Camping Life is Better if Families Remain Healthy and Prepared
Camping life can be enjoyed by all family members with the correct preparation and safety precautions. From RV insurance and environmental emergencies to disaster planning or first aid emergencies, covering all potential hazards promotes a carefree family vacation.
RV Insurance and Vehicle Maintenance
RV insurance can make or break a camping trip. Auto insurers can and do insure RVs but the policy does not cater specifically to RVs and can therefore leave vulnerable gaps in coverage. Purchasing an insurance policy from a company with specialized RV insurance policies will cover more eventualities including RV replacement cost, personal belongings reimbursement and most importantly, RV towing insurance which is required by law, but won’t incur a hefty fee with the right policy.
Whenever planning a road trip, basic vehicle maintenance is a must prior to departure. At a minimum, checks should include the following:
- Tires, spare and tire changing equipment
- Oil levels and transmission fluids
- Brakes and tow packages
- Water lines and gas lines
- Batteries, generators and electrical systems.
Visually inspect the inside and outside of the RV including the chassis and frame and take a toolbox for emergency breakdowns.
First Aid and Food Safety
A practical but comprehensive first aid kit can cover most medical emergencies. Consider enrolling the family in a basic first aid course. Kids will love how important it makes them feel and what is learned can be applied in any medical situation. Certainly it could be the deciding factor as to whether to break camp and head home, or treat an injury at the camp site.
Check that family members are current on vaccinations and pack these additional protective items:
- Mosquito, chigger and tick repellent containing DEET
- Sun protection including lotion, hats and sunglasses
- A variety of clothing for all weather types.
Practicing safe food handling and storage will keep a family bug-free internally. Stomach upsets are no fun with only one bathroom or no bathroom at all. Food safety needs to be practiced by everybody and should include:
- Never packing raw foods with cooked foods
- Ensuring foods are cooked thoroughly
- Chilling foods as soon as possible
- Maintaining basic hygiene such as hand washing
- Keeping food preparation areas disinfected.
Fire and Water Safety
Camping is just not camping without a traditional campfire. Whether gathering to share fireside tales or to toast marshmallows, fire safety should be practiced at all times. Build a campfire safely by:
- Selecting a location away from trees, brush or overhanging branches
- Using an established fire pit if available or encircle the fire with rocks
- Keeping some form of extinguisher close by. A shovel used with sand or dirt is a good fire suppression tool, as is a bucket of water
- Never leaving a fire unattended and extinguishing all coals before departure.
If your camping trip includes water recreation activities such as boating, life jackets are required by law for every person on the boat. Better yet, take the kids for swimming lessons at the local pool before the trip. As parents, it will greatly ease anxiety or stress when children are playing in or around water.
Weather can change rapidly when camping, particularly in the mountains. Always be prepared for the unexpected. Wilderness survival kits are a valuable resource and emergency radios or beacons will always be beneficial. Most areas have some form of an emergency notification system in place that will alert people via various mediums in response to a threat or potential emergency.
A family can prepare for an environmental emergency by:
- Researching the camping destination prior to departure
- Learning of alternate routes out of the area if needed
- Packing a GPS system, regular maps and topography maps
- Letting relatives or neighbors know where the family will be camping.
As soon as the camping spot is reached check for cell phone service and first aid stations. If the phone does not have service or the signal is weak, locate an area as close to camp as possible where cell phone service can be received. This can save an incredible amount of time in an emergency situation where help is needed rapidly.
Developing an emergency preparedness plan that combines common sense safety principles with practical applications is something a family can do together. Soon, these principles will become second nature for each family member and they will be carried out effectively and efficiently without much thought at all.