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#48825 - 09/13/05 01:32 AM Mutual Aid Agreements
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
In the fire service, we have this thing called "Mutual Aid" - it's an agreement with other fire & rescue companies whereby we can call on them and they can call on us for help. In some cases it's "automatic" as in when we get dispatched to a certain kind of call - like a house fire - they get dispatched without us having to do anything. Other times it's at the request of the officer in charge.

Mutual aid agreements span all political jurisdictions. We have automatic mutual aid with two out-of-state companies, adjoining Bucks County PA stations, as well as medic squads and state police.

These agreements are legal documents - basically, they say that we agree to work within the coverage area and on the calls of the other station and vice versa. We agree to share material resources and staffing.

Thus, the last time I went into a fire, I was on the Nozzle, the guy behind me was from another company and the guy behind him was from a third company. The fire truck the hose was connected to was from a 4th company, and the water supply portable pond was from a 5th company. It works great.

This led me to think about the concept of mutual aid for what I think we can now safely call "Urban Evacuation Survival" (UES). This is not the same as holing up in the woods with a sniper rifle and MRE's - it's about being prepared for a family-scale bug-out that will keep you on the move for a while, possible to a new residence, and certainly on a journey that will take you more than 72 hours, if you're not lucky.

I don't have to rehash all the possible scenarios that could lead to a LARGER scale evacuation than New Orleans, suffice it to say I think we can all imagine one or two.

With this thought in mind, I've begun to piece together a network of friends in various places who would either be coming here, or I'd be going there.

We've set up a contact list for each other, we've agreed on radio communications protocols where needed, we've arranged for ways to attempt to exchange messages even if the telecommunications network is having problems. We've exchanged maps. We've hidden keys - and nothing more - to our residences at several easy-to-access but hard to find locations en-route that can only be found if you are looking for them and have the GPS coordinates of the drop site. (Locations are in UTM, so if the GPS network goes down you can still find them on the UTM gridded topo) Thanks Geocache.com for that idea.

Most importantly, we've agreed to add to our in-home supplies to accommodate the others. It's not much more, but if you had to accommodate, say, 8 more people for 2-3 months, would you be ready for them? How about water if the power is out? Got enough food? Ammo? Gas? Yeah, it's a little "LTS" for this list, but the basic idea that I have is that I need a place to "bug out" to and so do some of my urban friends. So, why not get the mutual aid thing going now, before we (hopefully never) need it?

If you agree now to hold 20 gallons of fresh & stabilized gas for someone else 250 miles to your north (or west, or east, or south - whatever), and they agree to hold 20 gallons of gas in reserve for you, that's something that's going to make your bug-out trip a bit better, isn't it?

Same if you know you can re-supply and continue moving, if needed, or stay put and have someone either expecting you or who knows where you'll be.

My Bug-Out locations are in the middle of NY State, in Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky and Montana. I'm working on one in Arizona (we often take long West Coast trips - LA and SFO).

I'm a bug-out destination for some folks on Long Island, as well as Washington DC and New York City.

That's about all I can handle, but I hope that others take up the idea and form their own networks of mutual aid.

#48826 - 09/13/05 06:29 PM Re: Mutual Aid Agreements
DaveT Offline

Registered: 08/15/03
Posts: 208
Loc: NE Ohio
Martin - a very good idea, and the logical next step that a lot of other posts seem to point to...but you're the first person I've seen post it as a fully formed thought/plan.

The importance of community has been stressed over and over again here on ETS, and I know I'm seeing where the survival mindset of ETS splits from the survivalist mindset is more focus on the "we" than the "me."

I think the events of the last 5 years or so have really moved some of what I used to consider "fringe" scenario discussions more into the mainstream, and right now I'm having trouble seeing why there's still hesitation on adding an "LTS" section to ETS...now it just seems to be straightforward and prudent, not at all in the realm of the "tinfoil hat" crowd.

#48827 - 09/13/05 07:53 PM Re: Mutual Aid Agreements
Malpaso Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/05
Posts: 817
Loc: MA
There are many areas that I am over stocked as far as emergency preparedness. I'm sure there are some that I would be lacking. The barter system is as old as man. There are a number of "isms" that cover this theory as well.
It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

#48828 - 09/13/05 09:43 PM Re: Mutual Aid Agreements
xbanker Offline

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 484
Loc: Anthem, AZ USA
Like you said, LTS unfortunately has (not totally without justification) come to be associated with folks on the fringe (at least, by this forum’s standards). We all know the type: people who take great pleasure in contemplating – even hoping for – TEOTWAWKI scenarios, in a Ramboesque sort of way.

I believe, like you and others, planning for LTS is legitimate and prudent, in the right context and with the right motivation. I can only assume Doug/Chris are contemplating whether or not they can open that door while, at the same time, preserving the tone and standards established for the forum.
"Things that have never happened before happen all the time." — Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety

#48829 - 09/13/05 09:54 PM Re: Mutual Aid Agreements
groo Offline

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 722
Loc: Florida
I say we just start talking about it, and see what happens.

I'll go first...

Food. Man. This is my weakest area. I eat out constantly. I can cook, sort of, but don't like it. Which means I don't give a lot of thought to meal planning. Which means I have very little food on hand.

Can anyone suggest a menu of meals that are easy to fix, nutritious, tasty and can be made with ingredients which can be stored at room temperature? I think to start, a months worth of meals would be a reasonable goal. While I'm wishing, it'd be nice if the ingredients had a long shelf life.

#48830 - 09/13/05 11:08 PM Re: Mutual Aid Agreements
wolf Offline

Registered: 12/01/04
Posts: 329
Loc: Michigan
Cous Cous - easy to store, incredibly easy to fix - add boiling water - use like rice. Put some canned / bagged chicken or tuna on it - with a little spice or sauce (or not) - a reasonable meal - add veggies (fresh or dried / freeze dried) - so much the better. Put MRE Chicken Salsa over it - tasty.
"2+2=4 is not life, but the beginning of death." Dostoyevsky

Bona Na Croin

#48831 - 09/15/05 10:22 AM Re: Mutual Aid Agreements
paulr Offline

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 448
Man, needing to bug out to someplace hundreds of miles away and live off of stored supplies for 2-3 months with 8 people is seriously into TEOTWAWKI territory. Yeah, Mississippi might be messed up for that long, but once you can get to hundreds of miles away, either things will be relatively normal there (you can get supplies easily though you still need a place to sleep) or else things will be massively hell and not much of anything will hold together. Also, everyone in the agreement is likely to want to bug out at the same time, so the fuel you thought they stored for you, they're going to need for themselves, etc.

Geocaching keys to your homes seems kind of a pain. If you're talking about just a dozen or so keys total, just exchange them ahead of time. Geocaching larger items like 20 gal of fuel sounds much harder and I'd be interested to hear how you do it, if you don't mind revealing. I.e. it has to be close enough to a road that you can retrieve it without having to lug the fuel cans long distances, yet remote enough that it won't easily be found (unless you're depending on an off-road vehicle). I guess a big-wheeled folding hand cart could come in handy, if the ground isn't too muddy.

The thing I'd probably want for a 1-person bugout in a NOLA type of evacuation would be a trail bike. It gets 60+ mpg, can zoom around traffic jams on the highway, and can go off road if needed. Seems like about the surest means to get the heck out of Dodge. Or, since I'm near the ocean, maybe a sailboat <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />.

I keep imagining fuel not available at any price, so want maximum mpg (more environmentally responsible anyway) and tank capacity, which points to something like a Honda Insight (70 mpg, 10.6 gal) as my next car, not an SUV. But that means not all that much cargo space and no off-road antics.

#48832 - 09/15/05 12:47 PM Re: Mutual Aid Agreements
KG2V Offline


Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
(Generic to thread - not reply to particular message)

One of the more "out there" sites, which I am NOT a full member of, has one VERY good idea - it's basically the idea of mutual aide - but they call them teams. They are a bunch of like minded folks, over at least a semi diverse area, who pledge and trust one another to work together. The team may chip in for more expensive supplies, and folks PLAN on team mates to show up to either stay with them, or to help them if they are the ones who need help. And not only in disasters - hey, I need the house painted - some of the team will show - you need help putting on a new roof, we'll be there kinda stuff. Aka a group a like minded friends who will help one another - gasp - a community, in the real sense of the word
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

#48833 - 09/16/05 08:25 PM Re: Mutual Aid Agreements

Mutual Aid is a great idea. Public Safety mutual aid works well because for the most part, all members already have most of the equipment and staff in place and it is only being lent for a short duration. Much of the equipment is durable and is not consumed as part of the aid provided. Your description seems to be more of a deal where each member will have to invest money to purchase consumable supplies that may be stored indefinitely.

Increasing my stores to accomadate an additional 8 people would be a considerable task. I have a family of 4 and the stores for just us takes up quite a bit of space. Adding food, fuel, shelter, water, medical, etc for an additional 8 people would become considerably expensive and bulky. I could see where I could increase my stores from 4 to 6 or to 8 but 12 would be a hardship.

I would also view this as changing my personal focus from depth to breath. I am working on providing additional layers of support for my family where I would need to split my funds to also providing limit capability for a wider group.

While I agree that it would be extremely beneficial to have mutual aid agreements, I am not sure I just how much money you may be expecting. 20 gallons @ $3 = $60, 8 sleeping bags @$35 = $280, 2 four man tents @ $75 = $150, etc. Very quickly you are talking thousands of dollars. Limiting your mutal aid to 72 hr basics may be able to contain costs.

I could see where you would need to budget $100 a month in supplies. Additionally each member would need to purchase storage containers and have adequate space to store the supplies. How do you handle the situation where the members are not keeping up with the purchases?

As a public safety volunteer for over a decade, I well understand the concept and value of mutual aid. As a prepper and planner, I see the value of having additional supplies and people to be able to count on. I could see where I would be willing to increase my stores to accomodate up to 4 more people at a susistence level because some of those supplies would also provide my family backup or extended services if so required. More than 4 and it would take a considerable commitment on all parts of the aid agreement to meet the goals.


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