In the event of a crisis or natural disaster, RV owners have the advantage, with enough warning time, to evacuate the problem area and seek shelter in their camper or motorhome. Being prepared to vacate the area in an emergency – using a recreational vehicle – can save money, belongings, and most importantly, lives.
In an emergency where an evacuation is needed, the chance that hotels in the surrounding areas will have available rooms is not likely. Many fairgrounds, stadiums, and even national or state parks give evacuees a place to park free of charge, which is an advantage to disaster victims who use an RV for shelter. When there is a chance that a person or family will lose everything in a natural disaster, the need to save the items that are most valuable is crucial – having the extra space in an RV compared to a car will allow for keepsakes, pictures, documents, antiques, and family heirlooms to be saved.
Steps to Making an Evacuation Plan
Prepare a list of supplies: If camping provisions are not stocked within the RV during the active season, have boxes or bins filled with emergency supplies readily available and labeled/stored with ease of access. Special needs will vary for each traveler concerning medical or infant supplies, however, a list of basics is helpful as a starting point. It is important for RVers to remember that as long as the towing vehicle and hitch are ready and if the motorhome has a full tank of gas, supplies, and tanks can always be refurbished on the road – the important point is the ability to flee the area.
- First aid kit
- Non-perishable food and bottled water – fresh goods for cooking can be purchased later while on the road
- Basic cooking tools (cast iron skillet, baking dish, saucepot) and dishes/utensils for each traveler
- Can opener, all-purpose cooking knife, mixing bowl
- Seasonal bedding
- Toiletries and towels for bathing
- Filled propane tanks
Have a choice of destinations: It is important to keep pre-planned routes for a selection of destinations available in order to know where to head to first. Keep an updated list of campgrounds/parks within a reasonable radius of home to be prepared to drive in any given direction for safety. Print out directions, contact information, and available amenities at the park so that arrangements can be made while on the drive.
Keep documents updated and organized: Any original documents that would be difficult to replace if destroyed as well as copies of account information from banks, registrations, or memberships should either be kept in a safety deposit box or fire-proof personal safe. If transportable, a safe can be moved onto an RV so that any identification that would be needed while away from home would be available. It would also be beneficial to keep emergency cash on hand to be prepared for the unexpected events that can happen in emergency situations.
Assure all individuals are aware of responsibilities and roles: If the time would ever come to evacuate the home, each person in the house should be aware of the plan and what their role is in carrying it out. Everyone should know what is critical to saving and who is responsible for helping get the supplies and RV ready to leave. Similar to practicing a fire drill, all persons involved should be assured of the emergency plan.