Are you and your RV prepared if (when) disaster strikes?

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August 10, 2013

The sudden shaking of my office, pens and paperclips skittering across the desk, and the rental motorhomes outside on the RV lot dancing like it was a Saturday night beach party. As any Californian instantly comprehends–EARTHQUAKE!

Even after the worst of Hurricane Katrina had passed over, when the levees broke, every New Orleans resident knew–we’re still in for a BIG problem. And look what Hurricane Sandy did to the lives of coastal New York residents (photo).

Mid-western tornadoes ravish the land, stacking what were once homes into piles of kindling. But those who stared in disbelief at the devastation knew of the extreme difficulties that still lay ahead.

In each of these circumstances, thousands of people are left without a roof over their heads. In the earthquake, my sister-in-law’s house was knocked completely off its foundation, red-tagged. The earthquake only took a minute to render five people–including two young children and a grandmother–homeless. For the next four days, their only option was to sleep in their cars. No bathroom, no shower, no cooking facilities. Have you ever stopped to think how a natural disaster of similar proportions would affect your life?

Having a mechanically maintained and fully stocked RV could make a huge difference in the quality of your life following such a disaster. But do you have the skills to live in your RV for an extended time without support such as the hookups you normally take for granted? Obtaining supplies–food, water, and electrical power–may be impossible due to flooded roads, fallen or damaged bridges and highways,  supplies inaccessible due to damaged or closed stores, power supplies cut off, water mains broken.

As an RV owner, to assure that you will be prepared for emergencies only takes a bit of planning, and if you develop the habit following each camping trip, no extra effort. To be sure of your preparedness leave your RV in a ready-to-go state, rather than wait until your next trip.

Replace all food used on the trip, including adding several days more of canned and dry stores (with long expiration dates) than you might carry for just a weekend trip–including extra toilet paper, paper towels, dishwashing and bar soap.

Fill your fuel, propane, and freshwater tanks.

Dump both holding tanks.

Launder all clothes, bedding, towels, etc. and return to rig.

Keep plenty of fresh batteries for flashlights, book reading lights, and all battery-operated devices. Consider buying a solar battery charger.

Fill at least one 6-gallon Jerry jug of back-up fresh water.

Verify that your fire extinguishers are up to date.

Upgrade your first aid kit and check that all contents are replaced after usage.

Keep on board an emergency backpacker’s water filter that would enable you to produce drinking water from even foul water sources, one that removes the microscopic bugs that could cause dysentery and other water-borne illnesses.

And don’t underestimate the emergency value of duct tape, wire ties, adequate tools, emergency instruction, repair, first aid, and survival manuals.

In an earthquake disaster, don’t extend your levelers until the aftershocks have stopped. And lastly, hone your boondocking skills, so that you can live comfortably without outside support until services return and roads and power supplies are repaired.

For more RVing articles and tips take a look at my Healthy RV Lifestyle website, where you will also find my ebooks: BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (PDF or Kindle), 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang for your RV Lifestyle Buck (PDF or Kindle), and Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (PDF or Kindle), and my newest, The RV Lifestyle: Reflections of Life on the Road (Kindle reader version). NOTE: Use the Kindle version to read on iPad and iPhone or any device that has the free Kindle reader app.


By Bob Difley

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