Severe weather can come at any time or place where we travel. Good RV Weather Safety practices can save your life when you are prepared and know what to do. Spring tornadoes in the Midwest, fall hurricanes in the Southeast, and many other possible conditions can cause major damage and even loss of life. The effects of this severe weather are magnified when you are traveling in an RV. High winds can easily topple the high profile of our motorhomes and trailers.
We consider our weather radio an essential piece of RV weather Safety equipment. We turn it on and tune to the one of seven frequencies that is strongest, and we get National Weather Service (NOAA) forecasts and severe weather alerts for our area.
Our radio also can use the Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) system. A programmed NWR SAME receiver will turn on for the alert message, with the listener hearing the 1050 Hz warning alarm tone as an attention signal, followed by the broadcast message. At the end of the broadcast message, listeners will hear a brief digital end-of-message static burst followed by a resumption of the National Weather Service broadcast cycle. To program NWR SAME receivers with the proper county(s) and marine area(s) of choice, you need to know the 6-digit SAME code number(s) for that county(s). Once you have the number, follow the directions supplied the manufacturer of your NWR SAME receiver for programming. The number is available either online at the http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/county_coverage.html , or by telephone at 1-888-NWR-SAME (1-888-697-7263) for a voice menu.
As part of their RV Weather Safety program, your campground management will have information on the name of the surrounding counties.
Ask the campground personnel at the front desk where the severe weather shelter is located. If there isn’t one designated, look for a building of block construction. Most bath houses fit this description. The worst place to be in this type of emergency is in an RV which can be blown over by strong winds, or set afloat during a flood.
We use a Midland Model WR 120, which has the SAME technology. It retails for about fifty dollars but can be found at many stores for around twenty-five. We don’t always program our radio as it will give broad area information including severe weather alerts constantly. Our radio is on constantly, so we check its internal battery often.
RV Weather Safety Apps
We also use weather apps on our Android smart phone. These are “The Weather Channel” and my favorite, “Radar Now” which uses the built-in GPS and shows live weather radar in your area.
All these apps and radios will only alert you to the fact that you must find a safe place when severe weather is imminent. These Apps are also available foe the IOS operating system.
The “Go Bag”
What RV Weather Safety thing do you take with you when evacuating to a shelter or out of the area? Good question. The answer to this RV Weather Safety issue is a “Go” bag. A go bag will contain the essentials to get you through a stressful period away from your rig. Any bag will do, but a zippered gym bag is probably the easiest to grab and go if it is ALLWAYS in the same place and constantly filled with up to date items. Here are some of the essentials:
- Photos of labels from medicine bottles and packages
- photocopy of eyeglass prescription(s)
- Photocopies of Driver’s Licenses, credit cards, and Passports
- Photocopies of Insurance policies
- A printed page or two with phone numbers and addresses of family members, doctors, pharmacy, lawyer, broker, insurance agent, and other people you may need to contact
- Pet information and vaccinations
- Note: All the above items can be placed on a flash drive to save space
- several days’ worth of essential medications
- Cell phone(s) with car charger(s)
- A small flashlight, preferably one with an LED lamp and extra batteries
- An extra set of vehicle keys
- Several bottles of water and perhaps a few protein bars
- Change of clothes, especially if going out of the area
What you take with you in that bag may well be all you have until the threatening weather passes. Choose wisely and give it some thought. I would never consider bringing a laptop computer, but I have a large capacity flash drive on my key chain with up to date copies of all my important files. RV Weather Safety is serious business and preparation and knowledge can save your life.