Hurricane season in Florida and the Southeastern United States is generally from June through the end of September. Coincidentally, these are the high months of travel for families, retirees and snowbirds alike. So if you’ve got to weather a severe tropical storm or hurricane in your RV or at a campground, here are some precautions you can take to just try to keep your loved ones and your property safe.
The biggest threats are wind, flooding and lightning. Here in Florida, we are the lightning capital of the world, and so lightning is a very real threat, however, if you are in any type of covered dwelling, and especially if there are trees around, a direct lightning strike is highly unlikely.
Flooding can be a major concern, especially during a tropical storm when rain is sustained for days and days and the ground is already saturated. The best way to prevent any damage to your RV or camping equipment from flooding is to be PROACTIVE. Make sure your site is on high ground, and create channels for water to flow PAST your site if necessary. Even if you can create a small area where your vehicle and gear are safe from flooding, that will get you through the worst of the storm.
High winds are a very real danger for campers especially in heavily wooded areas. If you can get to a solid structure, that’s the best plan of action to keep everyone safe. If you’re concerned about vehicles and equipment, secure as much as you can either in a vehicle, RV or building, and move out from under trees where limbs can break in heavy winds.
Maintain current CPR certification and a well-stocked first-aid kit. If there is a natural disaster that affects power and causes road blockage, knowing how to handle a medical emergency may be the difference between life and death for someone in the campground with you.
Most campers and RVers are well prepared to live “off the grid” for a few days, but if you’re anticipating that you may run into bad weather during your travels, having a few extra canned goods, some sternos for cooking, and a solar water bag or other water purification system on hand is a good idea.
RV living and traveling isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always pleasant, but with a little forethought and keeping some basic first-aid and disaster supplies on hand can make unexpected (or expected) difficulties a little more bearable.
If you’re on the road frequently, or for long periods of time, it’s likely you’ve got your best friend with you. While we all seek to be especially careful to keep track of our naive and vulnerable pets, the worst case scenario absolutely can and does happen: your best friend gets loose and wanders off. Having a collar and ID tag on the pet is a great way for the average person to know that the pet is not an abandoned stray, and is the simplest way for someone who finds your pet to contact you, but microchips are becoming a great plan B to have in place.
So how do microchips work? Basically, a microchip ID is a small device which emits a radio frequency that is unique to an ID number assigned to your pet. The chip also provides the phone number of the manufacturer of that chip, and that is where the ID number and pets info is registered. Most vets and animal shelters have scanners that are universal and can read microchips from all major manufacturers. Microchips can last up to 25 years, and because they are inserted just below the skin the subcutaneous tissue immediately begins to bond with the chip, making it highly unlikely the chip will migrate anywhere.
A collar with ID info is still the first line of defense against losing your pet, but if you and your best friend are on the road frequently, a microchip may be a good option.
It’s summertime! For many that means hitting the open road and getting out of the hustle and bustle of urban life, and into the rural country air! This is a wonderful experience for everyone, but can be daunting for those with airborne allergies. Not to worry, with some pre-planning and some simple attention to detail, even allergy sufferers can enjoy a break from the city in the great outdoors.
Use a good pollen-count app. In a previous blog, we evaluated some of the options available for good apps with accurate weather and pollen count information. Try to plan ahead based on the dates and location to which you’re heading, and make sure you’re prepared if the predicted pollen count is high. Obviously, traveling to an area where conditions are most agreeable as far as air-quality is ideal, but even if you’re heading somewhere where allergens are present, knowing ahead of time is half the battle.
Bring an air-purifier to make tent camping possible. Even allergy sufferers can enjoy the cool evening air and the sounds of owls via the comfort of their own hypo-allergenic tent. Most tents are made with hypo-allergenic material, and keeping the flaps closed is a great way to keep pollen and allergens out, and fresh air in. Battery powered personal air purifiers are just the ticket to ensure that even an allergy sufferer can get a good night’s rest, as well as a respite from airborne allergens during the day. Here’s a link to reviews of some great battery operated air purifiers.
Make sure air filters in RV’s are clean and HEPA. Whether you’re renting and RV, borrowing one from a family member or friend, or taking your own, make sure the air filters are new and HEPA if possible. If the RV is a rental, make sure to ask that you’re getting one in which there have been no pets, and that it has been freshly cleaned with hypo-allergenic cleaning solutions.
Talk to your doctor and stock up on your meds. This is a no-brainer. If you’re planning a trip away, make sure your doctor knows, and that you not only have all the necessary allergy medication, but that you have emergency supplies available as well. Additionally, take paperwork with a list of allergens and all meds and dosages in a place that can be easily found by anyone in an emergency situation. The more first responders know about your allergies, the better.
Summer is time to have fun, relax, and enjoy the great outdoors. With a little pre-planning and some common sense, even an allergy sufferer can enjoy a trip to the wilderness.
Part of the appeal of the RV life is visiting new places and seeing new things. It’s an Adventure! But as an RVer if you’re in a new place you might not be aware of local crime rates and problem areas. Sometimes being in a new place means you’ve ended up in the middle of trouble. Our RV is a comfort zone so it’s easy to forget to be aware of your surroundings.
Many campgrounds all over the United States are well cared for and safe but there are some instances where the local Walmart parking lot might be a safer option. Regardless of where you are parked for the evening some basic precautions are important.
Obviously, first and foremost is to lock your doors, windows, and storage compartments. If you have an electric step put it away and make sure it’s disabled. Put your curtains or blinds down so the inside of the RV is concealed. Items should never be left on the dashboard or windshield. Cables, charging cords etc should be hidden from view. If you’re boondocking make sure you are parked under a light with your door facing the front of the store. NEVER open the door to a stranger. Slide open a side window and stay put if you need to speak to someone at the door. Offer to/call the police for anyone who approaches the door asking for charity or assistance. Call 911 directly for any emergency. A police officer should hold up their badge so the number is visible. Usually they can point to the location of their car. Directory assistance at 411 could get you the number for the local police to verify the officers credentials. If you have a tow car with a panic button press it from inside the RV if anyone is outside messing with your vehicles. Camera monitors on the rear and side of the RV are extremely helpful in monitoring trouble and relatively inexpensive to install. Common sense should help guide you most of the way. Be safe!
Do you have Emergency Road Service? For the cost it’s one of the most valuable items you can take with you on your travels. There are number of services each service company may provide and you’ll want to explore the options before you purchase.
When you purchase a new RV the manufacturer will sometimes provide Emergency Road Service from a program such as Coach Net. And some credit cards have Roadside Service as a perk (read more). Plans like AAA offer options with 100 – 200 miles of free towing while Good Sam has options for unlimited towing. The cost of these memberships typically range from $75 – $150 yearly so for the peace of mind you receive when traveling the value far outweighs the cost.
Emergency Road Assistance services help with common issues such as towing, flat-tires, lost key & lock out, and the oops, I forgot to fill up and now we’re out of fuel problem. Additional services might include Trip interruption help, emergency medical referral, or even roadside repairs. The best thing to do is to take your time and read through the options and services provided to determine which plan best fits the needs of your family. It’s important that you have clarification that the plan provides for the special needs of the RV and RVer.