Lightning - Stay in FGRV or Tow? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-09-2014, 11:03 AM   #1
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Lightning - Stay in FGRV or Tow?

The only info I found on this site was from 20122.

Lightning and rv's....

I read an article somewhere that said fiberglass trailers were more dangerous to be in than metal trailers if struck by lightning. So I was wondering what safety precautions others take? Do you retreat to the tow when a bad storm is around?
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:34 AM   #2
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This link from environment Canada clearly states FG and Pop-ups do not provide protection and head to the TV.

https://ec.gc.ca/foudre-lightning/de...n&n=1B15F0EA-1

That said if disconnected from power and other structures provide a much better ground source the chance of camper being struck is reduced. If you have awning poles or tv antenna etc. that would increase your risk. You are always going to have the hitch jack in contact with ground so even a near by strike could travel through your frame and the whole shell is wet so....

I'm inclined to go with TV if it seems close, unplug and drop awning if not terribly close.
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Huck View Post
I read an article somewhere that said fiberglass trailers were more dangerous to be in than metal trailers if struck by lightning. So I was wondering what safety precautions others take? Do you retreat to the tow when a bad storm is around?
I agree that science would indicate having a metal cage around you is the safest (Faraday cage - see wikipedia or google it). Therefore a metal trailer or vehicle is generally safer than a fiberglass one. Personally, we usually stay in the trailer, but retreat to the vehicle with very bad lightning storms. This has happened only once.

In case you are curious, airplanes are struck by lightning frequently. With the advent of composite rather than aluminum airplanes they have had to add conductors to the composites as part of dealing with lightning. This again emphasizes the same point of being a metal "cage" is a safe option. On a related note, I have a friend who was struck by lightning twice including one time while inside her house. She seems to have an irrational fear of thunderstorms.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:16 PM   #4
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I think that I would try to park between two well grounded Airstreams, each with TV antenna's and metal flagpoles fully extended. (LOL)
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Old 09-09-2014, 01:41 PM   #5
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I am not sure how much protection is provided by the thin metal skin of a stickie to the gazillion volts of a direct lightening strike. The trees and everything else in the camp seem to be more likely to be struck than my Scamp. That said, It might at least be prudent to disconnect from the power pole, cable TV (if any) and water connections if a lightening storm is anticipated. I would be more worried about a nearby strike "charging" down the camp service lines than a direct strike on the Scamp. Unless it is just my time, and then I would just as soon go to meet my maker in the Scamp as elsewhere.
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Old 09-09-2014, 03:09 PM   #6
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We lived a Fiberglass Geodesic Dome on a wooded hilltop, the highest point around. The oak trees within 30 feet of our dome were often hit, the bark splits a witness to the strikes. Nothing ever hit the dome. Parked among trees I would not worry,

I do make it a practice to disconnect expensive electronics during lightening storms.
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ericw View Post
I agree that science would indicate having a metal cage around you is the safest (Faraday cage - see wikipedia or google it). Therefore a metal trailer or vehicle is generally safer than a fiberglass one. Personally, we usually stay in the trailer, but retreat to the vehicle with very bad lightning storms. This has happened only once.

In case you are curious, airplanes are struck by lightning frequently. With the advent of composite rather than aluminum airplanes they have had to add conductors to the composites as part of dealing with lightning. This again emphasizes the same point of being a metal "cage" is a safe option. On a related note, I have a friend who was struck by lightning twice including one time while inside her house. She seems to have an irrational fear of thunderstorms.
+1 Follow Mr Faraday's advice, get in your car. Raz
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:29 PM   #8
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Lightening deaths

Less than 30 people a year die from lightening strikes, pretty low number. Infinitely more likely to be killed by a drunken driver.

In 2012 you were more likely to be killed by a dog than by lightening.
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
This link from environment Canada clearly states FG and Pop-ups do not provide protection and head to the TV.

https://ec.gc.ca/foudre-lightning/de...n&n=1B15F0EA-1

That said if disconnected from power and other structures provide a much better ground source the chance of camper being struck is reduced. If you have awning poles or tv antenna etc. that would increase your risk. You are always going to have the hitch jack in contact with ground so even a near by strike could travel through your frame and the whole shell is wet so....

I'm inclined to go with TV if it seems close, unplug and drop awning if not terribly close.

Soooo, During that lovely storm we had at this last rally at Algonac, I was essentially a sitting fiberglass duck, camped next to a big tall tree, with all my awning poles well grounded, and still plugged into the pole.....
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:07 PM   #10
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Soooo, During that lovely storm we had at this last rally at Algonac, I was essentially a sitting fiberglass duck, camped next to a big tall tree, with all my awning poles well grounded, and still plugged into the pole.....
Not with all those big campers nearby as targets. You were more the duck sitting behind the sitting duck. Feel better now?

I think avoiding ill tempered dogs, drunk or distracted drivers and being aware of lightning safety so I can make a good decision if the situation warrants it are all good. But on my list of things to worry about getting hit by lightning is way below the fear that annoying people will learn to recognize sarcasm and unexpectedly become pissed off.

Locate the fire exits then don't worry about the motel catching fire.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:17 PM   #11
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I'm a child of the Cold War. More than once I was released from school when the sirens sounded... running home (thinking I'd be safe there), three short blasts of the horn... threw myself in a ditch... like that was going to help. (Mt Home Idaho where my Dad was a Minute Man missile inspector.)

Lightning doesn't scare me compared to the Bay of Pigs debacle. ALL YOU YOUNGSTERS WOULDN'T KNOW!

I'll stay inside my rollin' home and if the worst should happen... I'll die happy, because I'm out camping.

YMMV
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:20 PM   #12
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With you Roger. This week I'm more concerned about stopping at Krogers in Memphis to buy groceries than lightening. I know what to do about lightening but not about 100 teenagers attacking me in a parking lot. Culture concerns me more than lightening.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:55 PM   #13
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Somehow, I survived to adulthood sleeping in a pup-tent during thunder storms without a thought for safety. Instead, I was enthralled by the way my tent lit up every time lightning struck. My parents would calmly open the door to the tent camper and ask if I really wanted to sleep out in the storm, and I'd say 'Yep I'm OK!'
I still relish a good storm...
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:08 AM   #14
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3x as many people died from noodling, than from lightning last year. Bees, cows, dogs, and horses each killed more people than lightning.

It's not something I'm going to worry about. Maybe I'll get in the car if it's an insane lightning storm, but I doubt it.


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