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How to Use Your RV Emergency Exit Window

How to Use Your RV Emergency Exit Window

Every second can be critical if you ever experience an emergency while RVing. Luckily, RV emergency exit windows can make it easy for you and your loved ones to escape quickly. When you need every second you can get, the last thing you want to be doing is figuring out how to use an emergency exit window latch or having it stick.

Here, we’ll help you know what to do should you need to exit your RV in a hurry. Let’s learn how to use your RV emergency exit window!

What Makes a Window an Egress Window?

An egress window is one that’s large enough to serve as an emergency exit window, allowing for easy escape. The windows look just like standard windows. However, they open fully to allow inhabitants of a house, business, or in this case, RV, to reach safety.

They should always be labeled with an EXIT label and have red latches that indicate how to open them. Its important for everyone using a vehicle, RV or to know where the emergency exit windows are and how to use them.

Egress window on motorhome

Do All RVs Have an Emergency Exit Window?

Emergency exit windows are standard features on just about every RV. Most have at least one, but sometimes multiple, emergency exit windows. You’ll typically find them in living spaces and bedrooms.

If you’re unsure which windows in your rig are exit windows, look for a sticker on the window itself or the wall directly below it. Many of these windows also have unique handles at the bottom you must unlatch to open them.

Plane Emergency Exit Window
It’s not just RVs that have emergency exit windows, in fact, they are on almost all larger passenger vehicles, including busses, planes, and trains.

Are All RV Emergency Exit Windows the Same?

Not all emergency exit windows are the same; there are many different types. Since manufacturers are constantly innovating and adjusting based on technology, you need to know how to use your rig’s specific emergency exit windows.

A few manufacturers also offer an exit door instead of a window. This door is usually located in the bathroom or bedroom near the rear of the coach.

newmar motorhome exit door
This is the exit door on a Newmar coach

If you’re unsure of how to open your emergency exit windows, check your owner’s manual that came with your RV. Don’t be afraid to contact your RV manufacturer’s customer support. They’ll most likely be able to walk you through correctly opening and closing your emergency exit window.  

Pro Tip: If you want to block out the sun and keep your RV cool, read more about How To Tint Your RV Windows.

How Does an RV Emergency Exit Window Work?

You and anyone RVing with you must know how to work your rig’s RV emergency exit windows. Take the time to quickly demonstrate how to open them and discuss when necessary. Let’s walk through what you need to do to use your RV emergency exit window.

Remove the Screen

Some egress windows have a screen in front of them that needs to be removed. You’ll find a red tab on the screen in the bottom right corner. Pulling on the tab releases the screen from the window. If you’re in a hurry to get out of your RV, you will likely not place this gently to the side. 

However, if you’re just practicing or demonstrating for others, be gentle with the screen and be careful not to break it. In a real emergency, don’t worry about damaging it.

Pro Tip: Learn how to clean, care for, and replace your RV window screens.

Sky window in RV
Some RVs have roof hatches that are also emergency exits.

Unhook and Open the RV Emergency Exit Window Latch

Practically every RV emergency exit window has a red latch. Most modern latches require you to push them forward to release the pressure, lift them slightly, and then pull the latch toward you. Make sure the latch lines up with the hole in the wall so you can push it through.

Because some windows are different, you should test out the latch mechanism to understand how it works.

emergency window latch
Your emergency window in your RV is crucial to keep you safe while on the road.

Push the Window Open

Once you have unlocked and opened the latch for your RV emergency exit window, you need to push the window open. Depending on when you last opened your window, the rubber seals could stick to the window’s aluminum frame.

If you are practicing or doing a demonstration, head outside to unstick the window from the frame. However, you’ll want to use as much force as necessary to open the window in an emergency. While you may not need to break the window, a broken one is the least of your worries if you need to get out in a hurry.

Opening Egress Window
Make sure you know how to use your RV emergency window before you head out on the highway.

Open Your Emergency Window Frequently to Make Sure It Works

As we mentioned, the rubber seals can stick to the window frame for your window. To avoid this, you need to frequently open and close your windows. Applying a bit of silicone to your seals can help keep them from drying out and sticking.

Make it a habit to open your windows regularly, especially at the start of each camping season. It may be worth opening and closing them at the start of every trip just to ensure you don’t have anything to worry about if there is an emergency.

Emergency window open
If your RV emergency exit window is sticking, you may need to replace the window seals.

What Happens If Your RV Emergency Exit Window Is Stuck? 

If your RV emergency exit window is stuck, you’ll need to use some force to get it open. If you are not in an emergency situation getting a pry tool and working it open around the outside seal is usually the best way. Sometimes however they just need a good push at one corner.

If possible, you want to avoid breaking the glass, as it will be challenging to unstick the window seals from the aluminum frame once the glass breaks. You could risk serious injuries if you have to exit out a window with broken glass. However, you do what you must to survive.

If the window is sticking and it’s not an emergency, head outside and look at the window. If you have some rubber seal lubricant, spray it around the edge of the window to loosen the seal to the frame. Work to pry the window open, and vow to make sure you apply the lubricant to these seals regularly.

Pro Tip: If your emergency window seals are drying out and sticking, use this guide on How to Replace Your RV Window Seals.

Can You Open an RV Emergency Exit Window from the Outside?

Emergency windows are not designed to be open from the outside, but it is possible, but it’s not easy. If it were, it would pose a serious safety risk for keeping anyone up to no good from trying to get into your RV. You will need tools to open an RV emergency exit window from the outside.

Depending on the height of your exit window, you may need a ladder or something tall to help you reach it. In addition, you’ll need a screwdriver, and you’ll need to go through and remove all the hinges holding the window in place. 

Once you remove the screws, you’ll be able to move the window enough to get it to unlatch so you can completely remove it from your RV.

Pro Tip: This window should not be used for installing a window AC unit in your RV.

RV Emergency Exit Window Upgrade - DIY

What Situations Would An Emergency Window Be Used In?

An emergency window in a may be used in a variety of emergency situations Fire is one of the most common. In case of a fire, emergency windows can be used as an escape route for the occupants if the main exits are blocked by smoke or flames.

In case of an accident, emergency windows can be used as an escape route if the main exits are blocked or otherwise inaccessible. This could happen if the RV tipped over or is up against an object. Some RV even has roof hatch access in case of a turnover.

Emergency windows can also be used in other emergency situations, such as severe storms, floods, or other natural disasters where main exits may be blocked or rendered Emergency responders, such as firefighters or paramedics might also use them to gain better access to the interior of the vehicle or get someone out.

Your RV Emergency Exit Window Can Save Lives 

The last thing you want is an RVing adventure to end in tragedy. Know how to use your RV emergency exit windows so you or your loved ones can quickly exit your rig when needed. You may not plan to use them, but you’ll be glad you know how to if you need to use them. You never know when these exit windows could save your life.

Do you have a plan in place in case you have to exit your RV through the emergency window? Tell us in the comments!

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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Lisa Warner

Thursday 11th of May 2023

1999 5th wheel Seabreeze. Emergency wi dow in bedroom has a side screen that opens. Can the whole window be opened for more air and then be put back closed?

Mortons on the Move

Friday 12th of May 2023

Usually yes, the entire window is designed to hinge open. Usually you need to prop it open somehow, but we use our emergency windows for more air sometimes. Its good to open them ocasionally anyway because they usually like to stick if they havent been used in a long time.

Not So Free

Wednesday 18th of January 2023

I have read that some emergency windows completely detach from the RV, falling to the ground. I have never seen a screen on an emergency window.