Survive Life’s Disasters
That’s exactly what we all do. People with disabilities like my son have faced physical disasters since birth. It’s a long and difficult road to travel. That is exactly why we have created this site.
It is our goal to provide people with disabilities with every tool and every source of aid to help them win the battle when faced with tremendous odds. As a part of this effort we will help you to overcome these odds.
Sometimes just knowing who to talk to or where to find things that can save lives. The sales will help keep this site up and growing. We thank you for visiting and we hope that you will feel rewarded for your time here.
We all know just how frightening disasters like wildfires, floods, storms, and earthquakes can be. Horrible photos are thrown in front of us almost daily to keep the pain and suffering on our minds. Now lets really scare ourselves by adding in the possibilities of things like war, terrorism, plane crashes, floods, and a multitude of other disastrous things that can happen in moments and can put our lives in peril. This is in truly a scary world that we live in.
While you ponder these things, to try to imagine how much more frightening these disasters could be if they involved you, your family, or friends. The last step into the disaster mental minefield is to imagine yourself in a wheelchair, or if you were perhaps blind, elderly, or really disabled by any physical problems that would put you at the mercy of the disaster at hand.These are terrible situations that you could not handle without the help of other people. Once again, that is why WE are here!
We invite your comments, inputs, and suggestions for future subjects we can address, especially those things that you feel are not given enough attention. We also invite you to submit articles (must be original) that we can use to promote your point of view.
Statistics show that in many, if not most, cases, the government’s plans for disaster preparedness fall short of the needs of people with disabilities and even the elderly. This is the primary reason that percentage-wise, this segment of the population is often in the most danger.
Disasters are a horror that can face us all at any time and totally without warning, but the danger is extremely magnified for people with disabilities. Thorough planning and preparation will mitigate the problems substantially.
OK, Let’s Calm Ourselves by Doing Smart Things First
There are standard procedures and guides for various situations (like this article) that need to be read by all of us.
Once these sources are studied intensely, put to paper, then they need to be practiced until they become 2nd nature. By intense, sincere PRACTICE lives can be saved and associated risks can be minimized because of this well thought out careful planning. Planning ahead is of tremendous importance. Without good planning, you could end up in a dead-end alley. Not a good place to spend the rest of your disaster.
If no adequate planning has been done, when an emergency does arise, the panic mode sets in and it is rapidly followed by poor and uneducated decisions. These are the times when many lives are needlessly lost.
There is yet an additional insidious danger lurking just out of sight. Today, people, especially those who do not live in a 3rd world country, feel so “safe” in the world around them, that making plans as to how they should respond to any disaster just never enters their minds until it’s too late! Then the danger to life and limb is compounded all the more.
Make your Plans Carefully
Whether you are of normal health and capabilities or you are a person with disabilities, PLANNING AHEAD IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. When careful planning takes place and we follow the plans that we come up with, the risk to life is greatly reduced because we have prepared for and practiced for just such disasters. We know just what to do to be as safe and prepared as possible. Be sure to include radio codes.
How To Make Plans To Save Lives
The person that wants to be prepared should begin by seeking the advice of people in their support group, survival publications and local authorities on local emergency planning.
When you begin your plan, write it out. I suggest you do so with double spacing, a thick pad of paper, and even some permanent waterproof colored markers like sharpies. For example, you might mark a danger zone in red on your notes or maps. Use the flexible water-proof maps that are available.
Now while your coffee is warm, the air is clean, there are no flames or rising water, you can take your time and make some very good plans. Let’s get started.
By the way, I am not a special forces guy so if you see mistakes or have some ideas you would like to share, please do so in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you!
General Guidelines You Should Follow
When you have planned for as many things as you can think of, and when you have mapped your escape routes and rendezvous points ( on scratch paper, mark your maps last) and you are positive there are no mistakes, you should give copies to anyone who you feel might be able to help in case of an emergency. Try to avoid low-lying areas especially if it is raining. I prefer the highest topography I can find. Not only do I stay dryer and out of possible flash-flood areas, but up high I can see who is coming. Then all parties should review the plan again together. It is better now than later.
Another set of eyes will always find the things we have missed in our personal planning. This in itself will save lives.
Sometimes people have only minutes to safely get out of the house, apartment, office, and neighborhood. Avoid any form of mass transit. They many times have no idea as to what to do or where to go like most people. Trains and subways are scary too. Remember I said CAREFUL PLANNING. Do your best to leave no details out.
Be very careful of human contacts along your way.
Hoard everything because it is up to YOU to protect yourself and your family. I would use the 24-foot rule at a minimum. I saw some armed police officer training where a guy with a practice knife covered 24 feet before the officer could draw his weapon. Good thing it was a practice knife.
Keep your thumb on the trigger of your pepper spray when any strangers are near, especially if you ask them to stay back and they just keep coming at you. Almost anyone can and will take from you your stuff or your lives. You do watch TV right?
To Run or Hunker Down
It is sometimes argued that people with disabilities should plan to turn their dwelling into a little fort. I have mixed emotions about this. Unfortunately, sometimes it is not even an option. You know, if it is underwater, on fire, or just missing, I wouldn’t bother with it. Seriously though, it deserves careful consideration if you or a loved one has a disability. You will need a fallback plan and regardless, you will no doubt still need these things below to be safe no matter where you are.
What Do You Need In Your Survival Kit?
The object is to survive, not live like royalty. You won’t have much space so you will have to minimize but you should have at least the basic supplies listed below. Almost everything has a convenient link so you can find it quickly to read more about it or to purchase it. I use these items myself and have found them to be reasonably priced and of good quality. Each person should have their own personalized smaller bag. Then if there are others with you much of what I show you below can go into backpacks. This “Shopping List” will speed your search considerably.
Make note of this important fact: A human can go without food for about three weeks but would typically only last about three days without water.
Water: 1 gal. per person, per day (3-day supply if evacuate, 2-week supply for home). Realize that this is a lot of weight.
The US gallon, which is equal to approximately 3.785 L, is legally defined as 231 cubic inches. A US liquid gallon of water weighs about 8.34 pounds or 3.78 kilograms at 62 °F (17 °C), making it about 16.6% lighter than the imperial gallon. This is the reason I suggest the garden wagon at the end of this list of essentials.
Water jugs make great area lighting. Just use one of your flashlights, tape it to the spout or the side, pointing into the water and say Wow!
LifeStraw: A Lifestraw is a personal water purification device that advertises that it will filter out 99.99% of the contaminates out of at least 1000 liters of water. If there is lots of water around you could use this for your drinking water rather than drag lots of heavy water jugs around. You will need 1 per person. This would work quite well in most climates. Deserts for example, even in the southwest U.S. are not totally dry so you can pack both the Lifestraw and some water just to be on the safe side.
Food: non-perishable, well sealed, individually wrapped, energy bars that won’t melt, etc.(3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home). Not exactly the food your Momma wants you to eat when it comes to nutrition but they will keep you alive. A variety keeps you from getting bored. Homemade trail mix is a favorite of mine.
Cooking is good if you want strangers and animals to seek you out. The scent of fresh fried Spam gets them coming in droves. You can pack a couple of inexpensive Mess kits if you need to cook.
Personally, I can live a long time on energy bars and such. They don’t attract attention and save you lots of space. You can eat your Spam, canned (or bagged) tuna, or canned (or bagged) chicken cold. Keep it sealed until you are ready to eat it all otherwise it will probably get contaminated and make you sick (or dead).
Also, make sure no food, gummies, granola bars, I mean anything that is left open. The animals will be hungry too. We usually put anything edible into a pouch. Then we take some paracord and throw it over the highest limb we can and then hoist the food pouch up out of the reach of bears, teenagers, and oh yes, tall hungry angry bearded men.
Personal Locator Beacons: One of the things I suggest as an extra safety feature in your planning is to add a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) to your survival tools. If you are in a disaster of any kind you can activate your PLB to help the first responders to get you as quickly as possible. Click HERE to read more about Personal Locator Beacons.
Homemade Faraday Cage Instructions
A Faraday cage is just a metallic shield to protect almost all of your electronics from the EMP (Electro-magnetic pulse). Until the emergency actually happens, I would also recommend that you keep your electronic devices tightly wrapped in a baggie, then a thick layer of brown paper bag, followed by at least a double layer of aluminum foil, duct taped tightly, and lastly followed by another zip lock bag with the seal duct taped securely.
Wrap and tape the foil carefully so that not even a pin hole exists where the pulse can kill anything with electronics in it. You have a lot to take with you anyway so spares are not logical. Besides, the spares will get zapped as well if you don’t do this right. Protect your stuff. If you have a second or old phone this is a good item to add to this shielded bag. You can at least play games on it. (see entertainment items for children)
Pocket Flashlights: Flashlights Have 2 (minimum) in case one wears out or gets damaged and put one in your foil sealed bag. Not the little tiny flashlights or the great big ones. The ones I linked to I use daily.
AM-FM-Weather Radio: NOAA Weather Radio Battery-powered, solar panel or hand crank to recharge at night or on rainy days radio
Extra batteries: For the flashlights you can use 3 good AAA batteries each (make sure you have spare batteries for everything). I recommend this set of 6, 18650, 3.7v lithium rechargeable batteries that come with their own charger. They produce a brighter light that I feel lasts about 3 times as long as the AAA’s do. Again bring extra batteries for everything. You should also consider at least 1 set of rechargeable batteries.
First aid Kit: Study First Aid Kits carefully. You probably don’t need a full surgical ER in your backpack. I chose the one linked right above. It has a nice sturdy case and 250 items. OSHA rated for 50 persons. Let me explain, first of all this is a GREAT PRICE. Secondly you probably want extra stuff in case you (being the Good Samaritan that you are) decide to help someone else.
Oh yea, a nice thick piece of leather to bite on cause ‘dis might hurt a little. (you know, like in the cowboy movies) you used to watch TV, right?
Multipurpose tool: What is a multipurpose tool? You know one of those outdoors type knives with some of everything folded in. Get a good one with as many tools on it as your can afford. If you are alone 1 is good otherwise 1 per adult. This is an example of quality Gerber tools. Personally I also like to carry a big, scary, folding pocket knife for general use and an even bigger and more scary hunting knife out in the open. Hunting knives an be tied to a fairly straight stick and used for hunting or warding off strangers or animals that threaten you.
Cell phone with chargers: I suggest a separate solar charged battery. Most of these will charge 2 items at once. They will run your laptop or cell phones, or charge your 2-way radios. This is rated at 50,000 mah (milli-amp hours) that is normal human terms means it will last thru the ball game and the sitcom for the family. The solar panel is built right in. All of this for less than $27.00. Love it. I carry 2 of these.
A Good Sharp Hatchet: Not an axe, just a tool for tent stakes, driving nails to put you tent rope up with, to hang your notes and trail markers, and firewood. You know just an easy to use all-purpose hatchet or weapon. Non-breakable handle, nail puller, and SHARP. Orange so you won’t lose it.
Emergency blanket: These emergency blankets are great. These are big enough for 2 people to share. (ten per pack). If you are in a warm climate these work by themselves but are not so comfortable to lay on all night. I love my sleeping bag but in cold or wet weather you can put your sleeping bag or blankets inside the emergency blanket. You’ll stay toasty and dry.
General items like hearing aids with extra batteries, spare glasses, contact lenses, syringes, tourniquets, rope, etc. I use 550 paracord for most needs instead of rope and it doesn’t take up much space. This stuff is strong, durable, and bright orange so you can see it and you don’t clothesline yourself or others. 100 feet in this package. You should also bring some extra insulated wire. There should be plenty of lamps or other appliances not in use where you can scavenge it.
Soap: Soap for the body, soap for kitchen utensil clean-up after cooking. Plastic bottles of course. For kitchen type clean up you can take your nice hatchet or a rock and crush the end of a stick. Use the crushed end to help clean your mess kit. For more difficult, perhaps burned on stuff, just throw some sand in as a cleanser. Mind you this will ruin your non-stick surfaces but that is a lot more pleasant than dysentery.
12 Volt DC Power Inverter: An inverter connects to any 12 VDC source, like the thousands of abandoned cars setting around and converts it to 120AC to perhaps charge a wheelchair. This model also has 2 USB ports so you can quickly recharge your solar battery or other electronics in the absence of good sunlight or run your laptop and charge your mobile devices. MAKE SURE YOU BRING CABLES FOR ANYTHING YOU WANT TO CHARGE.
Two-way radios: To keep in touch with one another as well as listening for rescuers. Just a word of caution be careful what information you transmit and always try to be as discrete as possible. I mean computer hackers will have to have something to do during this crisis…
You should use a code that you denote in your plans to be able to change channels for your rescuers to find you while secretly hiding your radio transmissions from the bad guys. For example, you may choose random channels and then Identify them in your plans as channel A, B, or C. That way when you tell your family or rescuers to go to B, they will know what channel to go to and the bad guys won’t have a clue.
I have my secret channels spread out over the range of channels available on our 2-way radios. That way if someone hears our transmissions, and we change to secret channels often, only the people who have our code will be able to hear us.
Again be on guard. Don’t just answer anyone who calls to you. Be sure that you designate a stand-by channel in your plans as well. Perhaps multiple stand-by channels. Keep your radio batteries charged. Usually spare batteries are relatively inexpensive and easy to find from the radio manufacturer. I got mine when I purchased my radios.
Cheap Surgical type masks to protect you from breathing smoke or dust.
Eye Protection: A pair of flexible goggles that won’t break easily (like the ones you use in the yard or garage) for each person.
Rain gear: A 5-pack of longer hooded lightweight raincoats. These are kind of thin so they don’t take up much space but depending on your climate, you may want something heavier.
Sleeping bags: There are only about 15 gazillion sleeping bags out there. This one is inexpensive, warm, water-resistant, light weight and packs up into that little bag on the right there.
Compass: You can install a compass app on your phone but nothing beats a good old mechanical compass. No batteries required. These are designed to work well with maps.
A few large canisters of Bear Pepper Spray: Bear is not the name… it is to repel bears. Does a pretty good job on ugly dogs, coyotes, rabid animals of all sizes and large angry bearded men.
Work gloves 6-pack of nylon, nitrile coated gloves:
Inflatable pillows: These take up little space and are cheap but the bottom line is that some extra clothes or towels work well too. Even a roll of news papers with a rubber ban or a piece of that paracord to hold the shape will work.
Large roll of aluminum foil: AluminumFoil to protect your stuff on the get-away or cover your windows at home so you can have a better chance of making people think you are not home. It can protect your electronics at home too. Even that 80 inch 4k TV you just bought. I would just take a portion of foil on the road if walking. Leave the TV.
Backpacks: Backpacks are a necessity. One or more can even be attached to a wheelchair. This is an item that you really don’t need a brand name just to get the price higher or that super-cool logo. Adults should plan on a full size pack. If there are children, a small child can carry a lot of essentials like underwear, socks, cloth diapers, and toys.
SAFETY Whistles Safety Whistles at least 1 per person. Make sure the kids have one and know how and when to use it. This one is not a toy to drive adults crazy with. They should be worn at all times by everyone in your family. If a person loses sight of a family member they start blowing the whistle to find one another.
Medications: (7-day supply prescribed if on the move or 2 weeks at home) and additional medical items if you need them and your First Aid kit doesn’t contain them I suggest you add aspirin (over 25 years old ONLY), Tylenol, or Ibuprofen if it is safe for you, a bottle of isopropyl alcohol, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and a good antibiotic cream. Many people who live through the disaster itself later die from sepsis from little cuts or scrapes.
If the cut or scrape is low on your body, like feet or lower legs it should be rinsed thoroughly and antiseptic or antibiotic applied to the wound. Then dry the area around the wound and wrap the injury with duct tape to keep any nasty water out. Not too tightly and change it often. This seals better than band-aids, etc.
Extra Cash: Strictly up to you again. I can only recommend coins and smaller denominations of paper money. Precious metals are your best bet. Be prepared to barter. You can’t eat money or gold so in just a few days money will basically be worthless. “Booze and bullets” are the prepper’s best bartering currency, even if you don’t use either will be almost as valuable as cigarettes. NEVER barter your food away. Better yet NEVER tell anyone anything you have.
Games and activities for children I just make mine stand guard for entertainment. I rent my playing cards out to them for gummies. Same with that old cell phone full of games.
Extra clothing: For example a hat, gloves, and sturdy shoes. Decide by climate.
Cloth Towels: even a couple of rolls of paper towels. They all can double as wound dressing held on by duct tape in emergencies.
Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers) You can make them stand guard or crawl the camp perimeter if they aren’t walking yet.
Extra set of car keys and house keys (2 sets between 2 adults). If your keys have an electronic entry or starter button, you should wrap them in aluminum foil.
Matches In a sealed pill bottle. I just carry some Bic lighters.
Paper for notes and eye-catching posted messages to friends. A few (8.5 x 11.0) pads of bright writing paper and perhaps a pack of day-glow orange paper to help people who may be looking for you to find you easier.
Note on your plans what color rescuers will be looking for when they search for you. You may not want to write your plans and post them publicly, but if a friend knows you have blank day-glow orange trail markers they can follow the route you took.
Several rolls of duct tape: You can fix anything with duct tape. Enough said!
A package of nails: to hang your trail markers or use them to attach your tent rope to trees, etc.
Pets: should be tied to your foot at night, never outside alone. Some folks say they are very tasty if one is hungry enough. Besides that, even a small pet makes for a good proximity alarm.
Plastic sheeting: A 10′ by 20′ package of at least 20 mil plastic construction or painting sheeting. Use it for many things including shelter or even gathering water. Leave it in the bag until you need it.
A signal mirror: This can be found a most any surplus store but a signal mirror can easily be made by taking an old compact mirror out of the case, drill about a 3/8″ hole in the center of the case where the mirror was. Then push the mirror back in and use a pencil or marker to mark a circle on the back of the mirror. Next you can take the mirror out again and scrape the reflector off of the mirror inside the circle you marked. Hot glue the mirror back in. Voila! you now own a signal mirror complete with pink carrying case.
Guaranteed the one from the surplus store won’t be so fancy. Just look through the hole with as bright a light as you have available hitting the mirror. You will easily be able to see the point in the distance where you need to signal to. Whew!
Household liquid bleach: You can sterilize to your heart’s content.
Entertainment items: like playing cards or dice You can gamble like there is no tomorrow (I know, not funny). The money is worthless by the time you get bored enough to gamble. That old extra phone can have hundreds of games on it.
Weapons: Solely At your discretion for food or self-defense. NEVER show your weapons. Someone ALWAYS wants your stuff and they often have better weapons than you. Many weapons can be made on the trail as you leave town if you feel they are necessary. Everyone should have a pointed walking stick to help over all kinds of terrain or to even keep animals or large angry bearded men away. That Bear pepper spray also works well. I’ll stick to the guns and pepper spray. Your choice.
Copies of personal documents These should include medication list and important medical information, driver’s license or state ID with photo, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, copies of you evacuation maps, clearly marked routes and rendezvous locations. Keep these and anything else you think of in the double zip locked bag mentioned above.
Sanitation and personal hygiene items. I’ll let you figure your personal needs here. Toilet paper and lightly scented wipes at minimum. One thing cool for us guys is no toilet seat to always put down. Do everyone a favor, take a stick of deodorant too. Tooth brushes, flossers will feel great. You can use baking soda for toothpaste. Your companions will be very appreciative.
Garden Wagon: Right about now you are probably saying we can’t carry all of this stuff but an inexpensive garden wagon will probably hold everything for several people. It can even be hooked up to a strong power chair for those times when you need a break. Removable sides and will hold up to 1,400 lbs.
OK, Follow the plan as closely as possible. This list sounds like a lot of stuff to carry around but in the event you need it you will wish you had not just skipped that item. Of course you can use some of the items as dual-purpose items and perhaps save a bit. If you are fortunate you may find some fellow travelers who perhaps can help. There is always more safety in numbers.
As I said earlier, we encourage your comments and inputs along with notes on things we might have missed.
Heads up and God Bless!