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Friday, March 11, 2011

An important message about RV safety. Watch this!

RV electricity expert Mike Sokol demonstrates a "hot skin condition" that can occur with any RV. When this situation occurs -- often when hooked up to electricity in a campground -- an RVer can be severely shocked or even killed. In this demonstration Mike artificially "electrifies" a 40-foot fifth wheel trailer from Beckley's RV in Thurmont, Maryland. He explains what can cause a hot skin condition, and how a very simple device about the size of a large pen called a Fluke VoltAlert can help you determine if you're in danger. This is very important. Watch it!


  1. Outstanding Video and Information!!
    Thank you,

  2. Thanks very much, Ken. Please pass this video on to everyone you know who owns an RV.... It might just save their life someday.

    Mike Sokol

  3. If you are safe in an RV with a hot skin how do you test before you step out to the ground wher you are in danger?

  4. Good question. The point is that you are NOT safe stepping onto the ground from a hot-skin energized RV. And there's really no way to test for a hot-skin condition from completely inside of your RV.

    However, you could sit on the steps of your RV without your feet touching the earth and point the Volt-Alert down at the ground, and it should trigger just as if you were standing on the ground pointing at the RV. I can do a video of that if anyone needs visual confirmation.

    So while not as easy as testing from out on the ground in the first place, it's an option. And that's why you should test for a hot-skin condition BEFORE anyone gets in the RV.

    However, if you're inside and suspect your RV has become hot-skin energized for any reason, all you have to do is take a tiny jump to the ground from your RV steps without contacting both the RV and the earth at the same time. That is, don't be holding onto the RV door handle or door frame while your foot hits the ground. Just make a clean jump to the ground (only a few inches of air is required) and quickly turn off the circuit breaker in the power pedestal BEFORE anyone else gets out of the RV, especially your pets. We've heard of a number of dogs being electrocuted just that way, and we all love our pets.

    Mike Sokol

  5. Your video might explain a bizarre and ironical occurrence that happened to me at Padre Island National Seashore about a year ago where I was volunteering. I was inside my class-c motorhome, ,writing my brother an e-mail (he is a retired M.D. and had asked me about my "senior planing" for future years). As I was writing him an e-mail,my GPS
    "Tom Tom" (which was unplugged and on a small shelf in the front of the RV--close the the ceiling) suddenly spoke out "you have reached your final destination." The other person inside the RV also heard it...or I might not have believed by ears.
    Could this have been a result of a "hot skin?" I don't have any other theory of how the TomTom got its power and was activated.

    J. Wilson, San Antonio

  6. San Antonio,

    I don't think so with a standard 60 Hz hot-skin situation. There's just no way that any significant amount of 60 cycle energy would show up inside the RV, no matter what its construction. But, high frequency radio wave energy from a very close CB antenna or nearby lightning strike might do it if your RV has a wood frame and ceiling. And that's why I wouldn't want to be inside a fiberglass shelled RV with a rubberized ceiling in a lightning storm.

    However, if you had an Airstream or even a class-B van, you would be basically inside a metal box which forms something called a Faraday Cage which will redirect all electrical energy to the outside shell, and which can protect you from even a direct lighting strike. That's why airplanes can take a direct lightning hit without shocking the frequent fliers. And no, it has nothing to do with tire insulation or being up in the air. It's the Faraday Cage which magnetically redirects the energy around the outside of a metal shell. Keep your hands inside the RV though if it's lightning outside since your hand would take the direct hit.

    Mike Sokol

  7. Would using a electrical monitoring system plugged in at the campground electrical pedestal, like a Progressive Industries unit, prevent a hot skin condition? Or would it still be necessary to test for a hot skin condition?


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