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#163014 - 01/14/09 01:09 AM Unusual situation
Wheels Offline

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 55
Loc: Central Virginia
Not sure if this is on the right forum.

I'm a new guy but I've followed ETS for years. I'm fairly confident on the standard basics of being prepared but my situation is a bit unusual - I use a manual wheelchair - and I'd like your input.

My wife is able-bodied but we're not together all the time (part of the reason we've been married 25 years *smiles*) - she supports my preparedness obsession. I work in a very large public building (w/ attached parking deck) in an urban setting. I commute 10 miles each way. Winter weather in NE Ohio sucks. I drive a fair amount (east coast a few times a year, vacations, etc).

Since I'm not very mobile except on hard flat surfaces, my van (no lift) is my BOB. I have gear and supplies to last until the cavalry arrives. I have 2 cell phones (different networks), a CB, and an FRS. If I'm home I'll opt to bug-in unless forced out. I take no meds and need no special accomodations beyond the completely obvious.

Basically I rely on good communication, always having my vehicle nearby, and the ability to wait it out. Any suggestions?

#163016 - 01/14/09 01:16 AM Re: Unusual situation [Re: Wheels]
Bear_Claw_Chris_Lapp Offline

Registered: 08/23/07
Posts: 227
Loc: Sector 16
Sounds to me like your well on your way to having it covered already!

First thing that comes to mind is do you have spare batteries for the comm stuff?
In omnia paratus

#163018 - 01/14/09 01:17 AM Re: Unusual situation [Re: Bear_Claw_Chris_Lapp]
Wheels Offline

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 55
Loc: Central Virginia
Lots of extra batteries - mostly lithium.

#163021 - 01/14/09 01:27 AM Re: Unusual situation [Re: Wheels]
Desperado Offline

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
This is where I start thinking self defense. By that I mean from 4 legged critters like stray dogs. I spent a month on "wheels" and remembered thinking the business end of my German Shepherds was a lot closer than I realized. Maybe some good "dog" pepper spray. 2 legged critters need attention also, but that becomes mental first, purchase second. I really don't want to kick off a "best" concealed handgun discussion.

Batteries like the folks before said.

Maybe some form of reflectors for the back of your wheels. A guy I know uses one of the "racing" chairs and it is all black. Kinda hard to see at night.
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.


#163023 - 01/14/09 01:33 AM Re: Unusual situation [Re: Desperado]
Wheels Offline

Registered: 12/19/08
Posts: 55
Loc: Central Virginia
My wife is allergic to dogs so I got a CCW permit - "always carry, never tell."

My chair is all black ... good point. Maybe a couple of reflective armbands in my EDC. I'll stop into my local bicycle shop.

#163027 - 01/14/09 01:40 AM Re: Unusual situation [Re: Desperado]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
It seems like the right forum.

It sounds like you know what you are doing.
I don't know what to suggest except maybe a few extra blankets. Thinking......

Maybe a help flag to run up an antenna?

We use flags something like these ones to increase visibility for our vehicles.
We use larger pennants, a lot of fluorescent orange for daytime, and a lot of reflective striping so they show up at night.
We try for a 12 foot height on pickup trucks and about 6 feet high on skidoos.
The skidoos because they get operated on roads with regular size vehicles and are too short to be seen among them.
A flag at 6 feet is in the eye line of most drivers and shows over most cars.
The trucks need 12 feet because they are getting operated in mining areas with heavy haulers operating.
Heavy haulers are dump trucks that carry between 350 and 500 tons of tarsand. They can run small trucks over and not even notice the bump in the road.

Since if you get stuck you might not want to try setting out road flares a couple of shorter flag whips might help you get noticed.
We just tie ours down to the racks on our trucks when we are not in mining areas.

Edited by scafool (01/14/09 02:20 AM)
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#163028 - 01/14/09 01:45 AM Re: Unusual situation [Re: Wheels]
snoman Offline

Registered: 09/22/02
Posts: 181
I'd suggest instead of something that only reflects light, get something that actually makes its own, like a flasher/strobe. If you happen to be out near where cars are going to be driving, something flashing will be seen much sooner than something that will only reflect light from oncoming headlights.

Power Flare

#163029 - 01/14/09 01:47 AM Re: Unusual situation [Re: Wheels]
snoman Offline

Registered: 09/22/02
Posts: 181
Also, if you might end up stuck somewhere and can't walk very far...
Some type of toilet facility. When you gotta go, ya gotta go.

#163030 - 01/14/09 01:49 AM Re: Unusual situation [Re: Wheels]
rescueguru Offline

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 119
Loc: Southeastern USA
Greetings Wheels
First, let me offer the suggestion of using amateur radio (Ham) as a comms option. I question the effectiveness of the CB and FRS radios in the urban enviroment, mostly because of lack of range and power. Most amateur repeaters in the urban areas have a large footprint and afford more reliable communications than does the citizens band equipment. I have noticed that an increasing number of professional drivers have switched over to the amateur bands due to previously stated reasons and the conversations are by and large "G" rated, as opposed to some less regulated bands.
Secondly, 1+ on the two cell phones on different networks. I've had to do that for several years due to coverage problems in parts of NC / SC / GA where I travel.
Sounds like you have the rest of the bases covered. In reference to the winter weather, better you than me. If I never see anything white on the ground other than warm Caribbean sand I'll be extremely happy. grin
Forever... A long time to be dead!
Staunch advocate of the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments

#163034 - 01/14/09 02:43 AM Re: Unusual situation [Re: rescueguru]
Be_Prepared Offline

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 530
Loc: Massachusetts
Clearly there are a number of topics in the forum that discuss the normal things you'd have in a vehicle kit, those would be a great place to start. Doug has a list of specific recommendations somewhere on ETS.

In addition to those recommendations on supplies/kit... I think that since your vehicle is so key to your gameplan, you might want to review whether you've done everything you can to make it as capable as possible, some examples would be:
-Is it a 4WD van?
-Do you have at least all weather, or snow tires?
-Might even consider upgrading to ride flat tires, I expect that changing a tire would be more challenging for your particular situation, and if you get a flat bugging out in poor weather, or on back roads, you might be in a very difficult situation.
-Does the manufacturer have a second fuel tank option?
-Do you have a way to warm the interior, without the vehicle heater? Even candles will work.
-I agree that relying on 2 cell phones is a start, but, the other 2 comms, CB and FRS, are probably not very reliable. I have a ham license, so I always have at least a tri-band handheld FM ham radio and a pocket sized repeater frequency guide that covers the entire US. I've virtually never found a place that I couldn't hit an FM repeater on the 6M, 2m or 70cm bands. I have a mag mount tri-band antenna that I can connect to the handheld for better coverage.
-A use for the CB might be to actually install a PA speaker on your van, most CB's have the ability to drive a PA, and it might allow you to get attention, and communicate with folks trying to help you.
-If you can, have a secondary battery installed. Some vehicles have a place already set up for them, just need the battery and cables installed.
-In addition to normal lighting like a headlamp and flashlight, you might consider having something with significant throw, like a handheld spotlight to identify things around you, and signal.
-Are you able to move freely to the back of van from the drivers seat? If not, you need to think carefully about how to access your gear if you "bug in" to the van under poor weather conditions where you might have trouble getting in and out to get to supplies that you can't reach from the front. (Not sure how it's configured, you mentioned no lift.)

Ok, well those are a few thoughts. I did some thinking about this to help my brother a few years back, he has a C6 level injury. It's not easy to think through all of this, almost requires a field test to see if you have what you need.

You'll get great advice from this group.

- Ron

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