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#64912 - 04/30/06 11:30 AM Nine people, seven days... how?

Hey, Alex here.

Recently, the second "flood of the century" in four years hit the River Elbe over here in Germany. Our fire department was there with two engines, and, like four years ago, a dam broke and we were cut off. Last time was four, this time two days.

When you have a day's normal intake of food (2500 calories) with you, and you have to divide it up between nine people burning 15000 calories per day, it's really no fun at all. Since this happened the second time, me and a few other "survival-conscious" types in the company have convinced the chief that we should be able to operate independently for at least a week in disaster scenarios.

The package must meet the following conditions:
-Size no larger than 3 by 1.2 by .4 meters (our roof box)
-Weight no greater than 560 kilos
-Must not contain water (the engine's tank holds 625 gallons)
-Must _independantly_ support nine people for three days, at 15000 calories a day
-Must support said people for up to seven days on reduced rations and/or if supplemented by hunting/gathering

What we've thought out (excluding food items):
Shelter department:
-three 4-man tents, the lightweight fiberglass/nylon type. 11kg
-ten 3-5 meter tarps, heavy-duty. 11kg
-Poles, aluminium. 20 poles, 1.5 meters long. 15kg
-250 sandbags, burlap, 10kg fill weight. 5Kg
-9 Army Issue sleebing bags. 12kg.
-9 Army Issue folding cots. 20kg.

Cooking department:
-Two two-burner diesel stoves (the wick kind). 1.6 kilos (50 gallons of fuel in tank of fire engine)
-one case Esbit solid fuel tablets (20 packs, 10 tablets each). 1.1kg
-625 gallons of water in tank of fire engine. (weight not a factor)
-Water purification tablets, German Army kind, 2000 pcs (for 500 gallons). .4kg

Tool department:
-One 600-pcs fireman's toolbox. (weight not a factor)
-Personal Multitools. (weight not a factor)
-Two heavy-duty knives. (point me to some good ones) 1kg
-Five rolls of duct tape. 2.5kg
-500 meters of 250kg-tested paracord: Weight? Good question. Will guess 5kg.
-200 meters braided nylon rope

Sundries department:
-One complete EMT/Medic kit. 26kg
-Two fishing rods, medium size/strength and assorted tackle. 4Kg
-Sewing kit. .1kg

Light department:
-10 high-intensity magnesium hand flares. (weight not a factor)
-10 standard-issue LED flashlights, plus spare batteries. 2kg.
-Various 4- and 2-metre radio equipment (weight not a factor)

Now the questions:
-Would hunting for supplementary food be worth the trouble of bringing a crossbow along? Legal issues prevent us from bringing a firearm, and we do have two accomplished crossbowmen.
-Specifically, what types of food would you suggest if weight was not that much a factos as it is in personal kits?
-What did I forget?


Edited by ThatGermanGuy (04/30/06 12:09 PM)

#64913 - 04/30/06 11:58 AM Re: Nine people, seven days... how?
Tjin Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1749
well have you though of the possibility you engine get caught in the flood aswell?

I don't see ant hygine stuff. Keeping your self clean is very importent to prevent illness.

Would hunting for supplementary fuel be worth the trouble of bringing a crossbow along?

well i don't think threathining people with a crossbow would be very legal. Your proberbly beter of just asking, people are more likely to give fireman fuel than other kinds of people.

no sleeping pads, cots don't insulate. Although they do keep you off the cold ground.

I don't know how you acces you watertank, but it would be very handy to have water containers to temperaly store water to purify and make using the water much handier. Think of buckets, bottles and cups.

#64914 - 04/30/06 12:11 PM Re: Nine people, seven days... how?

Um, yeah... I meant hunting for supplementary _food_. My bad.

About the engine getting caught in the flood: We usually make a point of putting it on the highest ground possible, and anything less than three and a half meters of water leaves our stuff intact. But I'll think about it.

#64915 - 04/30/06 12:34 PM Re: Nine people, seven days... how?
JIM Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 1032
Loc: The Netherlands
What's the contents of the medical kit?
(just want to know)

Also, nine people over two engines?
I thought that one Germans engine-crew where 6 people?
Is your other engine a rescue- truck ( ladder or rescue) with 3 people.

At least that's the Dutch standard

Edited by JIM (04/30/06 12:38 PM)
''It's time for Plan B...'' ''We have a Plan B?'' ''No, but it's time for one.'' -Stargate SG-1

#64916 - 04/30/06 12:57 PM Re: Nine people, seven days... how?

The contents of the medical kit is everything from hard opiates (read: morphine) to a full field surgery kit. We call it a "hospital-in-a-box". You need a qualified EMT, or better yet a trauma surgeon, to really use it properly.

Nine people is the crew for one engine. We'll be having two kits, one per engine. There are specialist vehicles (tech car, tanker truck, ladder truck) with a crew of three, and very very rare versions of said vehicles with an extended cabin for six people.

#64917 - 04/30/06 01:43 PM Re: Nine people, seven days... how?
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
Can you access the water in the tank, without the aid of the onboard pump? Wouldn't do much good if there is not a manual way to extract water. Even if it had a drain on the tank, 625 gallons kind of exerts alot of pressure, and I doubt you could put the plug back! <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

As for "food", I have seen "high energy" bars, that are like 5000 calories or something. Those might be a good back up. Having real food would be better. If I remember correctly, I think you need more carbs, than protein, in a "survival" environment. So, since you have water, rice, or pasta's may not be a bad choice. Light and easy to store. For protein, you might try dried beans. (Thanks Alton Brown of Good Eats! on Food Network)

I don't know if expending the energy to hunt, kill, skin and cook animals would be worth it, assuming you have a 7 day food ration kit. Bringing something along to protect yourself from any animal that seeks the same high land your on might be good. These animals I would think would be hungry too, and you've got food!

I have a couple of questions:

- When you are "cut off", are you:
- At the station?
- On high ground?
- In survival mode, with not expectations of performing firefighting? (No? Toss the hoses off the truck and use that area for storage!)
- What is the weather like?
- Can you not store more supplies in the cab of the engine?

#64918 - 04/30/06 02:21 PM Re: Nine people, seven days... how?

We can't really access the water in the tank, but we have a workaround, which is a 4" hose end cap with a normal faucet brazed on that we stick on the drain valve. Works perfectly.

Cut off in our case means that we are somehow
a) out of the supply chain and
b) not able to go someplece that is still getting deliveries.

An example would be what happened last month: A dam broke, and the only acccess road to where we were flooded five feet deep. We were on high ground, the water didn't touch us. As we were in a village with people left, we were still working our rear ends off till we ran out of sandbags.

Weather can be anything, though usually no snow or hail. We've seen blazing sunshine and 100F, and ten degrees above freezing with driving rain.

About energy expediture for hunting: With the levee setups here at the Elbe, huge tracts of (mainly empty) land are flooded intentionally to relieve pressure on important levees downstream. This should confuse and drive together the animal population, so actually finding them is no problem. We had bewildered rabbits running around our feet in 2002. If we have the room and weight for a 7-day kit, it's fine. If it turns out we haven't, it's probably time to go hunting.

Storing supplies in the cab of the engine could be possible, but that space is pretty much reserved for personal items such as clothes and the bassmachine (music is still the best motivator when sandbagging)

Edited by ThatGermanGuy (04/30/06 02:30 PM)

#64919 - 04/30/06 02:26 PM Re: Nine people, seven days... how?
JIM Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 1032
Loc: The Netherlands
Is anyone on the engine a EMT? I thought that in Germany, similair to Holland, the Ambulances and Fire-Departement were seperate?

(Fire-fighters in Holland only get a basic first-aid course. Well, I'm 16 and I know more than that!)

If you have 9 people in a engine, wich men has wich task?

In Holland there are 6 people:

In a fire:
Driver/pump operator
1+2: attack/rescue/recon-team
3+4: Water-supply team.

In a MVA/ other rescue:

driver/ hydraulic motor
1+2 :extraction team/ tools
3: safety-guy : warning signs/ remove sharp objects, etc
4: First-aid man: giving first-aid, assisting paramedics

In Holland, we fight small fires with/ without casualties in a offensive way. If there's a big fire and no victims, we use defensive techniques. (you guy's in America tend to go in with all th people of the ladder compagnie and use primarely offensive methodes.)

Also, US techniques tend to be more offensive than in Holland.
You, for example break open walls and ceilings to check for fire.
We use heat-camera's and only break what we have to.

The normal responds to a fire is a engine and ladder-compagnie (who carry only a ladder and 3 man team)
Ladder-truck: http://www.kazernemijnsherenlaan.nl/voertuigfotos/ladderwagen.jpg

engine with a 2000 ltr water tank:

For a accident or HazMat a engine and a rescue truck
Rescue truck: (mva's)




A single American engine makes more sound (siren's) than a whole platoon in Holland! (and has more chrome)

BTW: why do American fire-fighters have such helmets? We use some that are probably more protective. They have a face-heat shield and safety glasses and braces so that you can mount your breathing mask without removing your helmet:


Edited by JIM (04/30/06 03:51 PM)
''It's time for Plan B...'' ''We have a Plan B?'' ''No, but it's time for one.'' -Stargate SG-1

#64920 - 04/30/06 03:02 PM Re: Nine people, seven days... how?
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Jim, you are getting into "hillybilly" territory with your tone.

I'm going to let some of our firefighters explain why there is a difference in tactics, but if I had to guess it's due to how we build buildings. Speaking with the architure majors I knew in school, when they went to Europe, them were amazed, and shocked, and not in a good way. Maybe we build them too tough in your eyes, but our climates are a little more assertive than what you've described as you have.

I will however say one thing about that helmet- I wouldn't wear it. It doesn't protect the neck. Nomex keeps fire outside, but if it gets inside, guess what- Nomex keeps THAT fire INSIDE! With you. Gravity pulls debris down. If you have ceilings, that is going to happen.


When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#64921 - 04/30/06 03:07 PM Re: Nine people, seven days... how?
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Sounds like you've got everything but the food. I'm not sure if I'd include a crossbow, but if you can get one with a collapsable bow or store it broken down, it might be worthwhile.

I know the German army uses something like our MREs. Can you get them? Dehydrated camping food? Those for one solid meal per day per person, and Datrex rations (those are from someplace in the EU IIRC).

Even though you are on an engine, I might suggest a flat or 2 of half-liter water bottles. At least innitially, they might be more convinent.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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