A Stealth Emergency Vehicle?

I’ve read several articles lately that really get my dander up regarding the senseless bureaucracy that keeps people from protecting what is theirs! Some are about tornado victims, some about flood victims, and some about fire victims, but could just as easily be about rennovating your home and needing an alternative place to live while doing it.

Mostly, the articles are about how these homeowners have to go through all the red tape of city council meetings and the bureaucracy of idiotic zoning laws just to be able to “legally” put an RV on their property to live in while they rebuild their catastrophically damaged house!

When catastrophy hits, the first thing people want to do is get things back to normal as soon as possible. Sure they may have to wait a few days for the insurance adjusters to get out there and look at it, and of course it will take the owners that long to regroup and figure out what they need or want to do. But beyond that, there is no excuse for local governments making people wait for scheduled meetings to come up (which might be only once a month) or to “table” a decision on such things until “more information” can be gathered, or they have “time to think about a rational decision”. It’s an EMERGENCY for Heaven’s sake! No one cares about those kind of decisions in an emergency! It should be automatic that those kind of rules are AUTOMATICALLY given a six-month delay in being enforced, with a right to extend them if necessary!

Hey, Bureaucrats! Wake up! People’s lives and the security of their property are at stake here! They may have possessions scattered all over, where other people can pick them up and walk off with them! Some irreplaceable possessions might be salvageable if retrieved before any more damage is done to them! They have a right to remain on their property once the immediate calamity and danger is over to protect their property! And then they should have an AUTOMATIC right to remain there as long as it takes to get their property repaired or rebuilt… without having to worry about delays caused by people making rules who don’t even live in that neighborhood!

After a tornado wipes out blocks of houses, who in their right mind is going to care if someone comes in with an RV to live in while they attend to the business of rebuilding! This isn’t some third world country, this is America! If we have a right to bear arms to defend oursleves, then what is it going to hurt for an RV to set in the middle of all that damage to protect what is left?! Why should the decision have to be made by bureaucrats? In emergency situations, that should be OUR decision!

But that being said, we need to think about how this relates to stealth RV’ing, whether it be in a minivan conversion, a full-sized van, a cargo trailer conversion, a box van, or anything else.  This is a good argument for owning an RV, or at least a “support” vehicle for a larger RV… that has stealth ability. In other words, if it doesn’t “look” like an RV, isn’t classified as an RV, and doesn’t break any other “rules of the community”, then you should be able to do just about anything you want to with it, including park it on your property at any time, for any reason, and leave it there as long as YOU want to!

A minivan set up the way we describe in our book can be used as emergency living… and there isn’t a darned thing the homeowner’s associations can do about it! The same goes for a full sized van, even one that’s customized. It’s not an RV… it’s considered a normal transportation vehicle. The same goes for a properly outfitted cargo trailer, or even a larger box van. They aren’t RV’s! And although the latter two can also be banned during “normal” times, who is going to question the use of one during a rebuilding effort?

In the middle of a disaster, who in their right mind is going to think twice about a “work vehicle” being in front of a place that needs repairs? They should have better things to do than worry about what it’s being used for!  It’s no one’s business what’s on the inside of it! Keep the doors shut!  If someone asks, just tell them that you’re hauling materials with it. That’s all they need to know!

A simple minivan, with the proper equipment can be lived in when necessary, for as long as you need it. Any other van or trailer that does not look like an RV, can also be used in an emergency. Trailers and larger work vehicles like box vans could run into the same issues that RV’s do, and may not be allowed in some communities. The safer way to go is with something that doesn’t look any different than any other everyday vehicle, such as a minivan or a full size van or custom van. Even a little bit of extended top is OK, as many of the custom vans will have that. It still doesn’t make it an “RV”. But… it can be lived in when outfitted properly!

I can understand why some people would not want a van of any kind as a long term RV. Some people want “full-time” standing room, more storage, and just plain “space”. Some people with large RV’s also have smaller vehicles that they use to tow behind the RV, to save gas mileage when they get where they’re going. I can understand all that. All I’m saying is… why can’t that towed vehicle also have many of the same conveniences that a full size RV would have? That way, if you park your RV for the season somewhere as many people do, you can still take your shorter trips away from it to sightsee or go visit people without leaving all the things behind that you bought an RV for! And if you do that, then it’s not that much of a stretch to also be able to use that towed vehicle as an emergency unit if you need to get out of an area quickly!

I see many people who live in HOA type communites have to park their RV somewhere else. But what happens if there’s a flash flood, fire, tornado, or even a chemical spill nearby that forces them to quickly evacuate their home and they can’t get to their RV? What happens if there is damage to the home and they can’t occupy it for awhile? And if they then have to fight stupid bureaucracies before they can get permission to bring in larger temporary living quarters, what do they do in the meantime… wait until their possessions are beyond any salvage efforts at all? I don’t think so!

Sure, the lucky ones will have insurance on everything they own, but that isn’t going to replace family heirlooms and photos. The quicker things can be gotten out of the weather and protected the better chance you have of putting things back to a “somewhat” normal life. And the best way to do that is to be able to get back to the site as soon as any danger is past, and stay there!

I own a minivan, AND a small fully-equipped truck camper that can be used as an every-day vehicle and go anywhere a car can, AND a cargo trailer that I may end up converting to a livable means of transportation. I can assure you that in the case of any kind of emergency where our main house was damaged, and I had to come back and remain here for security reasons or to make repairs, there isn’t a one of these vehicles that I would allow them to tell me that “they aren’t allowed”. I would tell them to “sue me” and remain on our property! We have a right to protect what is ours, and short of any other safety concerns, I would be doing exactly that! And even though the truck camper technically is an RV, there isn’t anything about it that is any bigger than any other truck, and would be in no one’s way! And it IS one of our everyday driving vehicles! But if they pressed the issue, I could quickly move into the minivan and be just as comfortable for as long as I needed to. Then what can they say?

I’m not a “survivalist” in the way that the term is normally used today. So I don’t consider any of our vehicles as “bug out” vehicles, although they could be. But I am a former Boy Scout who believes in being prepared! And if that means driving a minivan or small truck instead of a family sedan, then so be it. Ours will be ready for whatever is thrown at us. And in the unlikely event that literally everything would be blown away or destroyed, I will be out looking for a small cargo trailer or van of some kind, and refitting it as quickly as possible the way I show in my book, so that I can return to my property to protect it, and “survive” while I try to get things back to normal.

A small cargo trailer or a used minivan can be obtained with minimal expense. Everything that needs to go into it can be obtained an item at a time, with no major outlay of cash. In the case of a cargo trailer, it can even be outfitted with normal household furniture, like a futon, couch or bed for sleeping and chairs for sitting. As long as you have a comfortable and safe place to sleep, and a place to get food and water, everything else is secondary.

For people who live in areas that flood, in fire danger areas, in tornado prone areas, or even in earthquake prone areas, I can’t undertand them living any other way than being prepared as best they can, and to me, that means having at least one vehicle set up as a quick “bug out” vehicle. It is a small sacrifice to pay for security, convenience and comfort.

I’m sure many of you have opinions on this, so let’s hear it! Don’t be shy!