging by the window's edge, our feet were only about 2-3 feet off the ground.

If you want something to give you more confidence as you climb out, perhaps something like this could be stored in the cabinet next to that window: https://familyrvingmag.com/2013/02/01/rv-escape-ladder/

Would be a good idea to actually practice once or twice, regardless of which method you choose. Put on your sweats and actually give it a go when you have all the time in the world AND someone standing by to lend a hand in case you need it. This way you'll have confidence that you can safely get out should the need ever arise and won't immediately start to panic. Nothing like being prepared and practiced to help get you through an otherwise very difficult situation.

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I have had to go out the window only one time. Thank goodness it wasn't an emergency. Our dead bolt had stuck. I was able to go out the bedroom window. As Richard said feet first. I got out until my belly came to the ledge then as I got it over the ledge I was on my but on the ground. I wasn't hurt (but I was 12 years younger). Incase I had to do it in an emergency I would have the wife go out first with my help then follow myself. Nothing is more important than my wife's safety.

Herman 

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jon48,

We had PROTENG Fire suppression system, installed in our coach last month!  $4,700+/- is a small amount to save your loved once life!  Google it.  

No "panic" exiting needed.  We are covered stem to stern, including the inside CB & ATS.  Peace of mind.

 

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37 minutes ago, manholt said:

jon48,

We had PROTENG Fire suppression system, installed in our coach last month!  $4,700+/- is a small amount to save your loved once life!  Google it.  

No "panic" exiting needed.  We are covered stem to stern, including the inside CB & ATS.  Peace of mind.

 

Maybe you've licked the fire risk, but there could still be plenty of reasons to be prepared to make an emergency exit including collision and/or rollover. Good to have a plan and to be practiced in executing it. If you have an emergency exit on one side only, be sure to figure out what you'll do when you have to exit on the other side of the coach or through the roof. For many situations kicking out the windshield is a viable exit plan.

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In your coach, I fully agree!  I have seen enough roll overs in "Cookie Cutter" (non custom) coaches, that unless your pinned in, you can walk out, pretty much anywhere!  Fiberglass and gelcoat don't hold up like metal.  collision, pretty much the same thing!  Biggest concern is to be injured and stuck.

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I am wondering if you could do retro fit with a door like the newer Newmars have. You open the door and there is a set of folding steps that deploy. Looks like a realey good system.

I like the  PROTENG Fire suppression system to. 

Bill

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How wide is that egress window? 16" to bottom of tv doesn't bother me as much  as the width does. The window appears to be about 24" wide, if narrower than that, it would be a concern. Try to remember that in an emergency, feet first and on your tummy, by the time your tummy is even with the window opening, with your feet hanging down, your feet will be  within 3 to 3.5 feet from the ground unless one of you are very short. A short piece of rope could easily secured and several knots tied a foot apart could be very helpful. You can leave the rope just inside the window permanently for just in case.

Edited by kaypsmith

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"Mac the Fire Guy" used to put on some VERY GOOD seminars at the FMCA International Rallies.  Take a few minutes to watch this YouTube video he made about RV safety.  At the 11 minute mark, you shows the ladder he had made for exactly the problem the OP describes.  One thing he always recommends about exiting out that window is to grab the blankets off the bed and put them over the bottom window sill to make it easier on you as you exit.

Updated RV Safety | Mac The Fire Guy

Here's another VERY GOOD video by Mac The Fire Guy:

Escaping your RV in a fire: you have 20 seconds!

Another Mac The Fire Guy YouTube Video on exiting your RV through the emergency exit widow - MUST WATCH!

Edited by moonwink

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As a "follow-up" to what I posted above I've found this information about Mac McCoy:
https://www.rvnetwork.com/topic/130172-mac-the-fire-guy/?do=findComment&comment=986380

Quote

Quote By: Ed Dennis  on rvnetwork,com Posted May 24, 2019

Our friends, Mac & Annie McCoy are no longer giving fire demonstrations. Mac had some serious cardiac problems and retired over a year ago. He sold his business and is no longer involved. He is a good guy and deserves his rest. Annie is still selling her clothing creations at local fairs. Similar updated products and popular Fire Safety Seminars are available from An RVer's Friend at major RV rallies. 

Mac's ladder shown in his YouTube video isn't available anymore through him but you can find one to modify at Amazon:  Search for "rv escape ladder"

Here's a link back to an FMCA Family Living magazine article from 2013:  RV Escape Ladder
"By adapting a store bought escape ladder to fit the size of the motorhome's windowsill, the author created a safe and sturdy ladder for anyone who may need to evacuate through the emergency exit window"

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There are all sorts of problems getting out of a coach that has rolled.  Some new coaches are putting emergency escape doors on the rear street side wall.  That's fine unless you roll over and if the curb side of the MH is on the ground, that emergency door is now 8 feet over your head.  Some how you have to get it open and climb up to it.

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37 minutes ago, five said:

There are all sorts of problems getting out of a coach that has rolled.  Some new coaches are putting emergency escape doors on the rear street side wall.  That's fine unless you roll over and if the curb side of the MH is on the ground, that emergency door is now 8 feet over your head.  Some how you have to get it open and climb up to it.

This is why buses all have roof exits in addition to the tilt-out/pop-out side windows. A friend of mine has some vintage bus conversions which he's put back in commercial service running party rentals, and the state made him put the roof escape hatches back in for this reason before signing off on the safety inspection.

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I took The Fire Guy's, course 3 times....a long time ago & after the Seminar, for those who cared, we would practice with his help, if needed.  Coaches was not anywhere near 13' 3" back then, so for me, no ladder needed. The same with my DW....Also we where both in our 40's!  I shudder to think what would happen today and that's why I had the suppression system installed.

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Any window can be an escape hatch with a good hatchet.  Break out a solid or sliding window and throw some protection over the lower edges.   If really needed one could chop an exit hole through a wall in a few moments time with a good hatchet.  Firemen use them all the time.  A good camping hatchet, or two, located mid and aft inside near windows may save a life or two.

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32 minutes ago, charlieiam said:

Any window can be an escape hatch with a good hatchet.  Break out a solid or sliding window and throw some protection over the lower edges.   If really needed one could chop an exit hole through a wall in a few moments time with a good hatchet.  Firemen use them all the time.  A good camping hatchet, or two, located mid and aft inside near windows may save a life or two.

An axe was standard issue emergency gear on vintage coaches like mine. Never thought about putting it back in the holder - maybe I should.

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Thanks everyone for the excellent replies to my query.  It's unlikely that I would go so far as a fire suppression system but I have thought about it.  I'm not so worried about exiting in a rollover or collision, although nothing to be casual about, but it's a fire that will require a rapid, no-thinking automatic response.  I expect in other situations, unless a medical emergency  is involved, there is more time to deal with getting out.  And yes, I will need to do a few practice dry runs once I come up with a solution.  I found the comment about the bedspread to be insightful.  I was thinking towel which is obviously inferior.

My concern with a folding ladder is that it will lay against the side of the RV and possibly prevent getting a good foot hold.  But I have not yet checked the suggested links to look at the products.

I didn't measure the window length but the TV is 32" diagonal so the length is probably about 28 inches.  It looks wide enough but looks can be deceiving.

I know belly down is the way to go but my concern is how to get in that position, the picture does not show it very well, but the tv is mounted to the face of a cabinet structure that extends into the room more than a foot.  So little room for getting up onto the flat surface under the tv and in front of the window.  Maybe I need to install a grab bar across the top of the cabinet at the inner edge.

Thanks for all the links, I will check them all out.

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jon48.

Your TV is a disposable item!  Look at all the Links moonwink recommended...then stop and think!

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1 hour ago, manholt said:

jon48.

Your TV is a disposable item!  Look at all the Links moonwink recommended...then stop and think!

Not only is the TV a disposable item, it's unlikely that I will ever watch it (except mine is needed to set up the Wally).  I've never been one to lay in bed and watch the boob tube.

You mentioned a suppression system.  As my wife pointed out, I just spent nearly $3k doing a 120k service on our toad plus 4 tires.  So why grumble about a fire suppression cost?  She already knows that with her artificial knee and hands that cannot grasp she isn't going to be going out that window.

Does that system cover only the engine or the whole interior of the coach?  And what about suffocation?  I am familiar with in place halon and/or co2 systems and these are not systems one can use and expect to breath.  I guess perhaps it alarms prior to release and hopefully give one enough time to find the latch on the main door?

I did watch all of Moonwink's links.  That one solid frame ladder looked interesting so I'm gonna see if I can locate one of those.  The video didn't have any specifics.

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 If you find yourself in a dangerous and potentially violent situation you need to know the best strategies to get yourself out. BREATHE. Taking a deep breath will calm you and act like a system reset. The oxygen will keep your own aggression lower and allow your brain to function better, before it is impaired by the natural ‘Fight or Flight Response’. Protect yourself first. Your instinct.

Edited by conexxelectrical

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On 2/8/2021 at 6:43 AM, hermanmullins said:

I have had to go out the window only one time. Thank goodness it wasn't an emergency. Our dead bolt had stuck. I was able to go out the bedroom window. As Richard said feet first. I got out until my belly came to the ledge then as I got it over the ledge I was on my but on the ground. I wasn't hurt (but I was 12 years younger). Incase I had to do it in an emergency I would have the wife go out first with my help then follow myself. Nothing is more important than my wife's safety.

Herman 

 

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I would do the same, and I'm sure all us men would, too.  But darned if I didn't think, for a split second, as I was reading, that you were going to say "so my butt could land on something soft."  

 

(Crap-- appear I stiff haven't got this posting stuff down pat)

Edited by urbanhermit

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