Manufactured houses, also called mobile homes, are transportable structures that are fixed to a strong chassis. These homes are designed specifically to be towed and are not same as prefabricated or modular homes.
The federal government regulates building of mobile homes. Since 1976, manufactured homes need to comply with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards. These standards cover a wide range of safety requirements, which also include fire safety.
The HUD standards have been improved over time and the final rule of HUD for smoke alarm installation and use in manufactured houses is based on NFPA 501. NFPA provides the following guidelines to increase fire safety in manufactured homes.
Ensure that Smoke Alarms are Working
You should never disable or remove a smoke alarm that is installed in your manufactured home. If you are experiencing many false alarms, it will be better to relocate the alarm away from the bathroom steam or cooking fumes. In addition, you can install photoelectric smoke alarms in areas near baths and kitchen to decrease the number of nuisance alarms.
NFPA 501 also permits using a smoke alarm that has a silencing option, if it is installed within 20 feet of a cooking appliance. NFPA also recommend to test all the smoke alarms at least once in a month. This can be done by pressing the test button provided in the alarm. Apart from that, it will be good to dust or vacuum smoke alarms occasionally.
Ensure that Enough Fire Alarms are Installed
If your manufactured home is old and does not have smoke alarms installed in every bedroom and family living area, you should immediately install new smoke alarms to offer fire protection to these rooms. It will be good to interconnect all the alarms in the home, so that when one of the alarms sounds, all of them will start to sound.
Have an escape plan if you have a fire in your manufactured home. You should make an escape plan that offers alternate exits out of all the rooms. Ensure that you can open and get out of doors and windows. In fact, it is mandatory that all manufactured houses that are built after 1976 should have windows that can be used as secondary escape routes.
Immediately fix windows that are nailed shut or painted and doors that are stuck. Moreover, grates or security bars over windows should have quick release devices that allow you to open the windows at times of emergency.