Living a transient lifestyle is less predictable which makes it tougher for criminals to choose you as a target. But that does not mean it is wise to throw caution to the wind. Criminals frequent campgrounds and rest stops just as they do the "real world". Unsupervised children can also cause problems on the playground by becoming aggressive when they don't have adults around to help them deal with frustrating situations.
"I remember being at one campground last year where we parked right across from the park, so they were always in our sight, yet the dozens of other kids weren't under any supervision and those kids were down right mean...throwing sand, hitting others, name calling, chasing....if I hadn't been there my kids could have gotten really hurt. All those kids needed to be supervised, just to protect themselves form each other, let alone a pedophile."
~Vicki "FuhKaui" (FOTR since 1999)
While there is no need to live in constant fear, taking some preventive measures will help keep your family safe.
- Keep younger children in your sight at all times, older children within ear shot
- Check on them every 15-30 minutes
- Instruct your children to never enter another RV without you. No matter what age
- Use walkie-talkies or cell phones to keep in contact with older children
- Arrange a "sound check" - have your kids respond with a special call when you bellow at them.
- Employ the buddy system
- Talking to strangers is fine. Just be wary of how much information your children give. Teach them to answer "Where are you from?" with the name of a state. If questions become to personal they can politely respond with "My parents are over there, if you want to ask them."
- Keep a copy of your child's fingerprints, description and a current photo handy
- When going to a crowded event dress everyone in matching clothes
Keep your eye out for safety fairs put on by local police departments to attend.
"We use walkies ALL the time. Even for trips to the bathroom in RV parks or if I'm doing laundry and everyone else is at the RV."
Check for Criminals
- The National Sex Offender Registry: http://www.familywatchdog.us/
- Each state has their own Megan's Law site which tend to be more current and accurate.
Bear in mind that registries only list criminals who register - some manage to fool the system and some have not been caught yet.
Order a safety DVD which teach kids what to do in case of an attack at http://kidescape.org/
Staying Safe in Storms
The nice thing is your house is on wheels, you can move to avoid severe weather. You may even be able to plan your tour circuit to avoid hurricanes and the extreme cold and heat. But every now and then you may find the weather sneaks up you.
If you suspect bad weather your weather radio will automatically search for the nearest signal, so you get weather alerts for any dangers in the area. And you can set the alarm go off for serious weather conditions like severe wind advisory or tornado watches.
Know Your County
The guys on the radio assume that everyone knows what county they are in and what counties are near them! This is often not the case when you wake up in a new town everyday. So learn how to identify what county you are in on your road atlas.
High Tech Weather Reports
Check the state DOT web sites to see the road conditions (weather and traffic) on camera.
Dial 511 on your phone and select the highway you want to check on.