The Recreation Vehicle Safety Education Foundation has introduced a program designed to enhance RV travel safety.
The Recreation Vehicle Safety Education Foundation (RVSEF) has completed work on its comprehensive RV Safety Education Program, and it is now available to FMCA members. RVSEF, a nonprofit safety education organization, provides safety education materials and services to the RV community. Many FMCA members have availed themselves of the motorhome weighing services that RVSEF offers, previously under the name A’Weigh We Go, and have attended the RVSEF seminars at area rallies and conventions, as part of the FMCA Education Program.
According to John Anderson, RVSEF executive director and A’Weigh We Go founder, the new safety package is the culmination of two years of work and an investment of more than $250,000. “We thought that we would be ready a year ago,” he said, “but quality was more important to us than time schedules. The original concept was that we would create a handbook on each of the subjects, with a videotape supplementing the books. As the project developed, we realized that the books were important, but that the video would have to be much more comprehensive than we had budgeted for.”
The package is a self-paced program, designed to address the needs of everyone who travels in the RV, from children to adults. RVSEF suggests that the reader set aside time for the family to work through it together, and discuss the material. This includes identifying situations that may be different in their specific RV, requiring modified procedures. Developing checklists and planned procedures, such as emergency escape plans, are key ingredients in the program.
The program includes the following nine subjects:
Propane: Covers basic information about what propane is and how it is used in an RV, and the components critical to its safe loading and use.
Weight: Covers proper weight distribution and load management, as well as tips on purchasing an RV that will help to minimize the risk of ending up with weight-related problems.
Tires: Includes all the information on tire design, application, inflation, and maintenance that the RV owner should know to ensure optimum tire life and performance. Included in the video for this subject is the highly acclaimed “Critical Factor” tape produced by Michelin, which shows actual tire blowouts and illustrates the recommended procedures to ensure complete control of the RV. This video has been attributed to saving the lives of many RVers.
Towing: Contains information about proper hitch components and ratings for safely towing a car or a trailer. Brakes, tow bars, and supplemental braking systems are discussed.
Electrical: Combining the automotive electrical system with a residential system creates an environment unique to an RV. Emergency procedures and diagnostic tips are provided.
Driving: Maneuvering, parking, towing angles, field of vision, and emergency procedures are just a sample of the subject matters covered to ensure the knowledge required to safely operate motorhomes and combination vehicles.
Fire: Proper fire extinguisher size and type are essential to dealing with RV fires. Types of fires, preventative maintenance, and an emergency escape plan are discussed.
Motor fuels: Characteristics of gasoline and diesel fuels are discussed, and general safety precautions are recommended.
Personal safety: The need for communications, dealing with weather, and security on the road as well as in the campground are discussed.
RVSEF defines the three important factors in operating an RV safely as follows:
1. Attitude. You must want to be safe.
2. Knowledge. You can’t be safe if you don’t understand what you are doing.
3. Application. You must put the knowledge to work for you.
RVSEF, as a nonprofit organization, does not recommend or endorse any specific products, but rather provides the knowledge needed to make intelligent decisions, leading to safe RVing.
However, without the financial contributions from the RV industry that the RVSEF receives every year, programs such as this, as well as the weighing program, would not be possible. More than 60 companies support RVSEF, and they are identified on the RVSEF Web site at www.rvsafety.org, on the booth displays at RV events, and in RVSEF publications.
John Anderson specifically praised the FMCA Education Committee; the Escapees RV Club; RV Alliance America; and Mac McCoy, the “Fire Man,” for their assistance in developing this new package. “We could not have created this valuable safety program without them, and the professional production work of Passport Media Communications,” he said.
FMCA members may purchase the package online from the FMCA Store at www.fmcastore.com, or by calling (800) 543-3622 or (513) 474-3622 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ask for FMCA Store); or by faxing an order to (513) 388-5288. See page 143 of the December 2002 issue of FMC magazine for an order form; the package is not depicted in the ad, but the item number is 917-941. The FMCA member price for the package is $29.95 plus shipping and handling, a $10 discount off the $39.95 retail price. The program also may be purchased at the RVSEF booth at FMCA conventions and rallies, minus the shipping and handling expense.
FMCA members will also continue to receive a $15 discount on the RVSEF weighing fee of $35, as well as a complimentary copy of the RVSEF RV Weight & Tire Safety Handbook, a $15 value, when they sign up to have their motorhomes weighed at FMCA events.