PPL Motorhomes: Early Warning Systems For Your RV: Fire Alarms

Your Consignment RV Center, PPL Motorhomes wants to remind you of the importance of having functional and responsive smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your rig. The very scary fact is that, in regards to fire, it can spread though your RV in minutes. There really is no “fire-retardant” materials used in the build of your RV. It’s mostly wood, fiberglass and steel. It doesn’t take much for fire to spread as there is more than enough fuel sources through out your RV.

Here, watch the video below and see how quickly a fire can spread through your RV.

This is actual footage of a motorhome diesel pusher that I was driving, The fire started less than 5 minutes before I started shooting this video.

Don’t mess with fire people. If you have a fire in your RV, GET OUT! Stuff is just stuff, there is nothing worth being injured over. I guarantee you that 99% of the things you brought with you can be replaced, so don’t stay in harm’s way by trying to save your belongings.

Make sure you check your smoke alarm before every trip. Don’t just assume that it is working. You may only have just a few seconds to get out of your burning RV, without a functional smoke alarm, you may not get out at all. If you think it’s time to change out your smoke alarm, PPL Motorhomes has a selection for your to choose from, You can check them out on line, or swing by your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes and pick one up.

PPL Motorhomes: Checklist For Checking Out Of The Park

Your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes was wondering if you have a checklist for checking out of your RV park? We all know that RVers are consummate list makers. There’s checklists for everything. From pre-trip and bathroom inventory checklists, to cockpit supplies, gadgets, food and basic travel checklists, you can bet an RVer has made one.

But what about a departure checklist? Here is a great one I found at changinggears.com.

 

Departure
check box Lower roof-mounted TV antenna
check box Lower roof-mounted satellite dish (TV & Internet)
check box Collect and store all items from outside the RV (chairs, mats, satellite dishes on tripods, grills, etc.)
check box Secure items inside cabinets and storage compartments
check box Secure items on kitchen sink and counter
check box Secure items on bathroom sink
check box Secure items in shower
check box Secure all other loose items
check box Latch shower and closet doors
check box Latch all cabinet doors (use heavy Velcro strips, rope, or elastic cords for doors likely to open during adverse driving conditions)
check box Latch refrigerator doors
check box Close and latch stove top and oven door
check box Lock tabs on external range hood vent
check box Secure TV’s and sliding TV trays
check box Secure other entertainment electronics (stereo, DVD, VCR, etc.)
check box Secure computer and accessories (laptop, monitor, printer)
check box Secure all other items in and near driving compartment which may fall on or otherwise injure passengers during an emergency
check box Close roof vents and windows (except those left open for ventilation)
check box Remove decorative and other items from awnings and store (lights, bird feeders, etc.)
check box Stowe and secure awnings
check box Check slide tops for debris and water
check box Move items out of the slides’ way inside the RV
check box Move in slides and lock slide mechanism, if available
check box Lay down and pad large items which may fall or shift (chairs, tables, cabinets, etc.)
check box Confirm that all sliding trays are latched and secure (external storage compartment trays, propane bottle trays, battery trays)
check box Empty black tanks (do this first so sewer hose gets flushed with contents of gray tanks)
check box Close black tank valves
check box Empty gray tanks
check box Close gray tank valves
check box Add treatment chemicals and a small amount of water to black tanks
check box If traveling with pets, make arrangements for their needs (put food, water, bed, leash, etc. into accessible area of motor home)
check box Disconnect cable TV and telephone line, and store cables
check box Disconnect electricity, and store cable and adapters
check box Disconnect sewer hose, and store hose and relating accessories
check box Disconnect water hose, and store hose and relating accessories
check box Confirm that refrigerator is running on 12 volt DC or is turned off (if 120 volt AC is available in the motor home, then it may stay on AC)
check box Turn off all other propane appliances (water heater, furnace)
check box Shut off all propane bottle valves (unless propane is necessary for the operation of motor home)
check box Discard all trash
check box Stowe all remaining external RV features such as hand rails, steps, decks, etc.
check box Secure all items carried on outside or roof of RV (chairs, bicycles, coolers, etc.)
check box Raise or remove all stabilizing jacks
check box Raise leveling jacks
check box Collect and store leveling blocks from under jacks
check box Remove wheel chocks
check box Confirm that all is clear under the RV (all jacks are raised or removed)
check box Confirm that all slides are moved in completely and check overall exterior of RV for protruding items
check box If RV wheels are resting on leveling blocks, move RV off blocks, collect and store blocks
check box If carrying items on hitch platform, load and secure (bicycles, motorcycles, etc.)
check box If towing, hitch trailer or toad to motor home
check box Close all internal doors (bathroom, bedroom, living room)
check box Lock all external RV doors and panels
check box Check motor home lights (including signal and brake lights)
check box If towing, check trailer or toad brakes
check box If towing, double check that trailer or toad is hitched securely to motor home. Confirm that all safety devices have been correctly applied.
check box Perform a final walk around. Look under and around RV. Confirm all jacks are up and nothing is protruding from sides or roof.
check box Check motor home mirrors, and adjust if necessary
check box Leave marker in RV slot, if returning (common markers are tables, chairs, or a vehicle)
check box Fuel up the motor home
check box If you are not certain how much your RV weighs, drive to a truck scale and confirm that all weights are within motor home ratings

Now that’s a pretty detailed list! For the most part is should look just like your pre-trip list. Keep in mind that there are lots of things you can forget before you hit the road again, so go over them twice and preferably with your travel companion. Two sets of eyes will really help you see that you left your black water lines dropped, or something equally as bad. A misstep in your packing and departure really can ruin a trip.

Have any other lists you’d like to share? Feel free to leave some of your tips in the comments section below! Your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes and all of our customers may find them useful!

PPL Motorhomes: Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day from your RV consignment center, PPL Motorhomes!

It was Dad who picked us up when we fell. It was Dad who taught us how to ride a bike and bait a hook. It was Dad who taught us how swim in the deep end, paddle a canoe and shoot a bow and arrow. He’s the same guy that would take you either to a ball game or a dance recital, it didn’t matter to him, as long as he could see you succeed at the stuff you liked to do. When you didn’t, it didn’t matter, he was always quick with a “Good Job”, or “You’ll get ’em next time, sport”.

I found a great little video that I wanted to share. I think it captures the essence of  Father’s Day pretty well.

Remember how much Dad used to like to go camping? Well not much has changed, he may be a little older, but I’m sure his love for the outdoors hasn’t changed. If you are here, reading this now, was it Dad who got you into your first tent? Was it Dad who took you on your first RV trip? Probably. Return the favor, plan a RV trip with dear old Dad, I’m sure he’d love it. Be sure to bring him by PPL Motorhomes first and take a look at some great RVs…just like you did when you were a kid.

PPL Motorhomes: Are You Prepared For Hurricane Season

It’s that time of year again, folks: Hurricane Season. Your RV consignment center, PPL Motorhomes wants to remind you that the hurricane season began on June 1st and runs through November 30th. Living on the Gulf Coast this time of year can wreak havoc on the area in regards to storm damage and evacuation processes. If you haven’t already, you and your family should not only develop an emergency hurricane plan, but also put together an emergency preparedness kit.

Your plan should include:

  • Understanding your home’s vulnerability to flooding and wind damage.
  • Agreeing on the safest room in the house for your family to seek shelter if there is no mandatory evacuation.
  • Develop an escape route and designate a place for your family to meet in case you are separated. (not everyone may be in the same structure at the time the full force of the storm hits).
  • Have an out of state contact. It might be another family member, or friend you can stay with ahead of the storm making landfall.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers in your house and teach your children how to use the 911 emergency phone system.
  • Better check your insurance to understand your coverage. Flood insurance is usually an add on to most insurance policies. It might be a good time to look into getting it. Oh, and keep your insurance policy in a waterproof container, or bag. You may need it.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items and water. If there is a severe storm, you may not be able to just jump in your car and go to the grocery store. Prepare as if you are going to be holed up for a few days without electricity, or running water.

Your Emergency Kit should include:

  • Flashlights, extra batteries, candles, lanterns, matches and kerosene. Light is going to be the one thing you wish you had more of in case of a loss of power.
  • Portable radios and extra batteries that fit them.
  • A well stocked first aid kit. You can buy a complete kit almost anywhere these days.
  • If you have a baby, they are going to need a ton of supplies: a surplus of diapers and formula, especially.
  • If you have any family members with special needs, you’ll need to prepare for them as well. This includes medications, or supplies them may need to keep them comfortable.
  • Non-perishable food items and water in non-glass containers. Next to an abundance of light, you are going to need food and water. Prepare for disaster conditions.
  • Fresh changes of clothes.
  • Important documents in water tight containers: birth and wedding certificates, insurance documents, home ownership documentation etc.
  • Any prescription medication
  • A fully charged cell phone
  • Don’t forget about Fido and Fifi…your pets are going to need extra food and water as well.

Living where we do, we can’t be too prepared for a devastating hurricane. We’ve seen them in the past and we’ll certainly see them again. Make sure you are ready when the time comes and know what to do in the event of a evacuation. PPL Motorhomes takes this stuff seriously, so should you.

PPL Motorhomes: Fire Up That Grill Safely

Your Consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes know that when it comes to RVing and camping, that firing up the grill is going to be one of the first things you do after getting settled. Now while most grills are designed with your safety in mind, accidents can still happen due to human error. Those accidents, more often than not, are fully preventable. So while you are preparing the food you are going to do a quick assessment of your grill, checking for any leaking fuel lines if you are using a propane grill. In fact a leaking gas line is the leading cause of a majority of grilling related injuries.

Check for:

  • Leaking or cracked gas lines if using propane, or natural gas
  • Misaligned or poorly connected gas lines
  • Follow ALL of the manufacturers instructions…no shortcuts here
  • Be sure to maintain your grill through out the year.

If you Have an out of control fire on the grill top, simply close the lid and turn all burners off. If it is under the grill and you can reach the propane tank valve, shut that down. If it isn’t accessible, call your local Fire Department as even a small fire can escalate into an inferno. Also always know where your fire extinguisher is. Every RV should be equipped with 2 if you can afford the space.

If you are using a charcoal grill, make sure you set the grill up in a well ventilated area, as charcoal can emit Carbon Monoxide which is generally undetectable and can cause serious injury and death if continuously inhaled. In fact, both grills should be set up in well ventilated areas away from structures that can ignite. I don’t know if any of you have see how fast fire can travel through your RV, but it is a incredible speed, you will not have time to save anything from inside as your rig will be consumed in minutes by flame.

Of course, with an out of control grill, the chances to sustain a sever burn is a serious one. In fact, never pour lighter fluid on to hot coals, as the heat will cause the fluid to vaporize and linger which can cause an explosion. Further, after grilling with charcoal, let the coals cool down and extinguish the fuel over night before you discard them. Remember, grilling season and fire season go hand in had. Let’s not have another Bastrop, TX incident this year.

If you’d like more information on fire prevention, visit www.nfpa.com.

Grilling is mandatory when RVing, but don’t let your haste to cook up that BBQ cause a lapse in judgement. A burn injury will undoubtedly ruin your trip.

Does anyone else have any tips or hints you can share with PPL Motorhomes about grill safety this Summer RV season? be sure to check out all of the built-in and portable grills PPL Motorhomes has to offer.

PPL Motorhomes: GPS Systems Means No More Asking For Directions

If there is one thing that we need to know as travelers and RVers, it’s where the heck we are going! No doubt all of you, at one time or another have thought about investing in a GPS Navigational system for your RVs. For example, your Houston RV consignment center, PPL Motorhomes carries a great system, the Lowrance iWAY 500c. The Lowrance iWAY 500c features complete, portable, in-vehicle GPS Navigation precision coupled with MP3 player capability. This system shows the motorist the way to any destination across town, or across the nation. Once the destination is selected, the system automatically displays the best route in a colorful pathway, and provides turn-by-turn directions with visual and voice prompts. If a turn is missed, it automatically replots the route to quickly get the motorist back on course.

So, do you look for in a good GPS System? There are a few things that will really make your navigation much easier. I listed and described a few functions below with the help of a great article I saw about the best GPS navigation features on Consumer Reports’ blog.

  • Spoken street names: Often listed as “text to speech,” this feature means the device can read the street names from its database, enabling it to speak “Turn left on Main Street,” rather than simply “Turn left.” Spoken street names is especially helpful in busy, urban areas where knowing the street name without looking at the screen can be a real convenience.
  • Reality view: On major intersections, such as a highway exit, reality view can graphically represent the roads and signage, making it easy to relate the map guidance to the real world. Reality view is often combined with lane assistance, which points to the proper lane to be in for exiting or remaining on the right path when the road forks. It used to be considered a premium feature, but reality view is now available in many affordable devices.
  • Predictive data entry and dynamic search: Given that you are by definition using a GPS device when you’re on the go, speed and convenience are important. Predictive data entry will highlight only letters on the touchscreen keyboard that make possible combinations. When routing in Pennsylvania, for instance, if you type “Pitt”, the system will then highlight “S” as the next letter for Pittsburgh.
  • Detour: The ability to detour around traffic or another trouble spot is important for drivers who plan to routinely use GPS, though devices vary widely in ease of detouring and the options available. Some models allow the user to select a specific distance to route around a problem. Traffic-capable devices integrate their traffic information with detouring functions, prompting a user to choose an alternative route when traffic conditions are unfavorable.
  • Bluetooth compatibility: This allows you to make and receive telephone calls using the unit’s internal speaker, microphone, and screen. A real hands-free convenience, a Bluetooth-equipped GPS device automatically quiets directions while call is being made. Such devices can display the user’s telephone book and show caller ID on-screen. A nice tie-in, this feature allows for dialing point-of-interest locations found in the GPS device. Of course, this functionality requires a Bluetooth-compatible telephone.

What features are you looking for in your next GPS?  If you don’t have one and want to get one for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, just swing by your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes and buy one. Oh, and guys, what’s the best thing about having a GPS in your RV? Not hearing the dreaded, “Honey, maybe you should stop and ask for directions.”

PPL Motorhomes: Do You Know State Gun Transportation Laws

There is no doubt that RVers are outdoors type people. We bask in all of the glory that Nature can bestow upon us. In doing so, there are those of us who hike, fish, bird watch, explore and, of course, hunt.

Now this is an odd, but important post for RV Nana and your consignment RV center, PPL Motorhomes. It is certainly a far cry from a RV cooking tips, that’s for sure.

Transporting firearms. One of the things that I have been realized, in idle conversation with my fellow RVers, is that there are quite a few RVers out their who transport firearms in their RV for either either hunting, or personal safety reasons. While this information might not apply to my family as much, it does apply to many, including full time RVers. Transporting a firearm across state lines in the U.S. is normally not a problem as long as you follow the gun transport laws laid out by the Gun Control Act which is enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Federal gun transport laws provide that any individual (except convicted felons, persons under indictment for felonies, mental defectives or incompetents, illegal users of controlled drugs, illegal aliens, veterans dishonorably discharged, those who have renounced their U.S. citizenship, fugitives from justice, persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, and persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders) may transport a firearm from one location where the individual is lawfully allowed to posses and carry a firearm to another location the individual is lawfully allowed the firearm, as long as it is unloaded and not in the passenger compartment of your car, which normally means in the trunk.

But, what about in your RV, where you have no trunk? Use a little common sense. Gun transporting in your RV across states lines is basically the same; the gun should be unloaded and stored in the back of the RV in a locked compartment. It should never be in the glove box or console. The rule of thumb for transporting a firearm is that it should never be where you or anyone else can get to it easily and it must be unloaded.

Know the State you are in and their laws.

State and local gun transport laws vary from place to place and it is your responsibility as the gun owner to research the laws of the area you are visiting or passing through. A good case in point is Chicago. The City of Chicago, Illinois requires every firearm possessed in the city to be registered. Chicago does not register handguns that were not previously registered there. There are places that do not allow possession of any handgun. California has strict regulations that may require a California permit and registration for specific semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic pistols, shotguns and any other firearm that is considered an “assault weapon” before you enter the state.

If you just use a little commonsense, transporting a firearm in your RV shouldn’t be a problem. Cooperate with local authorities, police, DPS Park Rangers (you shouldn’t bringing a firearm to state campgrounds) and Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

This is a very informative article.

Can anyone else offer a little more insight into this issue? Who has any additional recommendations to suggest to PPL Motorhome customers?

PPL Motorhomes: Observing Memorial Day Pt. 2

I know I just wrote a blog post about observing Memorial Day, but just don’t think I can say enough. For those who know me, I am fiercely patriotic. Ask anyone at your consignment RV store, PPL Motorhomes and they’ll tell you. Just look around our dealership and you’ll notice a sea of red, white and blue. There is no greater nation on Earth and no greater soldiers than those in our Armed Forces.

I found a great compilation video of soldiers surprising their loved ones with their return home that I wanted to share. There is a chance that you’ve already seen it, but it’s just as powerful every time I watch it. The saying goes: “it’s hard to be a soldier, but even harder loving one”. You can see the relief on the faces in the video that their soldiers are safe at home with them.

However, let’s not forget the real reason for this weekends celebrations and that’s remembering all of those who didn’t make it back home. The hundreds of thousands of Americans who gave their lives over generations of wars to secure our freedoms and solidify Democracy. This weekend if for them. It is for their family. It is for our country.

All of us at PPL Motorhomes could never express our gratitude with a simple, “Thank You”, but that will have to suffice for now. “Thank you”, the American Soldier, who has put yourself in harm’s way so we didn’t have to. “Thank you”, the American Soldier, who gave his, or her life so we wouldn’t have to. Finally, thank you families of our American Soldiers who have willfully sacrificed their loved ones so we didn’t have to sacrifice ours. Thank all of  you.

PPL Motorhomes: Observing Memorial Day

I know we all wait for those long holiday weekends. There’s no doubt that our crew at PPL Motorhomes does. Nothing beats having that extra day off to lounge around your Houston RV. That extra day off can really recharge you until the next long holiday weekend. However, there is something that you should remember while you are cooking up you hot dogs and burgers, reeling in a lunker or just kicking back in a hammock under a canopy of tree limbs: Not everyone can take this day off. In particular, America’s Military personnel.

Always at constant guard, the Armed Forces of the United States keep vigil over the entirety of our Nation. Either at home, or abroad, the U.S. Military not only doesn’t get to spend this weekend sitting around and relaxing, they actively put themselves in harms way to protect our freedom so we can do just that.

For those that serve, Memorial Day is day to remember their fallen friends and fellow soldiers, take a moment this weekend to reflect back on all that the men and women of our Armed Forces have done to protect your freedoms and rights. All of us at PPL Motorhomes will be doing the same.

God Bless America.

PPL Motorhomes: Recognizing Venomous Spiders in Texas

PPL Motorhomes and many of our consignment RVs are ready to hit the road and head into the full rush of the RVing season. Of course, that means more opportunities to engage with nature are headed our way. I’ve recently written a post about knowing your venomous snakes, so I figured one about spiders would be just as appropriate. I’ll be honest here, I’m not a big fan of spiders. However, spiders play a major role in our ecosystem and are under appreciated. Either in our homes, or our RVs, most of our widespread fear of spiders is unjustified, as Texas is home to just two that are venomous, the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow.

Of course just hearing their names sends shivers down our spines.

The Brown Recluse Spider:

Bites and Medical Significance

Like other spiders, the brown recluse is not aggressive. It is quite common, in fact, to live in a building that is heavily infested and never be bitten. Most bites occur in response to body pressure, when a spider is inadvertently trapped against bare skin. Some people are bitten when they roll over one in bed. Other bites occur while moving stored items or putting on a piece of clothing that a spider has chosen for its daytime retreat. Brown recluse spiders have remarkably small fangs and cannot bite through clothing.

The initial bite is usually painless. Oftentimes the victim is unaware until 3 to 8 hours later when the bite site may become red, swollen, and tender. The majority of brown recluse spider bites remain localized, healing within 3 weeks without serious complication or medical intervention. In other cases, the victim may develop a necrotic lesion, appearing as a dry, sinking bluish patch with irregular edges, a pale center and peripheral redness. Often there is a central blister. As the venom continues to destroy tissue, the wound may expand up to several inches over a period of days or weeks. The necrotic ulcer can persist for several months, leaving a deep scar. Infrequently, bites in the early stages produce systemic reactions accompanied by fever, chills, dizziness, rash or vomiting. Severe reactions to the venom are more common in children, the elderly, and patients in poor health. Persons bitten by a brown recluse spider should apply ice, elevate the affected area, and seek medical attention immediately.

Source: www.ca.uky.edu/University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

The Black Widow:

Of the spiders capable of inflicting a poisonous bite, black widows are the most notorious. The female is about 1/2-inch long, shiny black and usually has a red hourglass mark on the underside of the abdomen. In some varieties the hourglass mark may be reduced to two separate spots. Spiderlings and male spiders are smaller than the females and have several red dots on the abdomen’s upper side.

Widow spiders belong to the cobweb spider family and spin loosely organized trap webs. The webs are usually found under objects such as rocks and ground trash or under an overhanging embankment. Black widow spiders are not as common in homes as the brown recluse. When found in homes, they are usually under appliances or heavy furniture and not out in the open like other cobweb spiders. Black widow spiders are timid, however, and will only bite in response to being injured. People are usually bitten when they reach under furniture or lift objects under which a spider is hiding.

Black widow venom is a nerve toxin and its effects are rapid. The victim suffers painful rigidity of the abdomen and usually a tightness of the chest. Blood pressure and body temperature may rise, and sweating, localized swelling, and nausea may occur. In about 5% of the bite cases, the victim may go into convulsions in 14 to 32 hours and die if not given medical attention. First aid for black widow spider bites involves cleaning the wound and applying ice packs to slow absorption of venom. Victims should seek medical attention promptly. Most black widow spider envenomizations respond to intravenous administrations of calcium gluconate or calcium salts. An antivenin is also available for severe cases.

Source: www.ca.uky.edu/University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

As you probably already know, we live side by side with these two spiders in our homes as well as in the outdoors. You can just as easily encounter either of these spider species in your closest as you would under a rock, or fallen tree. When out in the wild, or even your own home, remember that we share space with a lot of other living creatures. When left alone, the Brown Recluse and Black Widow pose no threat, but when disturbed, they can be dangerous. Remember, to “look before lift” and “shake it before you put it on”. Follow this link for ways to avoid potential spider bites.

Have and creepy crawly stories of your own? Share them here, or give RV Nana a call at PPL Motorhomes…maybe your story will make my blog!