Certified RV technician
This is part four of a series of articles about Emergency Preparedness for RVers.
So what can you do to practice for an emergency? Here are some ideas:
1. “EDITRV” – Exit Drills In The RV. Make sure you and everyone who stays in your RV know how to exit in the event of an emergency. Operate all the emergency exits, and if they don’t work for some reason get them repaired. This includes hatches, doors and windows. Some RV emergency exits can be very difficult to get out of. If you have to bail out for some reason (like a fire), just do it. You’ll probably survive the fall, but you won’t survive the fire. There are manufacturers who make various types of escape ladders, but if there’s a fire you need to escape from you might not have time to use it.
2. Test your safety detectors. Your RV should have smoke (preferably more than one, and in each “living zone” if your RV has more than one), propane and carbon monoxide or CO detectors. They all need to be tested and have batteries replaced regularly (if they’re battery operated), and the detectors themselves need to be replaced based on the manufacturer’s schedule or if they malfunction. I’ve seen many RVs with detectors where the wires are just cut off because of false alarms, and this is inviting disaster!
3. Have an escape plan. If you have to have an emergency evacuation of your RV, have a common meeting place or area like “in front of the RV.” Once out, never re-enter an RV that’s on fire. Call 911 and stay at a safe distance.
4. Using your RV as a “lifeboat”? Folks who live in hurricane-prone areas frequently use their RVs as a lifeboat from their stick homes. Make sure your coach has everything you’ll need in it, and practice driving to the local emergency evacuation routes. Keep the RV fueled and ready to go. Practice putting your emergency kits (sometimes called “Go” kits) together in the house and getting them to the RV. Use a checklist for this.
5. Test your communications gear. What kinds of emergency communications gear do you have? Make sure everything is in good working order. Have an atlas in your RV somewhere as a backup in case your GPS doesn’t work for some reason (or at least more than one GPS device, like a smartphone and a regular GPS.) Also, be sure to keep your GPS unit updated with the latest maps from the manufacturer’s website.
Whatever you do, wherever you are, if you’re ready, you can survive a disaster! Be Disaster Aware and Take Action to Prepare!