Your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes wants to remind you once again that it is hurricane season. Of course that means different things to different people, but for RVers a hurricane is serious business. RVs aren’t designed to weather such large storms, so if you are planning on trying to ride one out, you are going to need to be fully prepared and equipped for the event. Even still, that is no guarantee that your RV (or you) will come out of it unscathed.
I found a couple of great tips from an RVer at rversonline.com who lives in a part of Mexico that is directly in the path of some of the most fierce hurricanes in the gulf. He gave a few really good tips about what you should do in the event of encountering a hurricane. His first bit of advice is by far the best. RUN! Get out of the way. Pack up your rig and move as far out of the path as possible. That may be hundreds of miles in some cases, so be prepared for a long getaway.
Category III, IV and V storms are deadly to RVs. Flee if you can. It is by far the wisest decision. Don’t even consider staying in an RV and trying to weather a category III or greater hurricane. A category II storm is iffy at best and a category I, the least of hurricanes must be treated with the greatest of preparation and respect. It’s always the best idea even with a category I storm to do the best you can to prepare and protect your rig, bail out and head for a nice solid structure, preferably reinforced concrete.
Ever think you’d have to board up your RV’s windows? In the event of an impending hurricane, you’ll want to do this, tape simple will not work as the window will probably be broken into a thousand tiny shards if it isn’t safety glass.
Blown out or broken windows are one of the biggest hazards in surviving a hurricane. I carry three quarter inch plywood pre-cut panels, and drill holes to pass three eighth inch nylon rope on the top edge and on the bottom edge. The top rope is thrown clear over the roof to the other side and joined to a sister plywood panel protecting a window on the other side of the rig. A five gallon bucket filled with wet sand is attached to the bottom of each plywood panel. This is another area in which those handy nylon ratchet straps would make life much easier. The idea is to tighten down on the plywood panel enough to keep it from slapping. All of this works great on rigs that do not have huge windows. Big windows can be protected somewhat by fitting a heavy duty tarp in front of them. Beware of accidentally covering up a refrigerator or hot water heater vent. BTW unless you have safety glass in the window taping it does little good; if it breaks a shard will slice through the toughest duct tape or nylon filament tape like it wasn’t even there. Stay away from the windows and draw the drapes. The bathroom usually offers a refuge.
Remember. you will probably be without power and water so plan accordingly:
Count on the power and water being cut, sometimes for days and days. In Mexico I will purchase and fill as many 5 gallon plastic water jugs and I can fit. I remember using twenty of them during 1995’s Hurricane Henrietta. Made it sort of tough to walk around inside the rig but the six hundred pounds of extra weight really helped, and I went eight-days with no outside water service. Be sure water tanks are filled. Gray and black water tanks are dumped; gasoline tanks and jerry cans are filled to the brim. Propane tanks should be plumb full, and you should have at least a pair of backup spare tanks also filled. You aren’t going to have hookups, and the sewage dump if you have one will probably be filled with runoff.
What are you going to do for food? Lights?
Canned foodstuffs may be unappealing but if it boils down to eating canned food or nothing, then having plenty on hand is important. Shopping trips should be made at least three days in advance of a storm and more if you can do it. Extra flashlight batteries, candles, and ice to fill ice chests is vital. No refrigerator brand can maintain a flame during a raging hurricane due to enormous up and downdrafts pulsing through the vents, and it’s best to empty the refrigerator into the ice chests, shut it off, and then twist the propane valves down tight on the tanks. One less worry.
Don’t think your RV will leak? Think again. Are you prepared?
Count on the inside of your rig getting soaked. Where hurricane leaks come from is anyone’s guess but I have seen high-end brand new rigs drip water right in front of the incredulous eyes of their owners. Have a waterproof plastic tarp handy and place it carefully and tuck it in on top of the mattress on your bed. Prepare to use buckets, pots and pans and whatever else is needed to catch drips and drops. A couple of large sponges can save the day. But at all costs keep your bedding and clothing dry. Assume nothing. I place my clothing inside double trash bags and then zip tie them closed. Put all life-support medications inside a zip-lock bag, and use plastic trash sacks to protect life-support equipment like CPAP and oxygen concentrators.
Don’t forget the First-Aid kit!
Place your first aid kit in the kitchen sink along with flashlights. If you should lose the lights, and suffer an injury you need to access this stuff fast. Finding the sink is easy while your rig is pitch black. If all else fails and you need to light a candle, a candle burns safest within the protective confines of a sink.
Want to see a full-time RVing family get prepared? Check out the videos below. Now while the first part of this video isn’t overly descriptive in regards to hurricane preparedness, it does do a great job of showing you some of the tasks you are going to have to complete in a relatively short period of time. One thing I didn’t think about was finding a place for your outside goods like tables, chairs, toys, plants etc. Remember, this is a full time RVing family, so they may have a few more items out side than your average weekend warrior. Nevertheless, when a storm is coming, you are gong to not want to lose your outside items, so have a plan for what to do with your loose, outside items.
Part 2…Hurricane Irene arrives.
Also, remember, you might have a hard time finding fuel as well, so fill up before the storm hits. Having a few spare gallons on hand probably isn’t a bad idea either. Weather a hurricane can be an intense and harrowing experience in your RV. Your best bet, as i stated above is to remove you, your family and that precious RV from the area and ride out the storm in a secure location. If you can’t do that, prepare well in advance with adequate amounts of food and water, plus you’ll want to board up the windows of your RV the best you can. Face the rear of your RV towards the wind so you aren’t catching gusts across the sidewalls of your RV, this will almost certainly result in the tipping of your RV.
If you have any other suggestions on how you can be better prepared for a hurricane in your RV, please don’t hesitate to let PPL Motorhomes know. We are in the season and, as we’ve seen in years past the Galveston Houston area is a prime landing point for large storms.