September 2023



Camping Today Staff

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National Officers

Camping Today is a publication of the non-profit National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (FCRV). Issue frequency is 12 (monthly) on line at Publisher is Family Campers & RVers, 4904 Transit Rd. Bldg. 2, Depew, New York 14043-4906. Office Manager – Pat Wittmeyer 716-668-6242, [email protected] Camping Today is supported through FCRV memberships.  OWNER: National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (non-profit), 4804 Transit Rd. Bldg.2, Depew, New York 14043-4906. Bondholders, mortgage, and other security owners holding 1% or more of bonds, mortgages, and other securities: NONE. The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed in the last 12 months.

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From The President

Here we are in September! The camping year is passing along quickly. How many of you have done the amount of camping that you would like to have done this summer? Often we say we would like to do more outings but life gets in the way, and we do not go as often as we would like. This often happens to me, and then I regret not going on a weekend. How do we change this? More importantly, how does someone who is not a member change this? One way is that we invite them to join us on a weekend outing. Invite that neighbor to join you at a chapter outing. It costs us nothing to invite them, and we could gain a lifelong friend. Make plans and invite someone to go camping with you this month.

The Trustees continue to review and consider updates to the organization for the long term. This has become necessary as the organization continues to shrink and decline in membership. Each one of us looks at and takes very seriously the future of FCRV. Not one of us would like to see it fail. We need your input, and each of us would like to know what you would like from the organization. We do not have all the answers for FCRV and welcome input on what you like and don’t like. There are many things that we will need to change to insure the long term success of FCRV. As many of you know, the Trustees suspended the Teen Pageant in 2022. An opportunity was given to revamp and redevelop a different program for the teens. The Trustees gave them a slate that I feel free of stipulations other than we did not want a  competition or pageant. The Teens did present a proposal to the Trustees, and it was in the opinion of the trustees a pageant of sorts by a different name. At Campvention we the Trustees met and voted to remove this pageant portion from the Teen Program. We are now looking at potential replacements for the pageant in the Teen Program. States and provinces were never told that they can not have a State/Provincial Pageant. I believe that the organization will get better as we go through the painful process of change. This is never easy and we all often have to give up something that we like and do not want to see end for the greater good.

Planning for the 75th Anniversary is going well. Next  year, as you know, is the 75th anniversary of NCHA (National Campers and Hikers Association) DBA Family Campers and RVers. This will also be our 64th Campvention. The Campvention team is planning a Celebration, and we want you to be a part of that fun-filled week. This is always time to renew friendships and make new friends. We are set to gather in Herkimer County Fairgrounds in Frankfort, New York, June 23 through 29,2024. You can Register now online or download a registration form. We look forward to seeing you there and having you as part of the Celebration in June 2024.

See you at the next Campfire!
Gerry Pfirsch
FCRV International President

Welcome New Conservation Directors Mike & Carol Burns

Carol and I have recently agreed to take on the position of National Conservation Directors. We thought we would take this opportunity to introduce ourselves and tell you why we think Conservation is an important part of FCRV.

I have been a part of the NCHA/FCRV family since 1972, attending my first Campvention in DuQuoin, IL in 1976. Growing up all the kids in our family and camping clubs worked on our Conservation posters, hoping that they would be good enough to go on to the State or even the National competition. Through the poster contest, and despite my lack of artistic ability, I learned about nature and how our actions as campers affect the ecology. We did trash clean-ups – remember Woodsy Owl? – and diligently checked our equipment for egg masses to slow the artificial spread of the Gypsy Moth (now known as the Spongy Moth). I am sure my experience growing up in a camping family had a big impact on my decision to pursue forestry in college. My NCHA/FCRV family came to my aid in supporting my decision with scholarships at the State and National levels, for that I am grateful.

Carol and I joined in our own right in 1999 and attended the Campvention in Kitchener, ON where my niece Erin White was crowned as Teen Queen. Together we have attended 10 Campventions, first as a couple, then as a family.

In 2003 we took on the role of NYSA Conservation Chairs. We looked to continue the programs that were already in place and share our knowledge of emerging conservation issues to keep others informed of what to look for and what to watch out for.

We took on the role of Conservation Chairs at the 2014 Campvention in Essex Junction, VT. We had the opportunity to introduce issues, opportunities, and different ways of looking at the natural world through speakers, activities, and a book exchange – recycling is DEFINITELY conservation.

We look forward to providing support and information to you through your state and provincial Conservation Directors.  If you have any questions or requests for information, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]

Mike & Carol Burns

Calling All Gardeners – October 15th Deadline

Calling All Gardeners

By Debbie Swanson

FCRV is sponsoring a gardening contest for our Conservation Program.

There will be cash prizes awarded for a winner and a runner-up.

The rules for the contest are as follows:

The garden plot can be any size. 75% of the garden must contain plants that are native to your area and attract pollinators.

It can be a container garden. There must be at least five 5-7 gallon containers and have plants that are native to your area and attract pollinators.

The growing part of the contest ends September 30th. Pictures of the garden, and a list of the native plants must be received by October 15th. Bonus points for pictures showing pollinators in your garden.

The above information, along with your name and address, should be sent to: [email protected]

Winners will be notified by November 1st.

For information on pollinator gardening go to wildflowers.  

Welcome New Members

Family Campers & RVers would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest members:

Deborah Batts Referred by: Julie Abbott
Judson Hornbaker Kristine Hornbaker Referred by: Becky Andrews
Lyndon Reimonenq Crystal Reimonenq Referred by: Karleen Williams
Terry Shields Cindy Shields Referred by: Glenn Maier
Jean Boyd Referred by: Glenn Maier
Randall Morell Gloria Morell Referred by: Glenn Maier
Arthur Hernandez Cathy Porteous Referred by M. Ienna
Kerri McHale Student Membership
Sally Bakarich Referred by M. Ienna

Wildlife and Scholarship Annual Reports



7/1/22 – 6/30/23

FUNDS $25,822.86
MUTUAL FUNDS $52,263.06
RECEIPTS – 7/1/22-6/30/23
DISBURSEMENTS 7/1/22-6/30/23
GRANTS -$4,000.00
ADVISORY FEES -$1,086.03
LOSSES -$12,120.50
CHANGE IN VALUE – 7/1/22 – 6/30/23 $1,431.38
TOTAL ASSETS AT 6/30/23 $79,577.16
CASH $41.28
ECX $8,325.75
ISH CR TL US BD $5,125.98
VNG FTSE EMG MKT $3,678.48
VNG SML CAP IDX $1,761.28
VNG MID CAP INDX $26,845.13
MUTUAL FUNDS $1,531.64




FUNDS $117,659.77
MUTUAL FUNDS $130,411.85
DISBURSEMENTS 7/1/2022-6/30/2023 -$16,498.00
LOSSES 7/1/22-6/30/2023 -$45,191.95
CHANGE IN VALUE – 7/1/2022-6/30/23 $2,421.41
TOTAL ASSETS AT 6/30/2023 $245,687.25
ISH CR TLUS BD $22,724.40
ISH RSI 2000 $5,243.56
ISH COR MSCI ETF $15,052.50
VNG FTSE EMG MKT $2,481.48
VNG VALUE INDEX $23,446.50
VNG MID CAP INDX $2,421.76
VANGUARD TT BD $15,919.11
JH BOND R6 $11,841.14
TRP HIGH YIELD BOND 1 $12,104.08

Retiree Rally 2024 – Mineola, Texas

Join in on the discussion at the 2024 Retiree Rally Facebook group.
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March 18-23, 2024 (Early Days: 15,16,17)
By George & Karen Reynolds, 2024 Rally Coordinators

The Mineola Civic Center is the location, and we know it’s a premier rally facility from past performance.

Mineola is inextricably bound to its railroad history, and visitors can experience that sense of adventure in authentic and imagined ways. Jump aboard the Amtrak Texas Eagle, which stops in Mineola twice daily and travels from Chicago to San Antonio through major Texas cities. Of course, we know our FCRV “horsepower is the way to travel”. Mineola is also known for its Nature Preserve.

The RV sites are very special as they are in front of the Center that we meet in and form a double round ring that allows SHORT WALKS and also FULL HOOKUPs with BOTH 30 AND 50 AMP.

There are multiple facility amenities available to your attendance: a playground, a splash park, sidewalks for walking, and six lighted tennis courts for both tennis and pickleball. As an added convenience, shopping and restaurants can be found nearby. We are working on the Shows and Meal Plans and the complete program to WOW YOU!

Please look at being with our FCRV Family in March at Mineola, HORSING AROUND TOGETHER!



FCRV International Retiree King & Queen 2024 Info
By LaNelle & Leon Ishmael, King & Queen Coordinators

Retiree Rally 2023 is behind us as is Campvention 2023. We imagine most regions have also had their rallies. Let’s turn our attention to the 2024 Retiree Rally in Mineola, Texas. As we stated at the 2023 rally, the king and queen contest has been part of our tradition since 1973. It is not a pageant. It is simply a fun way of choosing a couple to represent FCRV. As a contestant, you have an opportunity to get to know so many people that you may have only given a nod to or just said hi to if you were not campaigning. As for the ones voting, they are always excited to see what trinket you will be enticing them with next. When we think back through the years we have attended, the rallies we remember how hard it was deciding between the couples. We took careful thought as to what they had done in FCRV. Hopefully, it will also draw more people from your state or province to back you, thus increasing attendance.

When we were elected in 2012, we felt it a great honor to represent the organization. We made so many new friends that year that have been lasting relationships. We were able to add awareness to FCRV by being called on to speak at a local civic group.

Most people think you have to travel. Yes, you will get invitations to other state and provincial campouts, but you do not have to attend. The only thing asked is that you return the following year to the next retiree rally to relinquish the crowns.

Please don’t let this tradition die. Start thinking about running. First, get backing from your state or province . Once you are elected King and Queen of your state or province, contact us for an application. [email protected]  515-520-7958 [email protected]  803-341-2470


52nd Family Campers & RVers International Retiree Rally 2024
By Barb Turner, Publicity Chair

The FCRV Retiree Program invites EVERYONE to attend the 52nd Family Campers & RVers International Retiree Rally at the Mineola Civic Center & RV Park, 1150 N Newsom St., Mineola, TX 75773 March 18-24. The grounds are available for early days on March 15 to explore the area. ($40 per night payable upon arrival.) The theme is “Horsing Around,” and coordinators George and Karen Reynolds promise, “This is one round-up you don’t want to miss! Let’s all giddy up and go to Mineola, corral the herd, and horse around together!” Remember, the rally is open to ALL, not just retirees.

The Mineola Civic Center and RV Park has full hookups with 30/50 amps on large, level, concrete sites with green grass. Fast WIFI! Shower facilities will be available. Visit for the registration form and other pertinent info. Mineola is at the junction of U.S. highways 69 and 80, eighty miles east of Dallas in southwestern Wood County. It came into existence when the railroads laid tracks through eastern Texas in the early 1870s. Interestingly, in 1873 it was a race between the Texas and Pacific and the International-Great Northern to see which could get to Mineola first. The I-GN reached Mineola 15 minutes before the Texas and Pacific Railroad! That would have been exciting! The city government was organized in 1873. A post office was opened in 1875. Incorporation came in 1877. In the 1880s a fire destroyed 18 buildings, but the city didn’t die. It rebuilt and flourished, and by 1890 there were seven churches, several schools including a free black school, hotels, banks, and businesses. The population reached 2,000!

East Texas was in the ‘timber belt’ which made railroad ties and lumber plentiful for the railroads. ‘In 1879, S. Zuckerman, a Mineola resident, filled contracts for 85,000 ties that were used in the construction of the T&P RR west to El Paso.’ Over the years, Mineola has remained a small East Texas town with several commercial endeavors. For more of Mineola’s history, check out this link,_Texas.

Plan on ‘Horsing Around’ in March in Mineola! ‘This is one round-up you don’t want to miss!’


Campvention 2024 – Frankfort, New York

Join in on the discussion at the 2024 Campvention Facebook group.
Click the link above or scan the code below.

Remembering Our Past….Celebrating Our Future at the 2024 FCRV Campvention
By Barb Turner, Publicity Chair

The FCRV 2024 Campvention will be held at the Herkimer County Fairgrounds in Frankfort, New York (135 Cemetery St, Frankfort, NY 13340) June 23-29, 2024. The Northeast Region (Region 5) is the host. Campvention Chair is Deb Swanson; her co-chair is Carl Fromholzer.

Region 5 is excited to invite you and to host the organization’s return to New York, the site of the very first NCHA campout. 2024 is the organization’s Jubilee Anniversary. 75 years! To celebrate, the region plans many new activities to compliment the countless favorites which are anxiously awaited each year.

In a change, Campvention 2024 will precede the Fourth of July! Plan on arriving early on June 21 to begin to explore the area which offers an abundance of exciting places to visit such as diamond mines, scenic waterfalls, golf courses, a water park, and a zoo. Early days are June 21st and 22nd at $45 per day, payable upon arrival.

Parking will be cluster-style. The number of electric outlets (30 & 50 amp) is from 2 to as many as 10 per pole, which is the center of the spoke to form a cluster.  Wayne Zuhoski is the parking chair. He will be sending information to everyone registered explaining how parking will work along with a reminder to bring extra hoses and electric cords. A honey wagon will be available.

SPECIFIC detailed instructions on how to get to the fairgrounds will be provided. Don’t follow GPS directions! There will be signs along the route so hopefully no one will get lost.

Campvention Chair Deb Swanson intends to send ‘mini newsletters’ to everyone registered letting them know about the changes as they occur. No one should have any complaints about lack of information before or during Campvention as not everyone uses Facebook.

Commercial Chair Ron Cohee has worked out an agreement with the manager at Red Roof Inn for vendors and attendees not wanting to camp. That information will be available soon.

The parade theme is ‘Back to the Future’. Begin planning your parade entry. Important info: visit . Registration form is ready! Pay before December 31, 2023 to receive a $25 discount ($325.00).

Interrupted Hike

“Interrupted Hike”
Adventures in the Field: Stories from a Wildlife Technician
By Amy Wittmeyer

This summer, while working as a common loon technician in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of Wyoming, we often have to drive long distances to get to our survey locations. While driving, we like to listen to podcasts. On one early June day as we headed to Grand Teton National Park, we were listening to National Park After Dark on Spotify. The particular episode we were listening to would prove very ironic: Episode 17: Night of the Grizzlies. Based on the book of the same name, Night of the Grizzlies tells the tragic true story of the 1967 summer night on which two young women were killed in separate grizzly bear attacks in Glacier National Park.

When we arrived at our trailhead, the true story of grizzly attacks fresh in our minds, we gathered our gear and prepared to head out to survey for some loons. As we passed a woman grooming a horse at the corral by the trailhead, she warned us that famous grizzlies 399 and 610, 399’s daughter, had both been seen in the area that morning. They’d had to cancel their daily trail ride as a result.

We thanked her and made sure we each had our two canisters of bear spray and headed out anyway; after all, we had work to do, and grizzly bears are simply part of the job and the landscape out here. We yelled occasionally to warn any bears of our presence as we wandered down the trail. Yelling is much more effective than bear bells; bells have been proven to be useless in deterring bears, as they are not loud enough to alert a bear to your presence until you’re almost on top of it. We finally made it to our lake with no trouble and found two loons. Yay!

On our way back to the truck was when the fun started. As the distant road came into view over the rolling sagebrush hills, we saw lots of little specks on the roadside that looked like a crowd of people. One of the parked vehicles had flashing lights. Not a great sign; something interesting, and likely very big, was ahead. As we got a little further down the trail and more people along the roadside closer to us came into view, we heard shouting and saw people waving their arms. “Stop!” they were yelling. “Go back!” Looking through our binoculars, we saw two people on the roadside with bright yellow vests on; wildlife control, always present at bear sightings. That was when we knew for sure that there was a grizzly between us and the trailhead. In the rolling sagebrush hills dotted with young aspen trees, however, we couldn’t see the bear. Or her cub.

We backed up a little way down the trail to a high spot where we had a good vantage point of our surroundings. Talking continuously to each other to make noise, we kept watching through our binoculars to see if we could get eyes on the bear. Our number grew by one as another young woman our age, hiking alone, walked up behind us and decided to stay with us for safety. All five of us kept our eyes peeled, but no bears came into view. Then we noticed that the crowd was beginning to disperse and figured the bear had moved out of sight of the road. The problem was, we still hadn’t seen her and had no idea where she was, only that she and her cub were somewhere between us and the trailhead. We decided to cautiously make our way down the trail, yelling and making lots of noise as we did. However, as soon as we tried to continue hiking, a few straggling tourists immediately started waving their arms and yelling to stop again.

Stymied, we decided to give a large berth and go off-trail around where we thought the bear was. We pushed our way through some sagebrush and woody patches over a small hill and climbed back up the other side of a gully. Then we entered a forested area and as we walked along a hilltop parallel to the road, which was now quite close, movement caught my eye through some trees. At the bottom of the brushy hillside, not 50 yards away, two flashes of brown were moving quickly though the young forest, headed diagonally up towards us, caught between us and the group of tourists ahead. If we kept on our current path, we could be in for a nasty collision.

I yelled to my group to stop, the bears are just down to the right, we need to move away immediately. My crew leader instructed us to turn and go straight to the road. Heading quickly through the rest of the woods, we stumbled out onto the shoulder of the road and saw the other people just ahead of us. Things began to calm down as we thanked the small group for helping direct us, and the other girl said goodbye and headed off down the road towards the parking lot. We walked back to the car, hot and tired from our hilly, off-trail excursion, talking about how incredibly ironic the encounter was, given what we had been listening to on the drive there.

Grizzly bears are amazing and ecologically important animals, and part of working in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is accepting the inherent risk of bear encounters. While we managed to avoid a confrontation, dozens of people in many western national parks every year risk the safety of themselves, others, and the bears trying to get close for a picture. Always give these animals a wide berth. If they’re protecting cubs or a food source, they can be extremely dangerous. With a little bit of patience and respect, we can all enjoy our parks safely and keep the wildlife wild. 

Wildlife Grant to Sempervirens Fund

Wildlife Grant to Sempervirens Fund
By John Beck

Many years ago, my parents were campground hosts at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in northern California. We had camped there many times during my childhood so if they were going to be campground hosts anywhere, this was a natural spot for them as it was one of their favorite places on earth.

For two years after they had both passed away, I kept their cremains at my home and didn’t know what to do with them. Ultimately, my siblings and I decided on spreading their ashes at Big Basin. In my research, a park ranger pointed me to Sempervirens Fund and their memorial program. We went to Big Basin and found two trees that seemed to be dancing as they grew together. My parents met at a dance studio where my mom was teaching, so those were the perfect trees for them. Sempervirens Fund made all the arrangements and prepared a memorial package for us including a map and a marker for the site. Many family members arrived and together we spread the ashes and placed the marker.

Then in 2020 there was a lightning sparked fire that almost totally destroyed Big Basin State Park. The park headquarters burned to the ground, many of the trees suffered damage. The park was closed for 2 years and just this summer began to reopen on an appointment only basis for day visits in very limited areas. There is no camping yet and no access to my parents’ memorial trees site, so I don’t know if the trees survived.

In early 2023 when I read about the FCRV wildlife fund grant program, I contacted Sempervirens Fund, introduced them to the grant opportunity and assisted with the application submission. We were so excited to learn we had won an award.

I received the check at Campvention 2023, my first Campvention. Later in August after returning home, we visited with Amanda Krauss of Sempervirens Fund and delivered the check. We hope to repeat for 2024.

About Sempervirens Fund:

Sempervirens Fund’s mission is to protect and permanently preserve redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and other important natural and scenic features of California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, and to encourage public appreciation and enjoyment of this environment.

Sempervirens Fund has protected more than 35,000 acres of irreplaceable redwood forests since our founding in 1900 and has directly enabled the creation of three redwood State Parks in the Santa Cruz Mountain region: Big Basin Redwoods, Castle Rock and Butano, as well as the 32mile SkylinetotheSea Trail, which allows people to experience the redwoods from the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains down to the magnificent Pacific coastline.

The FCRV Wildlife grant will support diverse wildlife monitoring efforts. Covering 11,000+ acres, Sempervirens’ monitoring informs stewardship activities to help Santa Cruz Mountain wildlife not just survive but thrive. Our work affects a wide variety of wildlife from large mammals such as mountain lions to threatened and endangered species such as red-legged frogs, coho salmon, and the marbled murrelet. Funds will support efforts to protect, preserve, and restore habitat wildlife to flourish as much as possible in the face of climate and other threats.

On My Totem Pole

On My Totem Pole
By Alaina Powell

Editor’s note: The below essay was written for 8th Grade English class by Alaina Powell. Alaina also created the totem pole and totems. Alaina lives in Illinois and comes with Grandma & Grandpa Powell to campouts and Campvention. She just started her Freshman year in high school.

On my totem pole I have a Butterfly, Dolphin, Turtle, and a Dog. I chose the Butterfly because butterflies can accept change, and I can, too. I had to accept change when it came to moving up in grades, losing a loved one, or even getting a new family member, dog or human. Some changes I go through can be super simple or even really hard, but I always accept it in the end. I don’t never accept something that has changed. I always do accept it, just like a butterfly. A butterfly can’t just decide not to move ever again just because of one change. Just like if something changes I can’t decide to put my life on hold just because of something that happened to cause change. I always move forward through my life. I accept change probably almost every day. A butterfly can also go through a change every day. They could go through the change of weather, amount of flowers near them, and how many people are around them. I am like a butterfly because of going through simple or difficult changes all the time.

On my totem pole I have a Butterfly, Dolphin, Turtle, and a Dog. I chose the Dolphin because a dolphin is very playful, and I am also playful. I’ll play with my puppy, and I’ll play with my brothers and friends. Being playful is good because life would be boring if being playful didn’t exist. Being playful can make people happy and can make your pup love you more than ever. I am always playing around. Definitely with dogs. I play volleyball, and you have to definitely be playful to play volleyball because you’re always having to go all over the court to get the ball. I can learn things better when I have a playful mindset. Also, it will make it easier to take in what you heard and learn more about it. I am like a dolphin by being playful any day.

On my totem pole I have a Butterfly, Dolphin, Turtle, and a Dog. I chose the Turtle because they are shy. I am very shy. I will barely talk, unless I am around the right people. Like a turtle I would just walk past anyone I don’t know because I would be too shy to speak to them. I’ve been shy since the day I was born. People that were friends with my parents would try talking to me and I wouldn’t say a word, but maybe “Hi”. I’ve never been much of a person to where right away I can speak to someone I just met. I still sometimes barely talk to people I have known my whole life, besides people that I was pretty close with. Being shy could also be a good thing though. So, I am glad that I’m shy. A turtle is a shy animal, and I am a shy person. A turtle and I are similar because of us both being shy.

On my totem pole I have a Butterfly, Dolphin, Turtle, and a Dog. I chose the Dog because dogs are very loyal. I am a very loyal person. Dogs would never betray their human. I would never betray my family and friends. I would never talk behind anyone’s back. If I did, I would end up telling them and feel so sorry about it. I have never not been loyal once. I have always been loyal to my friends, family, and pets. My favorite thing about me is my loyalty, and that is why it’s at the bottom of my totem pole. If I had to get rid of all my characteristics and could keep only one, I would definitely keep being loyal. Me being loyal can get me new friends. Also, being loyal makes people gain their trust for me so much faster. Being loyal also keeps Trust. Unlike if you were lying to someone, their trust would fade. A dog and I are similar by being loyal. That is why I chose a dog to be one of my totem pole animals. I connect with all my animals and this is why I chose a Butterfly, Dolphin, Turtle, and a Dog.

Dear RV

Do you have questions about your RV, accessories, best practices, etc? Submit them to Dear RV and our staff will attempt to answer them. The answers are based on years of camping experience, but we don’t guarantee that the answers will apply to your specific unit or situation. If someone submits a question and you can add to our answer OR have a better answer, please submit below with information about the original question. Your submission will be reviewed for possible publication in a future Dear RV Q&A. So, send us your questions and we will send you an answer. Remember, all submissions are anonymous.

Us here at Dear RV!

Dear RV,

Hi, the question about storing our travel trailer is: do I need to level it in storage or is it ok just to leave it sit (blocked, of course)? Does whatever the ground is make a difference (stone, concrete, paved)? Does indoor or outdoor matter?

Dear Level,

So glad you asked! This is really easy – unless you are going to run the refrigerator and the refrigerator requires the trailer to be level, OR if you are going to run out any slides, you need not level your camper while in storage, regardless of the type of ground on which you park. Hope this makes your camping life easier.

Send us your questions here at Dear RV. We look forward to hearing from you! Happy Camping.

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Smoke Alarms Save Lives
By Joe Boswell, National DASAT Director

Smoke Alarms save lives!  Do you have one in your home or recreational vehicle?  In many instances they are standard equipment for the RVer. Some are battery operated, and others may be hard-wired  to the electrical system in your home or RV. In any case, here are some interesting facts about the use and care of a smoke alarm.

Smoke alarms can and do save lives. Consider this fact.  If every home had a working smoke alarm, many lives could be saved each year from smoke inhalation. Having a working smoke alarm increases your chances of surviving a fire by 50% or more. Most individual’s perish within the first 5 minutes of a fire. During the night if a fire breaks out, you cannot smell the smoke. Fact is that smoke will put you into a deeper sleep. If a fire breaks out and you need to escape, it is better to crawl out, versus standing completely tall and erect. Remember smoke rises, thus the temperature and amount of smoke will be much heavier at ceiling height than at the floor of your residence or recreational vehicle. If you breathe in too much smoke, not only will you begin to cough or choke, but you may also become unconscious in a very short time.  No matter where the fire begins, a recreational vehicle will burn very fast, and there will be lots of deadly gasses (or chemicals) in the smoke and fire. An active fire within a house for one minute will grow three times the original size in less than three minutes. The more it burns, the larger and faster the fire will become . The best thing to do in this instance is to get out and away from the burning flames and smoke.

Now for a bit of fire protection. Test your smoke alarm on a regular basis. If you have one that is battery operated, change the battery at least twice a year. A good time to do this is when the time changes, for example daylight saving time. If you have a hard-wired smoke alarm, these too need to be tested monthly. Under any circumstances, should you take the batteries out of a smoke alarm?  It if continues to “beep” then you may need new batteries, or a replacement smoke alarm may be needed. When you are checking your smoke alarm, make sure it is free from dust and debris. A “chirping” is a signal that it needs your attention. A new battery or replacement smoke alarm is needed.

Your life and the lives of other family members are  precious. Install a smoke alarm on each level of your home. A good place is just outside the bedrooms in the hallway. Don’t forget to put an alarm in the basement, too.  In an RV, you may want one or two alarms depending on the length/size of your unit. A smoke alarm has only a few years of life; so after a period of between 8-10 years, replace it, this includes hardwired alarms. A helpful hint is to mark the unit with date and year of purchase. This way you will know the old unit is due for replacement next time it is needed.

Do you know what to do if your smoke alarm goes off? If you are cooking and your alarm sounds, do not disable it.  Leave it alone.  If you have a “hush” button on the alarm, use it for a moment. If not, take a towel and wave it around to disperse the air around the alarm so it will stop sounding. Take the time to review the sounds of the alarm with all family members. Have a plan once it sounds to act. If the alarm sounds at night, remember to awake the young people in your household. Many times, they may not hear the alarm, especially if doors are closed.

If you do not have smoke alarms in your recreational vehicle or home, now is the time to purchase one. The expense here will be a life saver. If by chance you have someone who is hearing impaired  in your household, install a smoke alarm that has a flashing light to alert homeowners.

Safety for everyone is important.  Create a plan and practice it. Have a gathering place outside and away from the fire; this way you can make sure during an evacuation all have left the residence. You may find it necessary if there is a fire to stay low to escape the smoke and flames. As part of your fire prevention, do not leave matches or lighter lying around where children can reach them. Keep an eye on candles, as these too can be knocked down if you have pets in the household/RV. If you experience a fire, get out, and stay out. Call 911 and give them as much information as you are able under the circumstances. If you have questions pertaining to smoke alarms and fire prevention, contact your local fire department using the non-emergency phone number. Remember smoke alarms save lives.

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