The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded four contracts for the manufacture of low emissions travel trailers.

Contracts were awarded to RV builders TL Industries, Elkhart, Ind., and Frontier RV, Longview, Texas, and two firms outside the RV sector, Harbor Homes and  D&D Disaster Services.

Contracts were awarded following a competitive process, the agency announced in a press release.

FEMA intends to order a minimum quantity of 100 units from each contract award, with the ability to order a total of 6,000 units, divided equally among the four contracts, each year for five years. 

In 2008, FEMA developed new, strict performance specifications for travel trailers with input provided to the Joint Housing Solutions Group from industry experts, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) , the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs.  Included in these new specifications are requirements to eliminate the use of formaldehyde emitting materials; maintain continuous air exchange; venting and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems that meet HUD standards and; test air quality in units to ensure levels are below 0.016 parts per million.

This contract award represents the agency’s continuing commitment to identify a variety of housing solutions to supplement the array of solutions available to best meet the complex, disaster-related housing needs of states.  Travel trailers provide a good resource to states with homeowners who have less than six months to repair their homes and whose property cannot accommodate other types of housing units, such as park models or mobile homes.  Travel trailers are not ideal, or suitable, for those who need a housing solution for a prolonged period of time.

FEMA may authorize travel trailers for use as interim housing in declared disasters only:

  • At the specific request of the state.
  • On private property (i.e., not in group, community or cluster sites).
  • For a maximum of six months’ occupancy.
  • After the state has determined an acceptable level of formaldehyde for units prior to occupancy.
  • If such units have air exchange controls that meet or exceed FEMA specifications. 

Low emissions travel trailers are just one of the ongoing efforts of FEMA’s Disaster Assistance Directorate and the Joint Housing Solutions Group (JHSG), which is tasked with conducting research and outreach to the housing community, developing evaluation criteria for alternate housing and identifying potential housing options for FEMA.

The JHSG is surveying all housing options available and has the responsibility to evaluate and identify the safest and most appropriate housing options available to those in need during and following a disaster.