Who knows where you are?

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Our travel plans are flexible. While we often have a general plan of where we'll be at a given time, there is nothing set in stone, and if we don't always know where we'll be each day that insures that no one else does. I've been thinking for a while now about what would happen if a tragedy occured while we were out doing tourist stuff in the toad. Let's use a  serious car crash for example.

If both of us are unconscious or worse, who feeds the dog tonight? Who do the police/fire/hospital call to get permissions? Who comes and takes care of your rig? Can notifications be made quickly?

Most newer cell phones have an In Case of Emergency ICE function, and several phone numbers can be programmed in which is very convenient. Cell phones though are often lost or damaged in vehicle accidents. Is there something in your wallet that gives responders a hint who to call? If they call "mom" or "brother Bill" does he know where your RV is? Does he have a spare set of keys if he needed to come take care of your rig/dog?

If something goes wrong with your RV while you are out playing tourist how would the neighbor fix the problem? Let's say your awning is in the process of self destructing from an unexpected wind. If the outside switch is corroded and not working or turned off inside and the wind cups don't bring it in, does he have your phone number to call you and advise?

I have a couple of solutions that we use but I'm looking for any others. We have our cell phone numbers on a label on the front door window glass. Could that be abused? Maybe. We've done this for years with our boat, but have had it on the MH for only a couple years. We've had two calls. One was the awning, the other was a smell of propane that turned out not to be our rig, but we were alerted to come back and check.

We also print our own business cards/travel cards and made a batch where on the back we list two emergency phone numbers, have a description of our MH, and have a space to write in the address and space number where we're parked. These are kept with our drivers licenses and changed when we move.

The emergency numbers are friends who know where the spare keys are hidden on the RV. They know how to drive and use the rig. They also know that they are authorized to do whatever is needed, including flying to where we are and taking the rig back home if needed. This has all been discussed and set up with them. Good friends are invaluable.

Have we covered the bases? Are there other ideas we could use to make the process easier? What do you use?

Good post Ken. Does indeed raise some interesting questions worth thinking about. I too look forword to responces.
Assuming a worst case scenario - a major vehicular accident, you and your wife both injured and unconcious - first responders will ALWAYS check for a Medic Alert ID bracelet or dog tag. Even if you don't have any conditions that require one, you can use it to list your emergency contact, who should have a signed Health Proxy or other appropriate legal document for you and your wife.

If you send them a quick email listing campground name, site number, and campground office phone number whenever you arrive, they will know who to contact about feeding and watering you pet in such an emergency.  (If the campground is reluctant to deal with the situation, they should contact the local SPCA or Humane Society for help.

If you cross borders into Canada or Mexico, anyone who flies in to bring your rig home for you may need a signed and notarized letter from the owner authorizing them to drive it.

Finally, this is a good point to think about whether you have the kind of insurace that would pay for an air ambulance flight to get you and your wife home under these circumstances.

Here is my little input.... There is a system called "File of Life" that may help out.  I received a little plastic pouch, magnetic stick-on, from our local Sheriff department, if I remember correctly. It urges you you to write/type out a note and enclose it and stick it on a metallic surface in your home, so the EMT people get first hand information in case of a disaster.

  I listed all important telephone numbers on it as well as names and home address and phone numbers. Also numbers for neighbors and next of kin.

  What you write is up to you...pets, medications...whatever.

  It's just a little tool that makes you think...why didn't I think of that before. For RV use one may have several different write-up notes. Leave a copy in the RV, hand it to camp office..Use your imagination.

  To learn a bit about it just google "  File of Life  "
My wife and I always let our friends and family know when we are leaving for a trip. We share our plans and even put it on paper for them and call every few days.

We also use Docubank. This is for all of our medical information from current prescriptions, health history, medical directives, (like a DNR) family doctor and more. Our family trust is even available. Thank you, many times we don't want to talk about things like this. But I feel being prepared is a great way to show your love ones that you love them! I would hate to have to have them make a call for a serious situation like a DNR. So my wife and I did all we could to not put our kids in that situation. Thanks again
I keep a stickie note on the dashboard that says "Gordon Labrador Retriever" and a description of the motorhome and its location. I also list a name and phone number for the nearest person who could come get him. I swap the stickie note when we change location. On my iPhone, I have the 'Find My Car' app and the top note on my iPhone Notes is info on Gordon and where he is and who to call.

[quote author=carson]How would newcomers ever find that library post.[/quote]

Same way they'd find any otger other library article or forum message; Either by searching or stumbling across it. There have been a number of links posted to it in various forum messages.
This is a really interesting topic that, I  am sure will bring a lot of discussion. Many of us live apart from close family and travel extensively with no set destinations/schedules. I do not have any magic answers, but I can relate a real incident. Very good friends of ours were on a trip in their motorhome and, just like in the "what if" proposed above, were involved in a serious auto accident. Both were taken to emergency rooms (separate hospitals) and both said they asked personnel there to see to their pets. They also had signs on the rv window advising of a dog and cat inside. Both had serious injuries requiring major surgery followed by extensive rehab. Both had emergency contact cards in their wallets,as well as.emergency contact cards in the car. As near as I can tell, the contact cards in the car were ignored by accident first responders (I am sure they were busy), accident investigators, and the tow company that eventually moved the car to the salvage lot.

Long story short, the hospital/social services notifications to emergency contacts took four days (later there were claims of really heavy workloads). Maybe I should not say this, but when talking to them later, I got the impression that, once the hospital knew they were going to be paid, there was no sense of urgency for further follow up. Noone checked the motorhome until the third day. They had been scheduled to leave and, when they did not, campground workers knocked on the door and heard the dog whine. The campground called the sheriff's office for a wellness check and, several hours later, found the pets who were taken to a shelter by the local animal control folks. I found out about the troubles on day six, and it took two more days to fly to where they were. I arranged for the rv to be stored and secured at the campground and helped with long term care arrangements for our friends. There were some tense moments working with the animal shelter to make sure the pets were not adopted or euthanized but eventually we were able to arrange for more permanent care for the pets.

I have no idea what the right thing to do is. I certainly am not going to send a detailed schedule to the kids every time we travel, and it would be impractical to ask a campground neighbor to watch for our safe return every time we left for a few hours. Be safe.
Wow, 3 days alone for the hairy kids. Makes me think I need additional emergency plans. Maybe letting the campground know that you have pets and if you're away overnight, something's wrong? And it might be nosy, but maybe as RVers, we might notice if someone is away from their RV for an extended time ?

Good topic....interested to see what other ideas come up. 

Other issues come to mind.....No pets, but we often wander off in very remote areas without telling anyone.....lots of them in the Sacramento Mountains with no cell phone service.  If we had an emergency, it could be days before (or if) we were found.

Maybe leave a note at the office of the campground....(space 15, hiking up Scott Able Canyon....if not back by 10 PM Monday, call authorities). 

Frizlefrak said:
Good topic....interested to see what other ideas come up. 

Other issues come to mind.....No pets, but we often wander off in very remote areas without telling anyone.....lots of them in the Sacramento Mountains with no cell phone service.  If we had an emergency, it could be days before (or if) we were found.

The answer to the above scenario is a Personal Locator Beacon.

Maybe leave a note at the office of the campground....(space 15, hiking up Scott Able Canyon....if not back by 10 PM Monday, call authorities). 

  I am trying to think in reality...

Your proposal is just like buying insurance. Are you willing to pay a price for your request ?

  Think of a large campground and 50 people did the same thing. Would you expect to have the CG managers be your guardian ?... free of charge ? Who will check at 10 pm ?

  Not very realistic in my humble opinion.

  Just a simple question.....

For friends and family to know our whereabouts, the DW maintains our intended route on our Google calender, and gives permissions to our family to see our calender.  Or she uses Facebook to tell our friends what we are planning for the day.
There is a free phone app called 'Life360' that links you with your family. It is very easy to add your family members and is accessible only by those on your list. You can block out if you don't want to be found and there is an 911 emergency call symbol, no dialing needed. Be careful if you accidentally touch the emergency call symbol, you get 10 seconds to cancel it. There is a check in icon that sends information as to your location to those on your list when you want to reassure them, as when you arrive at your destination. I currently know the location of my daiughter and grandson within 213 feet accuracy in Flagstaff, Az as of 13 minutes ago.
Hmmmm....... some interesting ideas coming out, but nothing that really nails it for me. Many of the ideas require us to be awake enough to do something, like push the telephone button.

The vial of life is a great program and its basic premise of writing down the important information is invaluable. I spent 31 years of my working like writing out incident reports which needed patients name, address, DOB, SS#, meds taken, Dr. name, previous medical history etc. Having that all on one sheet made our job easier as my crew could take care of the immediate problem and I could take care of the paperwork without interupting. But, if I'm in a car crash and unconscious, the VoF in my MH doesn't help, and no fire department I know of looks for a vial of life in a car. I would encourage everyone to write down those pieces of information on paper and have it available if you ever needed to call the FD for medical help.

Wendy's sticky note on the dash has promise, but I don't recall reading many sticky notes as we were extricating people from car crashes. It just doesn't get done if there is any serious injury.

The fire dept seldom notifies family or friends of injuries. The police and the hospital are generally tasked with that. For life threatening injury the patients are treated by both the FD and hospital under the implied consent statute, so nobody is asking an unconscious patient if they want the treatment or not, or even the relatives at that point in time. For less than life threatening, they will take the time to try and track down someone, so the emergency contact number and their consent is important then. The sticky note on the dash and the VoL doesn't go to the hospital, but generally the wallet/purse does. If the phone is in the purse then it might get looked at. For the guys with phones on your belt, it's a crapshoot. Your pants may or may not have made it to the hospital with you. We try to keep your wallet and phone and other items together, but depending on the circumstances sometimes that doesn't happen. Police are pretty good at getting the wallet back on the gurney with you, but phones generally don't get the same priority.

Notifying friends and relatives on facebook/google/etc of where you are is part of the solution I'm looking for, so my emergency contact in my wallet would know where to come to once they got the word. I'm not sure that putting the address on facebook is a good answer. I need to look at google and see exactly how that works. I'll also look at Life360. If I can put the address on there each time we stop for any length of time and my friends can look there at any time to see it, then I think that will work. Sending an email to my 2 contacts each day or updating google with an address of where we stopped for the night probably won't get done just because it would be tedious. That might be an acceptable risk as we seldom stop in big towns for just one night. And if it's a little town, there probably aren't too many places to look to find where we parked.

Thanks for the posts and suggestions. While I hope it will never happen to me, I spent too many years seeing it happen to others to think I'm immune.


Following similar discussions several years ago, I made up a form listing basic information, meds, contacts, dog, etc., for each of us to carry in our wallets at all times. It includes spaces to fill in the current campground's name and address, phone number and date(s). It is about 2" x 3", then folded in half with "EMERGENCY NOTICE" written on the outside so it sticks up above a credit card in the wallet. It is really simple to use. Hope it works if it is needed.
When we check into a private campground or hotel/motel I pick up one of their business cards and write our space/room number on the back of it with the dates of our stay and stick it in so it shows by my drivers license in my wallet.  In a public campground I just write a note with same info along with campground name and place by DL. 
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