RVers have weathered some very intense storms from tornados to blizzards, so what about one of the biggest storms of all? The Coronavirus Pandemic!
On March 5th I drove to Denver Colorado in a Ford Transit 3500 to a show and at the time, the information available was that the virus was basically an overseas issue and we were not to worry. Even the show management sent out an announcement that it would be safe and attendance was expected to be only down about 10%, however, it was down over 75%. I drove home on March 10th still not too concerned about the potential to get the virus and in reality, not educated enough about the situation, although I did take the hand sanitizers given away at the show and used nitrate gloves at every fueling station!
When I got home, the pandemic hit in full force the next week and beyond. As the news spread, toilet paper, water, and sanitizing wipes disappeared from every store in the nation!
On Thursday (3/26) we conducted a Go-Live for the RV Repair Club and had the largest turnout to date. We have also seen a record number of participants logging in to the videos and blogs, mostly I believe due to the fact that we are sheltering in our homes and can’t stand what’s on TV! Several people who have RVs are going to go out and “shelter” in their own space! I think this is a wonderful idea…IF you prepare and take precautions. Think about it…the astronauts “decompressed” in an RV returning from the moon! So I believe we could “Shelter In Place” in our RVs.
Understand the dangers of COVID-19 and how to protect yourself
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is a new disease and they are still learning how it spreads, the severity of the illness it causes, and to what extent it might still spread. The virus is thought to spread from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing within 6 feet. It might also be possible that a person without symptoms could be infected and spread the virus so it’s important to practice “social distance” (6’) from everyone! Limit your interaction with people, touching surfaces that others would be in contact with, and wash your hands!
Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!
There is currently no vaccine so the best way to prevent getting the virus is to avoid being exposed. Wash your hands often with soap and water lathering for at least 20 seconds before rinsing off. According to the CDC is goes not have to be antibacterial soap and/or hot water, just wash your hands often.
Here is their recommendation:
- Always use clean running water
- Wet your hands first, turn off the water, and lather your hands with soap
- Rub your hands together for 20 seconds getting the backs, in between fingers, and under fingernails
- Turn the water on and rinse, dry using a clean towel or air dryer
- If you do not have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% isopropyl alcohol. This is a good option for RVers that may have limited water supply? Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes may be had to find. Here is a good DIY recommended by the CDC:
¾ cup Isopropyl Alcohol (99%)
- ¼ Cup Aloe Vera Gel (the alcohol will dry out your skin)
- 10 Drops essential oil such as lavender or even lemon oil for a better smell
- Place all ingredients in a clean/sanitized bowl, mix, and beat with a whisk to create a gel. Pour the gel into a clean bottle, travel size bottles (3 oz) are available at Walgreens, Walmart and other stores that are a convenient size and have either flip top or pop-top for application. According to the CDC, using a hand sanitizer with more than 60% alcohol for 60 seconds will kill the virus.
Clean and disinfect your RV
Typically your RV will not have an abundance of “retail traffic” or visitors other than you and your loved ones coming in that could introduce the virus. However, it’s a good idea to periodically disinfect commonly touched areas such as the entrance door handle, faucets, toilets and such.
The EPA has listed the recommended products here.
Do Your Homework Before Leaving
OK, wash your hands is the underlying theme, but after taking all the precautions about sanitizing and safety, where can I go? Every day I see reports of campground closing, just recently Yellowstone NP has closed. Some are still open to driving in, however, most campgrounds are closing. The Bureau of Land Management has close their sites as well.
To see the latest status of National Parks, go to www.nps.gov
If you are considering a trip outside your local “comfort zone”, it is important to stock up on essential supplies such as fresh-water, RV approved toilet paper and food. Items like rice, beans, nuts, and can goods can keep without using the refrigerator.
Make sure you let someone know where you are and if you do get symptoms, make sure you can get medical help.
State of The RV Industry
Most RV manufacturers have ceased production and sent everyone home except for support personnel such as parts, technical support and such. Most dealers are on a limited operation with service still available.
It is also important to research the area you intent to go to for what governors and local officials have enacted for “Shelter In Place” and other restrictions. Here is an up to date guide for each state maintained by the National Governors Association.
Also, check with the individual campgrounds, or State Parks for updated information on availability.
If You Do Go
As I stated earlier, several RV owners want to use their RVs to isolate themselves in remote areas. Make sure you understand the sanitizing and washing procedures mentioned earlier, be careful at fuel stations as most now have throw away gloves and hand sanitizer at the pump, and keep you 6-foot distance!
Stay Safe And We Can Get Through This Together!
About the author: Dave Solberg: Managing Editor, RV Repair Club
For the last 25 years, Dave has conducted RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles, authored an RV handbook reference guide and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.
RV Repair Club is your go-to online resource for enthusiasts who want quality RV maintenance, repair and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.
Amanda B. ~ “We were out in the middle of nowhere and you were able to find a provider who fixed our problem. Had you not, I am sure we would have been stranded. Great experience!”