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Lessons Learned in Disastrous Places

Poor field sanitation caused the cholera epidemic in Haiti after the earthquake. What follows is useful during any time when healthcare, sanitation, and security are impaired, either in a post-disaster situation or an escape and evasion scenario when needed to exit a dangerous Third World area. When on disaster relief deployments I carried an "on body kit," to augment a small ruck taken on daytrips, wore cargo pants, made use of their pockets and also wore a Rigger's Belt. I’m retired now, in good health, so my precautions must have worked OK.

Sanitation tops the list. I carried travel- pack baby wipes, viscose rayon compressible towel and hand sanitizer in my left cargo pocket. Also a half dozen alcohol prep pads in the upper left shirt pocket, an equal number of eyeglass wipes, if you wear glasses. On a neck chain, another small hand sanitizer.

While on travel collect fast food salt and sugar packets I can in case they are needed for making a rehydration solution if dehydrated due to diarrhea or excessive sweating. Another use for them is for getting rid of leaches. Salt, when sprinkled on them, makes the little buggers shrivel and roll off. Sugar, when sprinkled on the bleeding hole they leaves causes the blood to coagulate. Best is to carry a tube of rehydration tablets (Natural Hydration) and use them as needed if engaged in physical labor.

A Steripen is effective to sterilize most local water, but with questionable sources which may be contaminated by sewage or floodwaters use multiple methods, combining filtration, chemical sterilization and boiling or distillation if possible, to be most effective.

Always carry N-95 masks and a box of Nitrile gloves. I carry and use regularly "Silva Solution Advanced Liquid Silver (Colloidal Silver) and several tubes of "Airborne" tablets. Anytime I develop a scratchy throat, I have used them both to great effect.

For tools and sharps I carry a K-bar, Mil-K-818 pocket knife and a Leatherman Super Tool. They are primarily for fixing and making things, but I also feel more secure carrying them... just in case. I kept them in cargo pockets, out of sight. A sturdy Lexan water bottle of purified water secured on a length of parachute cord, looks innocent enough, but can be swung as a defensive weapon if needed. Keep another full bottle in your ruck.

I carry a small 2 lb. "survival kit" which is secured to my ruck with a snap-link. Never leave home without it since the night my car slid off the road into a pond and I had to walk home several miles in wet clothes during a New Hampshire snowstorm . If I had not gotten a fire going , I could have died. My compact survival kit also contains basic first aid items and can be hooked onto a belt loop via its snaplink. An extra tube of triple antibiotic is in my ruck. A 25' feet roll of parachute cord stays in my back pocket and another 100' in my ruck. A small backpack roll of duct tape goes into a my front shirt pocket. Documents stow in a very tough Alosak plastic bag with a Fisher Space pen, small pencil, and Rite In The Rain waterproof notebook.

A Petzl LED headlamp is useful for hands-free things after dark. Also wore, around my neck, a Fenix E01 light. Both rReal handy for after dark rendezvous with others in your party when there were no streetlights.

I wear my old military boonie hat with parachute cord hatband and have extra paracord wrapped in extra-long laces wrapped around my work boots. A 55 gallon clear barrel liner and a poncho are in my ruck, with rain jacket, extra socks, D3A leather glove shells and wool liners, fleece watch cap and neck warmer. Sunglasses are secured with a dummy neck cord. My watchband also has a Suunto wrist compass. A civilianized Dogtag with personal data, including blood type completes the on-body kit.
 

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Awesome post! Thanks for sharing. The DIY gatorade from fast food packets is a great idea that i had never thought of.
 
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Awesome post!


Doc
 

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:congrats:
Great article, keep 'em coming!
 

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Excellent post! Thankyou for relating your experience! I would ask (invite) that if you have more experience related knowledge, would you mind sharing more of it with us? I think a large portion of our membership would like to read about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I will post more as time permits. Look over what is out there I have posted already. That is a start.

In the meantime, I recommend my friend Howard Godfrey's blog as a resource. Howard is retired from the fire service and also spent time in law enforcement and in emergency management and disaster response. I was introduced to him from some co-workers on one of the FEMA regional task forces. Great link:

Preparedness Advice Blog
 

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Have visited that site many times!
 

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Back in the 60's I was trained in Civil Defense shelter management. The one great lesson I learned was do not associate with or go near the crowds of unprepared people when the SHTF. One night in a simulated shelter exercise taught me to take care of me and mine and avoid the rest. Katrina was a prime example of the why.

John...
 

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22 years in the National Guard; had a number of state mobilizations during that time that reaffirmed in my mind the need for everyone to be prepared for, at minimum, a failure in the social structure due to natural disaster, social unrest etc of several weeks to a few months in duration.
 

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One Simple Motto: If you don't have it with you, you can't S_ _ _ it. I tell the story of my pastor who has a concealed carry permit. I was in his office one day at work. He got a phone call and said he had to go. He took his firearm and spare magazine out of the desk drawer. He thought for a second and put the spare magazine back in the drawer. I said, "Why are you not taking the spare magazine?" His reply was that he felt he would not need it. I told him if he needed it, it would be here in the drawer waiting on him. He promptly picked it up and placed it in his pocket.
 
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