In RV Industry News, I saw an announcement that FEMA will be requesting bids for up to 15,000 formaldehyde-free trailers in the next five years. Each offeror accepted will provide a minimum of 100 trailers, with the total divided among the successful bidders. The price of each unit will be fixed-firm.
According to the the announcement, “The travel trailers shall be built to meet FEMA's performance specifications (see attached), which include requirements to eliminate the use of formaldehyde emitting materials such that the unoccupied indoor air quality tests below .016 ppm (see attached IAQ test requirement).” Earlier we reported that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCPP) had named the specific RV brands that contained significant health-threatening levels of formaldehyde.
Though RV manufacturers are dropping by the wayside, this could give the industry a shot in the arm - if they can find materials that meet the formaldehyde-free standard for a reasonable price. Apparently travel trailers are still the least expensive and easiest temporary housing units to use after disasters.
In the meantime, according to the online Houston Chronicle, FEMA is using mobile homes. Those are larger and more comfortable, but more difficult to move and get into place. An RV can be hooked up and ready to go in minutes; hooking up a mobile home is much more involved once it is in position. In Texas, thousands are still waiting temporary housing as a result. As of last Friday, only 1,233 families had mobile home housing. And, because the mobile homes are larger and more permanent, some communities are resisting mobile home “parks” because of the appearance.
It will be next year sometime, maybe even longer, before these formaldehyde-free travel travels make it through the bid process and production and are available for use. In the meantime, it is slow going. It would be a good thing for the RV industry to be able to certify any existing RVs - if they are available - as meeting the formaldehyde standards and then FEMA purchased those ASAP. Even if FEMA purchased a few, that would both help the industry and the victims in Texas now. That’s probably not going to happen. Government wheels turn slowly. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak