Could improving RV park safety standards prevent tornado damage?

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    BISMARCK, ND—In the aftermath of the deadly tornado that ripped through the Prairie View RV Park early Tuesday, July 10, killing a newborn baby and injuring more than two dozen people in the heart of North Dakota’s oil patch, state and local officials are calling for increased safety standards for RV parks that often house oilfield workers and families.

    The tornado displaced 200 people and destroyed at least 120 structures, including recreational vehicles that served as temporary housing.

    “McKenzie County leaders are aiming to meet with state officials as early as next week to discuss what can be done to limit the number of people who live in RVs and how to make the trailer parks safer, said Planning and Zoning Director Jim Talbert,” wrote Amy Dalrymple in The Dickinson Press.

    Current state ordinances require a mobile home park with 10 or more homes to establish a procedure for responding to emergencies and inform tenants of the plan, though it’s unclear how “establishing a procedure for responding to emergencies” would have resulted in less damage from such a deadly tornado.

    Dave Glatt, chief enforcement officer for the Environmental Health Section, said he’d like to work with local officials to develop uniform standards for RV parks across the state.

    Building storm shelters has been suggested, which would raise camping fees at RV parks. A storm shelter may not have made a difference on Tuesday, however, because the tornado truck at 12:45 a.m. and many were asleep or not aware the National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning that indicated a tornado was possible.

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    Michael
    17 days ago

    When traveling through tornado alley, search for a RV park that has a shelter. Some have below ground shelters others may have a strong built building. There are internet sites that list parks with shelters. I am sure park owners in tornado areas have a sheltering plan in place for their own safety.

    Admin
    RV Staff (@rvstaff)
    17 days ago
    Reply to  Michael

    What?! There are internet sites that list parks with shelters? Oh … wait. We’re one of them! 😆 https://www.rvtravel.com/storm-shelters946/ We keep the directory updated as folks send us info to add. (Do you know of any we’ve missed? Send it to diane(at)rvtravel.com and I’ll add it to the list.) We also have the Facebook group RV Parks With Storm Shelters — for people to share current info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rvstormshelters Thanks, Michael. Stay safe, and stay healthy. 🙂 —Diane at RVtravel.com

    Bill J
    17 days ago

    The excuse that “the tornado struck at 12:45 a.m. and many were asleep” is mighty thin. A few years ago, we stayed for a night in a KOA in mid-Nebraska. As we checked in, the manager told us “Some pretty severe weather is being forecast in this area. We will monitor the weather radio all night, and if it looks like trouble, we have a very loud siren up on the roof. If you hear the siren, leave your RV immediately and come into the main building.” They did not have an underground shelter, but that big triangular timbered building is a lot sturdier than any RV.
    This is a no-cost option for the campground, so Roy, quitcherbitchin about the RV Police and a new revenue stream. You can ride out a twister in your motorhome if you want to, but I’ll head for the shelter, thanks. We travel through Nebraska twice every year, and after this experience, we always schedule our trip so we can stay in KOA-Doniphan.

    Magee
    2 years ago

    I suspect waking up people and getting them to actually leave their RVs would be the bigger problem even if storm shelters are available. Especially in the middle of the night, driving rain, cold wind, etc.

    Michael McCracken
    2 years ago

    I have stayed in RV Parks, one in Oklahoma, that provide storm shelters. These are essential when in area’s prone to Tornados. Nothing is more frightening then to be in a motorhome or trailer in a severe storm. Being a full-timer, I have been in several bad storms. I try my best to stay alerted while on the road and avoid storms when possible.

    Roy
    2 years ago

    OK folks … here come the RV Police and a new revenue stream.

    Yeah – right – brick and mortar HOUSES can’t be protected from tornados and hurricanes … now they want to try ‘something’ for RV’s …. O M G … !!!

    Michael McCracken
    2 years ago
    Reply to  Roy

    Not RV’s but parks. Some parks in Oklahoma have underground storm shelters. More parks especially in Tornado Alley need storm shelters. This of course may drive the fees up.