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Is your RV properly grounded at all times?

If you are an avid RV fan, you may already be aware of a potential danger affecting the recreational vehicles called "hot skin."

Two summers ago, a boy from Amboy, 3, died from accidental electrocution after he stepped out of his family's RV onto wet ground while touching the handle on the door. The camper was not properly grounded but was connected to an outlet. This electrified its outer surface, or "skin."

While most episodes of hot skin aren't fatal, surveyed RV owners in 2010 and discovered that out of 1,200 responders, 21 percent had experienced a similar shock.

For most healthy adults, the shock causes a tingle and no more. But those with heart conditions, youngsters and pets can face higher risk. Wearing shoes decreases the chance of harm, as does standing on dry land. But if you happen to be barefoot in the rain, it could be more serious.

Anyone who experiences a tingle like that should unplug the power source to the RV and get a professional electrician out to diagnose and repair the problem.

You can also use a noncontact AC tester or a digital voltmeter that lets people point it at their RV from 12 inches away. If it beeps or lights up, you have a problem.

In the case of the tragedy involving the child from Amboy, the family's Airstream was connected to a rusty old outlet that had a broken ground wire. There was also an outdoor outlet on the RV just dangling from its wires. It's easy to see that there were many opportunities for disaster to befall the child.

Be safe when you are out in your RV, both when it is parked and on the roads. If you wind up injured due to another party's negligence or get into an accident with an at-fault driver, you have the right to sue for damages in the civil courts having jurisdiction over the site of the incident.

Source:, "Recent death reveals tragic, common danger," Kathleen A. Schultz, accessed Aug. 12, 2016

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