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Old 08-13-2011, 03:22 PM   #1
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RV as part of an emergency plan

A couple of years ago, I started a thread the I called "RV Escape Pod" It turned out that I used a few politically incorrect words in my description of the information that I was looking for and the thread deteriorated and was locked. With the current level of moderation on this forum and my better understanding of wording pitfalls, I'd like to try again.

I am not a "Prepper". I am, however, trying to build plans to handle potential emergencies in order of the risks that they present to my family I'm looking for some ideas.

First, let's separate emergencies. The first decision is normally "stay or go". For a blizzard, as an example, I'm likely to want to wait it out at home rather than get on the road. So I'd like this thread to deal with only "go" type conditions. I do see some potential overlap in the planning for the "go" conditions that could contribute to "stay" type emergencies.

Second, "go" type emergencies can come in multiple timeframes. For a hurricane, it may be possible to know days in advance while a pipeline explosion or a train derailment may require immediate (like within 5 minutes) evacuation. While others might be able to, I doubt that I could get the RV rolling in less than 5 minutes. For the purpose of this thread, I'm like to bypass the immediate emergencies and deal with those where notification might allow departure within 10 minutes and up to a day.

The appeal of using an RV, particularly our diesel MH under these conditions is many fold.
1. It has a long range up to 800 miles before fuel is needed, more if I had spare diesel cans.
2. It has the capacity to store water and food for a long time (the actual capacity and the way to create and maintain it is one of the things that I'd like to have discussions about.)
3. It provides a self contained environment which could be a better living during the emergency for us than being put in a community shelter with 100s of our "closest friends."

Now, within those guidelines, there is a range of possibilities. In one scenario, we could have to live off the land for months. The emergency might have crippled supply lines everywhere. Coming into play are water purification and "natural" food. On the other end of the scale are emergencies like train wrecks that were highly localized but that may have had an influence over some supply replenishment even once we were outside of the range of the immediate threat.

To me the biggest challenges are:
1. Coming up with a plan for food. I don't want MREs so it would be our normal diet. The challenges are keeping the food recycled considering the expiration dates and maintaining the supply in the hot summers and the below freezing winters.
2. Not getting carried away on the survival end of the scale. I want enough to get by on but if you follow the wildness type survival guidelines, that is way beyond what I'm willing to prepare for.

There are lots of good source materials and I've read much of it. What I'm looking for are things that the RV can do that would not be available to someone without one. To me, that is the real test for the discussion points of this thread. The RV also has some limitations. I could, for example, drive on some back roads even dirt ones but it is not an ORV and driving over severe unlevel surfaces won't last long.

The goal at the end is to explore ways to get the most out of the RV in emergencies and what would be necessary to accomplish that.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-13-2011, 05:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasfm11 View Post
.........I am not a "Prepper". I am, however, trying to build plans to handle potential emergencies in order of the risks that they present to my family I'm looking for some ideas.
I, for one, am glad that you have introduced the subject for discussion and have enjoyed reading your post. Like you, I'm not a "prepper" or a survivalist but I do like having at least a rough plan for short term advance notice emergencies. I have a gas rig, so I'm looking at 400 miles at best. I keep it serviced, gassed up and ready to roll but not stocked up with emergency rations and again like you, I'm really not willing to go the expense of MRE type foods.

We keep a three to six month back stock of the canned and dry foods we normal use. This came out of being reared in family who's living came from the construction trade. In summer, when work was good, we stocked up on non-parishables. Mother had stuff stashed all over the house. When winter came and there was less work, it was normally parishables only at the store and we ate a lot of pinto & navy beans.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:10 PM   #3
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We have our BAY STAR ready to go, as soon as we hear about a problem coming up. It's ready to roll with canned food and bottled water. Fresh water tank we keep 1/2 full. Fuel is 3/4 full (at least), so - that we can drive to Kamloops or whereever we need to go. We just hope, that we make it out of the district and Highways are driveabel. Hopefully we have time to put some fresh food into the fridge. The Motorhome is a big part of our emergency plan. If we can't leave, we just live in the Motorhome on the RV Parking spot
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:12 PM   #4
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One of my job responsibilities is in disaster/emergency preparedness. There are a number of really good resources on the Internet, a good place to start is Ready.gov. that being said, any good preparedness plans are flexible, scalable and based on a Risk Assessment...ie....consider 10 things that have the highest probability of occurring. If you plan for the most likely events, chances are your plans will help with the weird stuff stuff too.

Ideally, a family should have enough provisions to last 72hours. I have plenty of dried foods at home, but I can tell ya I don't keep that stuff in the motorhome.

For a family or individual, having a contact person in a different state is recommended. That way everyone checks in with 'uncle stan' as a point person. Also, one thing most folks don't know....cell phones that didn't work in Katrina often could text message.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:38 PM   #5
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I'm not sure what you have read to increase your knowledge in this area. There are many sources and even classes that can be attended. My sugguestion is to create a small card source. List the particular type of emergency; ie flood. Then carefully think thru where you would go, what you would need to get there, what you would need to live comfortably for the expected time of absence, etc.

Complete each card in order of your expected response and the order of importance of necessities; life support, crucial, critical, down to comfort items. This will allow you the satisfaction and comfort of being able to pick out the card for the particular emergency and know that if you follow your pre-emergency plan, you and family will be fine.

Water - short term and long term/purification
Prescription Medicine
Food - short term and long term/traps, fishing hooks,...
Shelter - prep MH for freezing vs extreme heat conditions
Energy - short and long term, batteries, solar,
Protection - Those that didn't prepare will take your property from you when they become desperate
Communication - radios, cell phones,
Medical Supplies - elaborate medical kit
Maps - if Garman goes down, can you find your way
Tools -
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:46 PM   #6
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I often find I hate my computer:

Try this: Keep the RV stocked with clothing and other non-peraisables, For medium and long term perishables (IE: Canned goods) rotate the stock, That is when you go shopping, canned goods go to the RV, What was in the RV to the kitchen and thence to the plate and so on.

Short term perishables (Milk for example) do not stock in the RV, in fact nothign that goes in the fridge less you absolutly need the storage space...

Have a list of "Things to grab"

Finally: Do not worry about a nation wide disaster that disrupts things 800 miles from home.. If that happens. The RV won't be all that great a help.

Oh, keep fuel tanks full.

That said: There are companies that make some very good freeze dried foods. Like "Our Daily Bread" Google them.. They ship boxes and boxes and this stuff could be stored in the RV for like 20 years without any problems,, Just add water and (Optionally) heat.

Please note the use of the word LIKE before the company name. Not an endorsement of the firm, or for that matter it's product though I have tried a sample and feel it was not too bad.
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:42 PM   #7
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i do some of this i keep my fuel tanks full so i will have eighty gallons of fuel for my back up generator for my house in case the power goes out like in 2009 when the ice storm decimated our part of the world.
have it for back up air conditioning for the dw in the summer as my gen set won't run the house a/c unit, we are also old fashioned about food storage i will make a trip to Aldis's before winter and stock up with non perishables we generally keep thirty to forty days worth at all times but in winter i like ninety days worth.
as far as going some where else we live out in the sticks so we are where we need to be and my retirement house up on the hill is being built as disaster proof as possible.
I've caught nine kinds of do do from the dw about building an above ground bunker until the tornado's hit Joplin earlier this year it's just seventy miles north of us now she is pushing me to finish it.
but back on track the rv is our backup against fire and anything that could force us out of our home and if someone needs us to come help we can load up and bring our lodgings with us making it easier on both.
being just a little paranoid is good thing in my humble opinion i usually plan for the worst and then when it isn't so bad i'm just tickled
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:43 PM   #8
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Couple of things that I forgot to mention in the emergency loose plan idea. I keep one pump up liquid fuel Coleman lantern and stove as well as a three piece cast iron skillet set, a charchol and gas grill here at the house and in the RV with a total of 4 portable propane tanks between the two. Week after next I'm goning to have a port put on the RV tank line so I can use it for the propane grill and or the portable propane stove. Previously I have thought that I do need to rethink the emergency food supply in the RV, but it gets so hot here in Vegas I'm not sure what could be stored safely.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:49 PM   #9
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Necessary in hurricane country

My family has pets that are not allowed in hurricane shelters. So we use our RV as a lifeboat.

I recently installed an onboard generator that will power our fiver's AC systems. We keep the food and beverages stocked and we rotate the stock to keep everything fresh. The water tank stays full at all times. The rig is plugged in to electricity to keep the batteries (1 house battery and 2 batteries for the separate inverter unit) charged. The DirecTV DVR downloads programming per a pre-arranged schedule.

If a hurricane is within 48 hours of landfall in our area, we stock up on diesel for the truck, gasoline for the generator, and propane. If the storm is 36 hours away we head north.

Our sticks and bricks home is not rated for shelter use, so staying in it during a major hurricane is not an option.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:26 PM   #10
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I appreciate all the input so far. There are some good ideas starting to develop. Let me try "spinning the wheel" another time to see if I can zero in on some key areas.

I'm a computer guy so instead of cards, I have a multiple worksheet Excel file where I'm listing possible disasters, assessing their likelihood of occurring developing short, medium and long term plans for each as appropriate.

For the "stay" disasters, I've assessed the likelihood of a long term (more than 72 hours) electrical outage as medium high. That is high enough in the risk department that I'm going to modify my electrical panel to LEGALLY and SAFELY drive 8 key circuits with a generator. I will purchase the generator soon. My goal is to be able to heat the house, cook (we have all gas range but it still has electric controls) and maintain the refrigerators.

With the RV, I would not be as lucky. Our generator is propane and changing it to diesel is not cost effective. I carry wiring, a few different brands of 30 amp circuit breakers and a plug that would allow me to connect the RV SAFELY to somewhere that was necessarily set up to plug in an RV. We can boondook about 2 weeks, I suspect, without loosing the 12volt circuit. This assumes that I'm using the propane to keep the fridge going and at night for heat with the generator running to keep the batteries up.

Those are a couple examples of things that I've already planned. I see the planning as tackling each of the required services (water, sanitation, electrical, heating, A/C) and having short medium and long term plans to deal with it in the RV.

For example. Let's assume that I'm having to boondock and now a a full black tank. I realize that if it is a true emergency, I can drive somewhere and pull the dump valve but what if that isn't possible in my situation? Is there a way to safely deal with the situation?

THe same thing for water. We typically carry bottled water to drink and the tank (60gal) at least 1/2 full for other uses. I dump and sanitize it a couple of times a year to make sure we don't get sick trying to brush our teeth. On extended boondock, how could I keep us going? We only have a hose input to the system so refilling without advanced planning might not be easy. For this, I assume that I have no pressurized water source but that there may be water of questionable purity someplace close by. It is treating that water and using it to help the RV to continue to function that is the challenge.

I see most of the short term plans for the RV services as being very easy. Heck, we do that now. It is the longer terms that are more difficult.

I hadn't considered dried foods but will definitely look into that.

As food for thought, I offer the book "One Second After" I'm about half way through it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not focused on TEOTWAWKI scenarios but what that book does is to bring up some potentially real life situations that one might have to deal with and it certainly provides some insight to the creativity that may be necessary. That is what I'm trying to work on.

How creative can we be? What kind of a situation with the RV can you imagine and how would you deal with it? What I'm hoping to exchange on this thread are some of those types of ideas.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Couple of things that I forgot to mention in the emergency loose plan idea. I keep one pump up liquid fuel Coleman lantern and stove as well as a three piece cast iron skillet set, a charcoal and gas grill here at the house and in the RV with a total of 4 portable propane tanks between the two. Week after next I'm going to have a port put on the RV tank line so I can use it for the propane grill and or the portable propane stove. Previously I have thought that I do need to rethink the emergency food supply in the RV, but it gets so hot here in Vegas I'm not sure what could be stored safely.
Those are several great ideas, Stan. We cook with dutch ovens over the fire and though I prefer charcoal, I was a Boy Scout and can make it work with coals from burning wood, too.

We share your problem with the heat here in Texas regarding food storage. I've toyed with a couple of different ideas about having the food stored in a more climate controlled environment but in such a way that it can be quickly transferred to the RV. The question comes down to exactly how to how to accomplish that.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:30 PM   #12
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Being a full-timer, I have always made sure that I fill my fuel tank before I park. This prevents moisture from gathering and if there is an emergency, we can "Get out of Dodge"

When Katrina struck very shortly there was NO fuel at any stations all the way up I.H. 45. It struck me at that time that the evacuees should have turned west as soon as they got out of say, Huntsville, so that they would end up somewhere WITH fuel. Just because everyone else was driving north didn't mean that all had to go to Dallas.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:59 PM   #13
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We bought a 12V 250GPH 50' head pump from Harbor Freight, wired it so I can run it off the coach battery or a car battery. Attached drinking water hose on each hose fitting and connect to a filtration system before entering the fresh water tank. Added an on/off toggle switch. Now we can get water from a manual pump and pressure the water past the check valve. If you have a hose opening you can just shove the hose into the opening.
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:35 AM   #14
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Nobody mentioned pet food. My dogs would be the number one reason that I could not go to a shelter. Worst case scenerio, there are people who have kept themselves alive on pet food though spam and foil packets of tuna sound much better to me.
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