Free as your life may be on the road, you are still not free from natural disasters like storms. At home, before you left for your full-time life on the road, you might have experienced preparing evacuation plans for emergencies like this. However, when you are on the road, things are not as simple. The immediate solution might be to seek protection in the nearest buildings. Now, this is not always possible, so you need to protect your RV so you can protect yourself too.
To protect your RV, you need to disconnect it from electrical hookups, stop and park on higher grounds, retract awnings, and put away objects outside your RV like chairs and tables. It also helps to wind down your antenna and cover-up vents and windows.
When talking about natural disasters, you can never be too lax when it comes to preparation. Knowing what to do before the emergency will not just save your vehicle but ensure the safety of your family as well. In this article, we will be discussing what you should do before, during, and after a storm. We will also tackle other tips you can follow to create a second line of defense for your mobile home.
Staying Inside the RV During a Storm: The Key to Safety
It is said that the best place you can be during a storm is inside your mobile home. The reason for this is that the metal casing of the RV protects you from dangers you can expect like rain, wind, and most especially lightning. Basically, lightning goes around the metal frame of a modern RV rig which is why you’re safe inside it. This is called the Faraday Cage Effect.
Consequently, you should be vigilant and check if your rig is made out of wood or any other material (like fiberglass), which may not be as reliable as metal. If this is the case, you should seek shelter somewhere else. Simply said, if you own a modern RV that is likely to have a steel or aluminum frame, you don’t have to worry about lightning going inside your mobile home.
That said, it is also not advised to drive out during a storm. The safer decision would be to drive slowly, find a safe place to park and stop until the storm passes. It is best to stay off the road.
Ways to Protect Your RV Before a Storm
Before a storm, you should already be aware of the possible dangers in your location. First, you can check if you are in a flood-prone area. If you are not, it is still safer to park on higher grounds. You can also check for objects that can pose a danger to your vehicle, especially with strong winds. This includes tall trees and other debris that can break or fly off when the storm starts.
Other RVers also suggest tying down the RV for additional security. Basically, this means anchoring your RV to the ground to make it a more secure place to stay in during the storm. There are a lot of good anchors out there but one that is recommended is The Claw C-200 Awning Anchoring System which is available on Amazon.
Aside from this, you can also board up the windows to protect them from debris and to minimize the possibility of getting water and other objects inside your vehicle. Another tip is also to fill up the water tank until it is full. This will weigh down the RV and, consequently, help keep it more stable. You should also fill up your fuel tank as well as your propane.
With these flammable items, you should then also make sure that your battery-operated fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working condition. You have to perform a safety check to ensure that you will really be safe inside the vehicle and that you are not exposing yourself to harm that may not even come from the storm itself. This includes checking where the transfer switch is (if you’re using a generator) to ensure that you are protected from electrical shocks.
Lastly, to ensure that you won’t contribute to damaging your own vehicle or even your neighbor’s, you should remove items outside your RV like camp chairs and even your awning. Load them into your vehicle until the storm passes.
Ways to Protect Your RV During a Storm
During a storm, it is vital that you find a safe place to stop. As mentioned above, do not stay in areas that are easily flooded because it is said to take only two feet of water to float an RV. On top of sweeping away your vehicle, water can also damage your engine. This is very important because once damaged, you may be unable to restart your vehicle and you would have to leave the RV to get to a safer shelter.
Aside from putting away awnings and putting down stabilizers, you should also wind down your antennas. This is an essential tip because lightning can actually burn off your wiring.
Boarding up your windows is a task that cannot be done during a storm. But, covering up other openings like vents may be done from inside the vehicle. If you were not able to board up your windows, you can still protect yourself from the inside by putting blinds down. This will serve as an extra layer of protection from windows shattering.
Ways to Protect Your RV After a Storm
After a storm, do not go anywhere immediately. You should be wary of debris and downed power lines that may cause you to harm even if the storm is over. You should also expect that there may be flooded areas in your path. So, wait it out a bit, and listen to the radio for news updates and other announcements you might need to know before you drive out again.
Cannot Relocate Your RV or Less Than an Hour of Notice: What To Do
The very first thing that you should do is to always stay calm. Make sure that you locate the closest storm shelter and be prepared to go to the location. Always tune into local weather forecast stations and National Weather Service so that you know what is going on with the storm. It is always important that you stay updated so that you can be safe.
Everyone in your RV should have sturdy shoes available during a storm and make sure that you skip the flip flops as you may return to debris fields when you are on your way to the closest storm shelter near your location. Also, it is important that you have jackets available for you to wear since it tends to get cold during a storm.
It is also best that you have an Emergency or Evacuation Go Bag packed and at the door ready for you to go or in your rig. Portable kennels should also be included in your packing list for your rig and leashes so that you are ready to go when it comes to your pets.
Every member of your family or party should make a quick bathroom visit so that you don’t have to fight the storm. Now, this wouldn’t be an issue if you already have a bathroom available in your RV. When you have time, make sure that you secure any outdoor gear such as chairs, tents, grills, etc.
Lastly, don’t forget to take your pets for a potty break before the storm hits and gets worse. You don’t want to find them going to the bathroom inside your RV which can get stinky and yucky.
Creating Your RV Go Bag: Best Thing to Have During an Emergency
As I have mentioned above, you should have an RV Go Bag with you in the event of an evacuation. It is important that you include your medical needs, important papers, water, and food. The following is a list of things that you should include in the bag and you can add or remove the suggestions below to accommodate yourself and the rest of the members included in your rig.
At a minimum, you should have the following in your RV Go Bag:
- Bank and ATM Cards
- Important Legal Papers
- Identification and Drivers License
- Contacts and Phone Numbers
- Prescriptions and Eyeglasses
- First Aid Kit
- Flashlight (also include fresh batteries)
- USB Power Banks (make sure it is fully charged)
- Cellphones and Cords
- Weather Radio
- Granola bars, Snack, Dried Fruits
- Water for Drinking (for you and your pets)
- Pet Food and Bowls
- Pet Harnesses and Leashes
- Carriers or Kennels for Your Pets
You should include at least two gallons or more of drinking water in your rig at all times. It is also important that you have cash available in your bag and know that during a power outage, you might not be able to access your money through ATMs or use your bank cards for payment for meals, fuel, or lodging.
Know the Four Stages of Weather Warnings: Keep Yourself Updated
There are different stages of weather warnings that you should be aware of so that you can be safe in your RV during a storm. The first stage that you need to know is the weather outlook which is issued when a hazardous weather event is about to happen next week. It is intended to raise awareness for potential significant weather that could threaten life or your property.
The second stage is the weather advisory which is issued when a hazardous weather event will be likely or imminent to occur. Advisories in this stage are less serious conditions than warnings that can cause significant inconvenience and when you are not cautious it could be life-threatening to yourself or your property.
The third stage is issued when the risk of hazardous weather events has increased significantly but the location, timing, or occurrence is uncertain. It is called the weather watch which means that hazardous weather is possible. You should have a plan of action in this stage and you should listen for information as well as possible warnings especially when you plan to travel or do outdoor activities.
The last stage is called the weather warning which is issued when a hazardous weather event is imminent, occurring, or likely. The warning means the weather conditions pose a threat to your life or property. People that are on this path of storm may need to take protective action.
Other Tips to Protect Yourself During a Storm
Aside from the different tips I have mentioned above, the following will talk about some other tips that you can do to protect yourself during a storm. You can follow these tips to make sure that you and your rig are safe in case of a storm that might happen during your adventure.
Always Stay Updated: A Great Way to Stay Safe During a Storm
When it comes to natural disasters like storms, it is important to stay informed. What’s even more essential is that you are informed ahead of the calamity. This gives you ample time to plan what to do, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area. Thus, it is suggested for you keep a battery-operated or solar-powered radio in case of emergencies. Since these may also be unreliable if the storm lasts longer than expected, hand-crank radios are also a good choice.
Hand crank radios are very “stormproof” because they are not vulnerable to service or power disruption. Modern hand cranks like the one from Midland USA even offer additional power source options aside from the crank itself. You can make use of solar panels, AA batteries, and even lithium-ion batteries.
Keep an Emergency Bag: Best Way to Stay Safe
In connection to the first tip, there are other items you should keep inside an emergency bag. This includes medications, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and extra batteries. Some people also advise bringing an extra phone battery and an extra phone charger in their bags. (You can get a power bank too!) On top of the essentials, packing some cash is also suggested, just in case.
Stock Up on Food and Water
If you have enough time before the storm, purchase enough food and water supplies. A good estimate is that one person needs about a gallon of water per day. You should also stock up on non-perishable food and other dishes that are easy to prepare without the use of a stove or a microwave. If you have pets, make sure to prepare for their needs as well.
Keep Items Inside Your RV Safe
Some items inside your RV may come loose during the storm. So, make sure to secure your cabinets and cupboards since objects like glass and plates may be dangerous when broken. You should also keep important documents in zip locks or other waterproof containers. You can never be too sure about what can happen, especially if there are strong rains. Then again, better safe than sorry!
Know Where To Go If Your RV Can’t Protect You
Even if an RV is a safe and secure place to stay during most storms, there are instances when you have to seek shelter in more stable places. Thus, be sure to know where you can go in case of severe weather conditions. Being prepared will definitely make the experience less stressful and will help you to think clearly when the time comes.
All in all, protecting your RV in a storm all comes down to planning in advance. There is no better solution than being prepared because it gives you enough time to strategize and think of the best options for you and your family. More importantly, if you prepare ahead of time, you can stormproof your RV and stock up on tools and supplies you will need during emergencies. Definitely, when it comes to keeping both your RV and family safe, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”