Mobile Homes: Small Houses, Big Challenges

Issue 7 and Volume 163.

BY JOSEPH R. POLENZANI Mobile homes are a part of the American landscape. In 2007 alone, more than 95,000 manufactured homes were shipped nationwide.1 Manufactured housing also accounts for approximately 10 percent of the single-family structures in the United States.2 Despite the fact that we drive by them, respond to medical calls in them, and sometimes live in them, we often overlook mobile homes when it comes to training and prefire planning. However, as the deaths of two firefighters in Craigsville, West Virginia, last February showed, mobile homes can pose significant, and sometimes deadly, challenges. A better understanding of mobile home design and some common hazards can give firefighters an advantage when it comes to safely and effectively operating in this unique environment.   FACTORY-BUILT HOUSING   Mobile homes, more properly called “manufactured homes,” make up one of the two broad categories of factory-built housing. Factory-built houses are different from…

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