The Cruise America RV Community

There are several reasons to own an RV. Most utilize their motorhome for pleasure and recreation. However, there is another aspect of owning an RV that many don't think about. History has proven time and time again that when disaster strikes, people are rarely prepared to handle it. Anytime there is a major catastrophic event in our world, there are large groups of people negatively affected. Weather conditions such as tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, and extreme storms almost always leave behind a power outage, at the very least. Earthquakes, forest fires and flooding can, and usually will, knock out the availability of fresh water, sewage treatment, food and supplies. The lack of these goods and services may last for a day, a week, or even longer. Those that fare the best during these disasters are the ones that have prepared in advance for them; even if they had no reason to believe that an emergency situation was eminent.

Most everyone has seen photographs or footage of the devastation that occurs during and after a catastrophic event. Homes and businesses become rubble, gas lines erupt into flame and power lines collapse. And that is just at the epicenter of the activity. The press media gives us a detailed look at what happens at the devastation point, but they fail to show you what goes on in the surrounding areas, which are also heavily affected by the lack of relief.

When disaster strikes, residents flee from their homes with only the supplies that they can grab on their way out, and many times they don't even get that chance; they simply run for their lives. One of the most common statements made by the victims of these occurrences is that they never suspected it would happen to them.

The first thing that one must do in an emergency situation is to assure the safety of his or family, and seek to stabilize the situation. This means finding refuge, food, water and survival supplies. If an emergency plan has been developed and rehearsed, this would be the time to implement it. The ideal situation would be to walk out of your door and climb into a mobile emergency shelter.

Regarding emergency preparedness, recreational vehicle owners have a definite advantage, as they have the ability to convert their motorhome to an emergency shelter that's fully stocked with food, supplies and medication for each member of the family. Preferably, the RV should be stocked adequately enough to supply each member of the family with at least three days of needed food, water, medication (if needed) and clothing.

By keeping the fuel and propane and fresh water tanks full (and maintained), the generator in good working order, and an adequate supply of non-perishable food and survival supplies on board at all times, your motorhome becomes a disaster sanctuary. Having this could mean the difference between being victimized, or just being inconvenienced. Remember to keep the RV well maintained, including checking the fluids in the batteries, the air in the tires, the engine fluid levels, and all of the fuels needed to be self-sufficient. You may never need to move the RV; you may just need the shelter and supplies. In either case, you will be prepared and ready.

The items you should stock your RV with for emergency preparedness are basically the same items you would need if you were to go on a boondocking trip. Here are some suggestions:

• Bedding and pillows. Bear in mind that sleeping bags are very easy and convenient for this.
• Clean clothing to last at least three days. Be sure it is weather appropriate.
• Jackets and winter wear, especially if you live in a colder climate.
• Three days worth of non-perishable food and bottled water for each person.
• Pet food if you have a pet that will be joining you.
• Special needs items such as eyeglasses, medications, hearing aid batteries, contact lenses/solution, etc.
• Keep a supply of emergency cash on board. You won't be able to stop and withdraw money from an ATM if there is no electricity, nor will your credit cards be helpful.
• Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit on board
• Remember toilet paper, cleansing wipes, toothpaste, deodorant and any other items for hygienic needs.
• Keep lighters and matches on board for starting fires.
• Make sure you have a supply of flashlights and batteries.

Each time you return from a trip, be sure to re-stock your supplies. Water tanks and stored food should be rotated out at least every six months to keep things fresh.

If you have an RV, hopefully this advice will be helpful and present some useful ideas to you. If you don't have an RV, take advantage of the incredible deals you can get at Cruise America. We sell our used rental RVs each time we get new ones to add to our rental inventory. These used RVs are in incredible condition and will make for wonderful trips for you and your family, not to mention, a great emergency shelter if needed.

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