RV EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: How to Weather a Storm in an RV

We want to be smart RVers, right? Well, with all of the current states of emergency in our country, it seems like a smart idea to do some reflecting on our RV emergency preparedness for this Self Care Sunday.

RVs are probably one of the worst possible places to be during a severe weather event. They are built for short-term vacation stints, not weathering a dangerous storm. So, it is important that we put some time in to thinking about our plan for bad weather in an RV.

We love the unpredictability of our RV lifestyle, but it is that same unpredictability that can put us in danger.

In our over 2 years as fulltime RVers, Chris and I (and Aunt Glady) have only faced one very dangerous weather situation. It was a tornado warning in Gulf Shores, AL, and you can read all about our experience and see some video footage here. Otherwise, we slept right through an earthquake near LA, had ash from a forest fire states away raining down on us in South Dakota, and barely escaped Louisiana during the massive flooding there of the Sabine River in 2016 (they literally closed Route 10 within 1 hour of us leaving the state). We were also camped at Zion National Park when flashfloods took lives in Keyhole Canyon.

You just never know what you are going to face in your RV when you are travelling. While you get to experience and see the very best in each state, you may also run up against some of the worst too.

What are the Advantages of an RV in Emergencies?

While we know the bad news is that RVs are not made for major weather, we also know that with advanced warning, the RV is the perfect home for bad weather, since it can just be moved. Simple. Even for parttime RVers, if a major hurricane is predicted for their home area, they can use their RV in advance to hopefully avoid the situation while preserving some of their belongings.

For many RVers, part of the lifestyle is boondocking. So, they are already set up with generators or solar power, they have stored water and have the ability to live “off-grid” for awhile.

Another unique point to RVing is the flexibility to volunteer and help with the aftermath of a storm. RVers have better opportunities (especially if they can boondock) to be able to visit areas with recent damage and get involved with the restoration.

How should we tackle RV Emergency Preparedness?

#1 Be knowledgable about the emergency dangers in the areas you are visiting. I have zero experience with forest fires, so when we were in the Northwest; we read up on what to do and stayed in touch with forest fire reports.

#2 Be aware of the geographical area you are visiting. It was a real wake up call for me when we were in the flooding in Louisiana. I had an uneasy feeling when everywhere I looked, the levees were above ground level. When you are used to mountains, something just does not feel right about that! At home, you know the roads that will flood fastest and what you will be able to get to, but in new areas, there is a learning curve. If bad weather is predicted, be sure to get a feel for the topography and road systems.

#3 Fuel & propane. Make sure you are stocked up in advance. We try not to let our fuel ever go below a quarter tank. We have two propane tanks on board, as soon as one is empty, we switch to the other and refill the first.

#4 Have a bag ready to go. See below.

#5 If there is a tornado warning – head to shelter. RV parks in tornado alley will tell you on arrival where the storm shelter is located. I remember when we pulled into our campground in Oklahoma City (not during tornado season), our host told us, “Here is the storm shelter, and if you hear the siren, you get there!” It must be standard information to tell everyone, no matter what time of year.

RV Emergency Bag

Here are the items that we think are important in the event of an emergency, and you are leaving your RV for shelter. RVs can be completely destroyed in an event like a tornado – what are the necessities to get you through without being able to get to your RV?

  • Important documents (or copies).
  • Hand crank emergency radio.
  • Water & high calorie snacks (nuts, trail mix).
  • Some cash.
  • Flash light.
  • Phone charger. (I am looking in to a solar powered one too – something like this model.)
  • Change of clothing.
  • Any medications.
  • Hand Sanitizer.

What do I like to keep on board our RV (or in our home) for emergency preparedness?

There are also a few staples that I like to have on hand. These are things that we use daily anyway, but will serve a purpose in the event of an emergency. I kept these in my house prior to RVing too.

Coconut oil. It does not go rancid. It is also antimicrobial, so you can not only use it to eat for the extra calories, but as a last resort, I would personally be smearing it on any cuts.

Raw honey. Another item that does not go rancid and is antimicrobial. Again, great calorie intake, and also effective on wounds.

Water. You know we have and love our Berkey for purifying water all over the country. As a last resort in an emergency, I would be using that baby to purify any water I found – used in that way, the filter will not last as long, but if I had to, I would be grateful for the option. We also make sure to keep water in our fridge and our Berkey holds quite a lot too.

Castile soap. I consider castile soap to be one of my best friends. It is a very mild, natural soap that works to cleanse without removing all of your skin’s natural, protective oils. We use it as body wash, foaming hand soap, in my diy laundry soap recipe, and pretty much any time we need soap. It is non-toxic, so you can use it on anything in an emergency situation, even dishes (although it will NOT work as effectively as a natural dish soap, it is safe).

Essential oils. I am going to list some of my favorites that I know would be handy…Helichrysum, Lavender, Tea Tree (I use in that order, layered on skin). Also, Thieves blend for supporting the immune system. Stress Away or Peace & Calming too.

While I have made it one of my missions to not “worry” so much about things (trust me, did plenty of that already); I do think following a few simple preparedness tips and having a personal plan for emergencies is important. In other words, be smart, not worried.

How do you handle RV emergency preparedness?  What trials have you faced in an RV & what did you learn? Respond in the comments below!




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About Jen

I love travel, which led me to become a fulltime RVer. I love wellness, which I can talk about 'til the cows come home. I love being self-employed, which means I get to dabble in what interests me from essential oils to RV planners. But most importantly, I love my husband and our life together on the road!

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