Traveling on the open road with the wind in your hair and nature all around is the perfection that touches the gypsy soul in many people. Today’s RV’s, motorhomes, mini-RV’s and towables offer so many of the conveniences while also giving us the opportunity to see the country.
However, there are some security and safety concerns that you will want to be aware of so that you can have the very best trips possible.
Security Systems and Tricks
A majority of people back into a site to make things easier for them. The problem with this is that it also makes it easy for someone to hijack your trailer or vehicle. It might be a bit more of a hassle to reverse your parking direction, but thieves will be looking for fast-and-easy and it can act as a deterrent.
Examine the locks of your RV, mini-RV, or towable and beef them up. There are many newer higher security locks on the market that will make it a more difficult task to break into. Some of the new locks also have keys that can’t be duplicated.
Think about adding a “security boot”. This prevents the wheels from turning via an extension. Remember to get the type that covers the entire lug nut areas as devious characters may try to change the wheels. Once again, this is an added protection that can keep thieves from trying to steal away your home away from home.
Another highly recommended suggestion is to also invest in a security system. They are available in a number of varieties that include alarms for all doors/windows/areas that open as well as cameras. Just as with in-home security systems, you can arm and disarm via a mobile app and some give the option on going online to view from the cameras themselves. You may also want to include motion detector lights. These are helpful when you lock up at night and should be installed six to ten feet above ground; pointing in the direction where there are dark places. Any motion will trigger the light to come on. A deterrent for thieves as well as some of the wild critters that you might have roaming around. A helpful tip is to invest in a good security system that you can also make use of when your RV, motorhome, mini-RV or trailer is parked at home.
While this may be a no-brainer, remember to keep all valuables out of sight. This means don’t display them when you are out and about at the camp site and pull all shades or shutters closed. Very important if you enjoy socialized camping where there are lots of people.
Another high recommendation is to invest in a good safe for the inside that can hold any valuables that you don’t want to constantly take with you. These could be anything from jewelry to credit cards.
First Aid Safety
This topic is one that many assume will be simple to address but if you think about all of the potential hazards and injuries that can occur while you are visiting campgrounds and out in nature, it could quickly transition to the overwhelming. To begin with, there is no way that you can prepare for all of the potentially harmful conditions, but you can make sure that you address many of them with a well-thought out first aid kit and some training.
Beyond just a first aid kit that you purchase at your local pharmacy, consider buying a trauma first aid kit as well. These go a step above the contents of a standard kit and can meet the needs of situations that are slightly more serious.
The most minimal first aid kit should include the following items:
- First Aid Instruction Booklet
- Band-Aids: variety of sizes, purposes
- Moleskin for blisters
- Wound closure strips
- Safety pins
- Sterile gloves
- Antiseptic towelettes
- Alcohol Prep Pads
- Sterile Gauze (roll and pads)
- Adhesive Bandages
- Medical tape
- Sting relief pads
- Antibiotic ointment
- Burn cream
- Aloe Vera gel
- Calamine lotion
- Pepto Bismol or other anti-diarrhea
- Instant cold compress
- Eye pads
- Eye wash
- Antibacterial soap
Don’t forget to include duct tape as a priority item. It won’t be applied to the skin directly but can be used to secure splints and even to hold pressure on more expansive wounds. Be sure to store the kit along with a few extra clean towels that can be used for emergencies.
All prescription medications should be carefully kept in lockable areas and you may want to include the first aid kits in the same locations. If you have anyone that is allergic to bee stings you will need to have emergency Epi-pens. For those that may have slight allergies to such pests as fire ants, the antihistamines will come in handy.
Recommendations from the Red Cross also include other important first aid kit items such as blankets, flashlights and radios. The new “space blankets” offer added reflection and radiation qualities that assist in helping to retain body heat during an emergency. They don’t take up a lot of room as they fold up and can fit in small places.
If any injury is severe, including excessive bleeding, always go directly to the closest hospital or emergency clinic. Never make the assumption that you can handle things on your own.
Just the mere thought of a fire in your RV, motorhome or towable probably brings nightmare shudders to you and your family. However, just as you try to prevent fires in your permanent home, so should you do the same in the home that you use for traveling.
A majority of the fires that occur on the road are preventable. This equates to the fact that many fires that break out are due to problems that went overlooked until they were too late. This is why it is a high priority to have your entire RV, motorhome, mini-RV or towable completely checked out well before you plan to leave on a trip and check it monthly when it is parked at home. Inspecting areas such as all connections and hoses in the engine, the propane and electrical systems to ensure that nothing is leaking.
A radiator check is important along with taking a close look at the engine insulation. Anything that appears worn or simply doesn’t look right should be replaced/fixed. The engine area inspection should be one that includes seeing if there are any grease or grime buildup. If there is a fuel leak it can combine with the dirt/grime and catch on fire. Take a good hard look at the undercarriage area to make sure that nothing is loose or dragging. Brake drag can also cause friction which can be a fire hazard.
Electrical connections on the inside (and outside) should be inspected to ensure their integrity. They should have solid, good connections with wires that are in excellent shape and don’t display any fraying or exposure. If you do have to have repairs done, make sure that you use a licensed electrician for the work. This is not a DIY job and if anything does happen and your insurance company recognizes that it was not repaired by someone that was licensed, they can refuse to cover the expense.
Propane can be dangerous so check propane connections and lines and tanks on a consistent basis. Turn the valves off when you aren’t using them as it can contribute to a fire from another location. Best practices suggest that you completely turn your propane off and that can affect refrigeration as well as less heat or cooling. If there are any spills, always clean up immediately.
RV batteries are another high potential for hazards. They should always be replaced on a regular basis, never used if there are leaks appearing and should be vented properly. Even small batteries that we use in our technology devices and flashlights need to be stored in plastic bags to avoid leakage and problems.
One of the things some don’t realize is that when you are pulling into a campsite of any sort, you need to pay attention to what is under the carriage. Many of these parts can become overheated and if you have brush or dry grass underneath, they can catch on fire.
It goes without saying that you need to keep your campfires far away from your RV, motorhome, mini-RV or towable. Make sure that you comply with safe practices, only have fires in designated areas and put all fires completely out (that means no smoldering).
Having a couple of fire extinguishers handy on the inside is an absolute must. You can also keep baking soda to assist in putting out a grease fire. Make sure that everyone that is traveling with you knows how the extinguishers work and what the various types of extinguishers are for.
In addition to extinguishers, make sure that you have functioning fire and CO2 detectors. Checking on them should be part of your safety actions before any trip is taken.
An important step to take is to review all safety routines and requirements with everyone that is accompanying you in your travels. This includes fire as well as first aid. People need to react quickly in emergencies and when everyone knows where everything is kept and how to use each item it can mean the difference between life and death as well as the keeping destruction of your home away from home from happening. This is especially true if you are traveling with older children as they will need to be educated on this topic.
The adage of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” stands true when you are out on the road and are responsible for yourselves. Accountability in the safety and security of those that you love is the priority.
Additional RV Safety and Security Resources