Could improving RV park safety standards prevent tornado damage?

BISMARCK, ND—In the aftermath of the deadly tornado that ripped through the Prairie View RV Park early Tuesday, July 10, killing a newborn baby and injuring more than two dozen people in the heart of North Dakota’s oil patch, state and local officials are calling for increased safety standards for RV parks that often house oilfield workers and families.

The tornado displaced 200 people and destroyed at least 120 structures, including recreational vehicles that served as temporary housing.

“McKenzie County leaders are aiming to meet with state officials as early as next week to discuss what can be done to limit the number of people who live in RVs and how to make the trailer parks safer, said Planning and Zoning Director Jim Talbert,” wrote Amy Dalrymple in The Dickinson Press.

Current state ordinances require a mobile home park with 10 or more homes to establish a procedure for responding to emergencies and inform tenants of the plan, though it’s unclear how “establishing a procedure for responding to emergencies” would have resulted in less damage from such a deadly tornado.

Dave Glatt, chief enforcement officer for the Environmental Health Section, said he’d like to work with local officials to develop uniform standards for RV parks across the state.

Building storm shelters has been suggested, which would raise camping fees at RV parks. A storm shelter may not have made a difference on Tuesday, however, because the tornado truck at 12:45 a.m. and many were asleep or not aware the National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning that indicated a tornado was possible.

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4 Thoughts to “Could improving RV park safety standards prevent tornado damage?”

  1. Magee

    I suspect waking up people and getting them to actually leave their RVs would be the bigger problem even if storm shelters are available. Especially in the middle of the night, driving rain, cold wind, etc.

  2. Michael McCracken

    I have stayed in RV Parks, one in Oklahoma, that provide storm shelters. These are essential when in area’s prone to Tornados. Nothing is more frightening then to be in a motorhome or trailer in a severe storm. Being a full-timer, I have been in several bad storms. I try my best to stay alerted while on the road and avoid storms when possible.

  3. Roy

    OK folks … here come the RV Police and a new revenue stream.

    Yeah – right – brick and mortar HOUSES can’t be protected from tornados and hurricanes … now they want to try ‘something’ for RV’s …. O M G … !!!

    1. Michael McCracken

      Not RV’s but parks. Some parks in Oklahoma have underground storm shelters. More parks especially in Tornado Alley need storm shelters. This of course may drive the fees up.

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