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Is My FEMA Travel Trailer Safe?

by Starr
(Tuscumbia, Al)

Is My FEMA Travel Trailer Safe?

Is My FEMA Travel Trailer Safe?

After setting up my FEMA travel trailer why did it feel as if it dropped or something dropped under it. (twice). Is it part of the settling?

After I felt it drop the door wouldn't close until I went around and cranked the stabilizers a little. Am I safe?

ANSWER: Hi Starr thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page

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I am going to start off by assuming that you bought a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Travel Trailer at an auction or from a private seller and that you are not living on one due to an emergency relocation. If for some reason FEMA has placed you in this travel trailer due to an emergency then you need to contact them and have them come out and inspect the trailer.

The door on your Travel Trailer should open and close normally whether you have the stabilizing jacks up or down. The stabilizers, just like their name implies are designed only to stabilize the travel trailer at a campsite so it does not rock back and forth when you are walking inside of it.

My suspicion is that something is happening to the frame of your RV and you should have someone come out and inspect the frame for damage. The fact that you heard and felt something dropping underneath the trailer is concerning and should be investigated immediately.

Normally I would tell you to contact the manufacturer of the Travel Trailer and have them come out and inspect it, but with FEMA trailers that is hard to do since there were several companies that FEMA contracted with to manufacture these trailers on an emergency basis.

The two main companies were RV manufacturer Gulfstream Coach out of Indiana. The other main manufacturer was a company called Bourget's Of The South with locations in Louisiana and New York. Up until FEMA asked Bourget's to manufacture travel trailers, they were customizing motorcycles. By the way there were several other companies; too numerous to mention that also were contracted by FEMA to manufacture trailers for them.

Knowing the information above you may want to look for some information in your trailer to see who the manufacturer was.

While you are looking into the possible frame issue with your trailer, you may also want to get someone to come in and get a reading of the formaldehyde levels of your trailer. As you may or may not remember, there were issues with FEMA trailers and formaldehyde contamination that made national headlines several years ago. In fact the problems became so bad that these trailers started to be sold as scrap and not rated for being lived in.

The formaldehyde being released in the trailer is the result of a process called "off-gassing" that happens with most all building and manufactured materials. It is common in new cars, new carpet, some lumbers and plastics. The smell normally occurs when brand-new products are first opened. Normally the formaldehyde smells go away in a couple of days.

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Unfortunately, many of the the FEMA trailers sat unopened in storage yards for months, if not years. If they were occupied relatively soon after Katrina they should have stopped off-gassing by now. The fact that they did not can indicate some serious manufacturing issues.

So to answer your question; Am I safe? My answer is I don't know. The only way you will know for sure is by getting the frame of your travel trailer inspected as well as getting formaldehyde readings taken.

Hope this helps.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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