As Florida’s Gulf Coast anticipates the arrival of Hurricane Idalia, the Florida RV Park & Campground Association (FRVCA) has sounded the alarm, urging private campground owners and operators to take immediate action.
This looming Category 3 hurricane, with its trajectory set from Tampa through to Tallahassee, has the potential to cause significant disruptions, especially for the state’s thriving RV and camping community.
The FRVCA’s proactive approach in reaching out to its members and the broader community showcases the importance of preparedness in the face of natural disasters. Their message is clear: those who operate RV parks and campgrounds should not only prioritize their safety but also the safety of their patrons.
According to the association, by updating the FRVCA Office with any operational changes due to the storm, campground owners can ensure that accurate and timely information reaches campers, RVers, media outlets, emergency response teams, and even the official staff at VISIT FLORIDA’s Welcome Centers.
Beyond the immediate threat of property damage, businesses play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of a unique demographic: the RV community. Many travelers, both residents and tourists, rely on these campgrounds as temporary homes or vacation spots. The responsibility of guiding them through potential evacuations and ensuring they have the resources they need cannot be understated.
FRVCA’s hurricane preparedness checklist suggests that RV owners should be informed about the need to relocate their vehicles in the event of a storm.
Campground operators should also be ready to assist, providing information on evacuation routes, nearby service stations for fuel, and even potential refunds for those who’ve paid their rents in advance. Furthermore, a well-informed staff can be a lifeline in times of crisis, offering guidance on local emergency shelters, medical facilities, and other essential resources.
“RV owners should be required to remove their RV when a named storm is predicted to make landfall. The community owner should have an action plan to assist each RV owner to pack up and move out. The RV owner will need to know the evacuation routes for the area,” the checklist indicated.
As Hurricane Idalia intensifies, the broader implications for Florida’s private campground sector become evident. These businesses are not just providers of leisure spaces; they are integral to the state’s disaster response framework. By collaborating with associations like FRVCA and staying informed, they can ensure the safety of countless individuals while also safeguarding their enterprises.