Thursday, March 11, 2010

Safety -- Part I

This morning I attended a seminar on tire safety and then one of fire safety. Earlier in the week, Sandy attended the fire safety seminar. Both were informative and scary. Fortunately, both Sandy and I are very safety conscious. We know that driving and living in a motorhome can be hazardous to your health. But, then, so can just walking down the street be dangerous.

But there are quite a few things that an RVer can do to minimize risk. The first safety add on we made was a Tire Pressure Monitoring System  (TPMS). Ours is made by Pressure Pro. The system consists of 10 wireless transmitters, and a digital readout receiver.

Transmitter is black knob in wheel opening.

Because our motorhome is 40 feet long we also have an antenna signal repeater in the back of the bedroom to pick up the transmitters on each wheel on our Honda CR-V. We installed the TPMS in April of 2009 when we drove Moose
home from Nacogdoches, TX.

Installation was simple. After I checked tire inflation and adjusted it according to manufacturer specifications, I screwed on a transmitter onto the tire valve stem of each wheel. Six on the motorhome and 4 on the Honda. Each transmitter records and remembers the pressure of the tire it is attached to. If the tire pressure goes up or down more than 12 percent, it sets off an alarm in the digital readout panel. I can check the tire pressure in each or every tire at any time.

This safety add-on has twice saved our bacon. Both times we had a tire on the Honda losing pressure. Without our Pressure Pro system we would have dragged the Honda down the road until someone caught our attention or we noticed smoke and/or flames in a rear view mirror.

The next safety add-on was an Energy Management System made by Progressive Industries. This “black box” device analyzes incoming the external electrical supply “shore power” that we hook up to in campgrounds and will not send it into the motorhome unless it is safe. And it continues to monitor that incoming electrical current so that if the power becomes too weak or two strong it cuts off the external power source.

In our first six months on the road our EMS has kicked in twice, until we got here where we are allocated 20 amps out of a 100 amp junction box. Unfortunately, we were having one or two service interruptions a day and so we finally decided to disconnect from our shore power and run off of our battery bank for a few hours. Then we turned on our diesel generator which produces 83 amps of electricity.

Our "black box" is located under our bed so I borrowed a
photo from the manufacturer's web site. 

The Yuma Country Fairgrounds is a fine place, but when you put 222 coaches all over the grounds and try to supply each one with 20-amp service and factor in that more than one electrician has worked on the network of junction boxes and cables over the years, that the chance for error goes up rapidly.

Some of the 222 RVs here at the Gypsy Journal Rally in Yuma, AZ

This is what we were plugged into for our electrical service.  Kind of scarry looking.

Following Sandy’s attendance at the Fire Safety Seminar we went over to the exhibits and bought two new smoke detectors that are especially made for RV and boat use. I installed those yesterday. One in the front of the coach and one in the bedroom.

We also ordered a fire suppression system for the diesel engine and the back of the refrigerator. Those will be installed by us within the next 10 days. Our fridge runs on either propane or electricity and is a lot more prone to fires than is the standard residential refrigerator.

These safety add-ons give us a feeling of safety. And can increase the time between an incident and the time we have to react.

Stay tuned.

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