The RVers Corner

RV Emergency Flasher

Copyright - 1999 - Les Doll - All rights reserved

      Let's say you're cruising down the freeway, on your way home from a well-earned and relaxing week-end, with your R.V. in tow. Suddenly, a problem arises, where you have to leave your rig on the side of the road, in the dark of night. Once you disconnect your palace-on-wheels from the tow vehicle, it is invisible to approaching traffic due to a lack of emergency lighting.

      A simple device, that can be constructed at very low cost by just about anyone, assures that your rig will be brightly lit in this event. It will flash your trailers clearance lights and will be seen for miles.

You can build this yourself or have your local R.V. supply store make one for you.

Parts req: also see article below for an alternate method

       When you plug your flasher into the trailer cord socket, the power from your battery (the "Black" terminal) is sent through the flasher and on through the "Green" terminal to the running lights on your rig, making them flash on and off. Now you can safely leave your rig at night to make an emergency run with the tow vehicle.

Frank from the Woodalls forum adds this:

Medical, Fire or Police Emergency

This is something we all need in our “toolbox.”

Having been in the Fire Service in a very rural area for over 32 years I can tell you that just finding the location of the incident is more than half the battle. I always told the people I mentored, you must know your area! Once you find the location, your training will carry you through the rest of the incident.

While we always had great “run book” maps and tried to keep them updated there were always deficiencies. Many times the run book would get us to the general location but not to the specific address. A common example of this is a campground or park. While we got to the “front door” so to speak, we didn't know the exact campsite or space within the park that we were going to. This is especially critical at night (after dark). Especially if all of the people involved are inside the RV attending to the patient, fire, etc.

So where am I going with all this? There's a way to help responding personnel find you faster and increase your chances of survival in a medical, fire, or police emergency.

All you do is make your RV's lights flash! Here is the most simple way to do this:

• Use a 12V 552/536 flasher (see pic below) plugged into your trailer cord.
• Tell the 911 dispatcher (when you call) that the incoming units should look for the RV with the flashing lights.
• Send anyone not involved with the direct control of the problem out to the street to help lead in the Emergency Services Responders.

Here's how I took care of the first objective:

Buy a 552/536 flasher (about $4) and tape it to the trailer tongue or king pin bracket. Mark the outside of the tape to make sure your family can find it in an emergency.

Emergency Flasher

Mark the trailer cord-end so that there is no confusion as to where to plug it in. Simply plug the flasher prongs into the marked holes on the trailer plug.

Trailer cord


Have a drill in doing this routine. Trust me, it may save your life or the life of a family member to do this. It's not hokey to practice this exercise, the time to try it out for the first time is not when you have an emergency. It may be your husband, wife, or child that has to grab this flasher and plug it in. First go through the procedure with all family members, then have a drill. Besides, it's fun to practice this in the dark since it makes your RV's lights flash!

At a time when nobody expects it have an unannounced drill. Say something like: “this is a drill OMG Mom is having a heart attack, Dave, plug in the flasher and then go lead in the Emergency Personnel.

I know what you're thinking “this is way over the top. Please believe me it's not. What I have just described and the drill to remember the procedure may make all the difference in saving a life, preventing further injury, or keeping a fire small instead of devastating. Trust me on this, our ability to find you in an emergency is the most important thing. Once we get there we can deal with whatever we are confronted with, 32 years in the business has taught me that.

This is literally a $4 life insurance policy!

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