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#156593 - 11/29/08 11:32 AM Outfitting my son
marduk Offline

Registered: 01/25/04
Posts: 160
Loc: Mid-Missouri
My DS (age 16) will be attending the Inauguration and the Inaugural Ball in Jan. He has above average situational awareness and skills for his age. I am planning on sending the following with him. I expect security to be high (just short of body cavity search) during portions of his trip, will involve air travel and thus I wish to avoid/minimize metal or “suspicious” items to the extent possible. Please offer comments, suggestions, “local intel”, etc.

Neck Lanyard:
FOX 40 whistle
plastic “dog tag”
AAA LED flashlight

Meds: Motrin, Benadryl, Immodium
Band aids
“small absorbent dressing” wink
Betadine unit dose
Benzalkonium Chloride Wipes
Neosporin unit dose
Nitrile gloves
Heat Sheet
Button compass
Credit card with: electrical tape, dental floss, 80# fishing line
Duct tape flat pack
Doug Ritter Survival Instructions

This will be in a DIPLOMAT POCKET ORGANIZER http://countycomm.com/POCKETORGANIZER.htm

Bug-In supplies(will stay in hotel):
MRE entrée x2
Foil bagged tuna
Cliff Bars
1L Platypus
MicroPUR tablets
Crystal Light unit dose
Gatorade unit dose
Salt, Pepper, Tabasco

“Sometimes the line between being prepared and being paranoid is thin.”
"Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than skillfull"

#156604 - 11/29/08 02:15 PM Re: Outfitting my son [Re: marduk]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2137
Loc: NE Wisconsin
You might also consider a map of the area he'll be in, and a cell phone (though the lines may be overwhelmed with the millions of folks there).

He should also have a detailed plan for exactly what to do if he gets separated from those that he arrived there with - how to reconnect with them.

Is he bringing something to protect him if its raining? That might also act as a shelter if he'll need to be outside for an evening.

#156607 - 11/29/08 02:37 PM Re: Outfitting my son [Re: KenK]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Prepaid phone card, credit card, hideout cash, list of important phone numbers...

#156614 - 11/29/08 04:08 PM Re: Outfitting my son [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
An umbrella and a warm coat, hat, gloves etc - DC in January can be cold, wet, snowy, all of the above.

It would be good if you know someone in DC your son could call or call on in case of emergency, or just to connect. Growing up I knew the ex-wife of one of my dad's friends who went into witness protection (long story), she was a well connected DC political society maven who ended up being the highlight of my DC experiences, a real hoot. You don't need to know them well, if they're located in DC proper its a plus because your son will be able to reach them on foot or by subway/taxi.

For maps, the laminated folded walking map of DC is good as it actually covers everywhere he's likely to go, you can get them when you step off the plane in most bookstores and newsstands for $7.95, and they don't wilt in DC rain or snow. AAA will send you free road maps of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania if you're a member.

I would tell my 16 year old to stick to his group, especially at night, and don't try anything too adventurous, like wandering the darkened streets southwest of the White House after midnight. Its been a few years but Georgetown is still good for teenagers, if they have time to hangout. Load his cell phone with the number for 2-3 DC cab companies (either lookup on DC travel sites ahead of time or note them at the taxi stand at the airport) - when in doubt of your surroundings in DC, call a taxi, get out safely. Stick to public places, for the inauguration there will be lots of them, he'll do fine.

#156618 - 11/29/08 04:36 PM Re: Outfitting my son [Re: Lono]
Desperado Offline

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Get rid of the fire making and sharp objects. TSA and USSS / Capitol Police aren't going to like them.

Remind him texting often works when voice calls don't. (at 16 I am sure he knows)
Make SURE the cell carrier works where he is going.

Stay with the group. Help watch-out for less street wise members of the group.

Pocket hand/foot warmers (disposable air activated) DC area can be COLD when standing around.

COMMON SENSE, (maybe 6th sense). If it looks, walks, and quacks like a duck then it probably is a duck. Some ducks are friendly and some are mean, but they all want something from you.

Alternate plans to get home:

Recently a friends daughter had her group split by the airline. At the new airport, it became a two day SNAFU because the "group leader" then split that sub-group to try and get kids home on time for school. If it all goes bad, have the resources to go get your son available. I had to pay for these folks ticket to get her home. Did so gladly, but what if I hadn't been available.

Oh yeah, avoid Chicago O'Hare (ORD) airport at all costs. It just sucks.

I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.


#156664 - 11/30/08 03:43 AM Re: Outfitting my son [Re: Desperado]
comms Offline

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
I'd pick up a bic lighter onsite, a more conventional fire starter than the sparklite. Gloves or mittens a must, extreme cold weather clothing for long lines also important.

Just based on the weather and also potential threats like riots, a painters/surgical type face mask for snow, cold, debris could be a good idea or at a minimum a balaclava, Buffwear or bandanna.

Everything else mentioned above, great ideas, especially the map.
Don't just survive. Thrive.

#156671 - 11/30/08 04:49 AM Re: Outfitting my son [Re: Desperado]
SARbound Offline

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 503
Loc: Quebec City, Canada
Where is he going to travel to?
"The only easy day was yesterday."

#156672 - 11/30/08 04:55 AM Re: Outfitting my son [Re: SARbound]
Desperado Offline

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Washington DC.

I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.


#156685 - 11/30/08 02:42 PM Re: Outfitting my son [Re: Desperado]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1917
Loc: Washington, DC
I live in Washington (Capitol Hill) and will be here for the Inaugural. Does he have an Inaugural ticket for the Capitol grounds which will require going through a metal detector and x-ray? Or will he be watching from further down the Mall? (where for the first time ever there may also be security screening)

Where is your son staying? In the city at a nice hotel within walking distance of the Capitol Building? Or in a suburb from which he'll have to take Metro into the city? (Independence and Constitution Avenues, among others, will be closed all day Inaugural Day so anyone thinking they'll be driving anywhere near the Inaugural is deluded.)

This city will be crawling with law enforcement and military -- 4000 additional police officers are being brought in from other jurisdictions to help with the Inaugural. Active duty military personnel are always a big part of putting on the Inaugural so there will be far more soldiers in the city than usual. Because of predictions of unprecedented crowds of 4 or 5 million visitors (I pray these are ludicrous inflated estimates) the security presence will be also be unprecedented.

My neighbors and I marvel at the predictions because we are well acquainted with the July 4 crowds in which a few hundred thousand people on the Mall overwhelms the Metro system and paralyzes traffic.

Where everyday crimes like mugging are concerned, I never feel safer in DC than during the Inaugural. The two most likely threats to your son are: 1) EXTREME COLD + WET WEATHER; 2) crowds.

In normal Inaugurations it is necessary to arrive a few hours early to get through security and to your ticketed place (most of the Capitol tickets are for standing-room only -- each Senator is given only 20 seated tickets to distribute).

Umbrellas are not allowed on the Capitol grounds during the Inaugural. And NO BACKPACKS -- he'd better carry whatever he needs, in his pockets.

So I'd forget the fishing line and fire-making instruments and concentrate on extremely WARM and WATERPROOF attire suitable for standing outside for several hours in the MUD in 20-degree, wet weather.

If very lucky, it will be sunny and 50 degrees. More likely it will be 20s-30s, blustery and wet.

WARM COAT, hat, ear muffs, scarf, insulated boots, ski socks, long underwear, gloves + mittens, EMERGENCY CLEAR RAIN PONCHO that can be stuffed in a pocket (look at the 2001 Inaugural platform photos where Congress and other dignitaries were each provided a cheap clear plastic poncho and they wore them!) I'd also take some chemical hand warmers but security might take those. Still worth trying.


(will continue this in subsequent post)

Edited by Dagny (11/30/08 03:34 PM)

#156687 - 11/30/08 03:07 PM Re: Outfitting my son [Re: Dagny]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1917
Loc: Washington, DC
COLD and CROWDS are absolute certainties. EXTREME COLD and EXTREME CROWDS are very possible.

Everything that can be done to guard against horrors that terrorists might conceive will be done and is being done (Inaugural planning, including security, never really stops and organizing for it begins two years in advance). The worst scenarios for DC no individual can survive, no matter the survival kit they may carry. I won't fare well in that regard, in my home, a few blocks from the Capitol. So I must have faith that won't happen or I couldn't live here day to day and certainly wouldn't stay here on Inaugural Day.

The most important "gear" your son can carry will be on his feet. If his shoes/boots are WARM, WATERPROOF and COMFORTABLE then he'll be in fine shape to stand around in the cold mud for hours and also to walk out of the city if need be.

Two incidents in DC history have made me a firm believer in having the capacity to evacuate on foot or by bike: 9/11 and the Air Florida plane crash + Metro fatal crash + snowstorm of January 13, 1982 that paralyzed the city.


If you can walk and stay warm then you are going to be in good shape for whatever Mother Nature or humanity are likely to throw at you during Inaugural week.

If it would make you feel better, PM me and I can be an emergency contact for your son while he is in Washington.


Edited by Dagny (11/30/08 03:15 PM)

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