The New Survivalist
Disaster Preparedness and Self-Reliance

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Chapter 14:

Getting Around After a Disaster

What will you do when you run out of gasoline and there is no more at the filling stations? I am going to assume that a horse or horse-drawn carriage is impractical for you. Unless you have a farm or ranch and already enjoy horseback riding, I am not going to recommend that you include one in your survival stash. For one thing, they eat...well, like a horse!

I also do not recommend that you stockpile gasoline, at least not more than perhaps one or two 5-gallon cans. It is too dangerous. Gasoline also does not keep well. It starts going bad after about a year in storage. If you do choose to store a small amount of gasoline be sure to rotate it out, using it in your vehicle and replacing what you have in storage every 6 months or so. Gasoline additives are available at automotive supply stores that help stabilize gasoline, increasing its storage life somewhat. Diesel oil is much more stable than gasoline and more suitable for storage. It is also less volatile and therefore less dangerous to keep around. But even diesel fuel should not be stored for more than a few years.

If you have a motorcycle or scooter you will be able to get more miles out of each gallon of gasoline that you are able to scrounge up during an emergency. As soon as the filling stations run out of gas, you will want to park your car and use your motorcycle instead. A siphon hose suitable for gasoline should be a part of your survival stash. For as long as it lasts you can use the gasoline in your car as your supply for your motorcycle. But conservation is important. You will want to keep some of your gasoline for your garden tiller.

Honda Rebel motorcycle

I get about 75 to 80 miles per gallon of gasoline (about 3 liters per 100 km), and sometimes more, on my 250 cc motorcycle, a Honda Rebel.


Bicycling is one of the most efficient means of transportation allowing you to cover fairly large distances at reasonably fast speeds and with minimal expenditure of energy.

Bicycle with rear rack and panniers

You can also haul a fair amount on a bicycle or motorcycle if you have a transit rack and/or saddle bag type panniers. Your survival stash should include a good well-maintained bicycle for each member of your family along with the tools and accessories needed to keep them running smoothly, including a tire repair kit and pump. It is also a good idea to stockpile extra tires and inner tubes.

Do you know what the most common mode of transportation in China is today? If you are thinking bicycles you are wrong. The most common mode of transportation is walking. When we run out of gasoline we will no doubt be doing a lot of walking. We should all have good well-fitted walking shoes and/or hiking boots appropriate for each season. An extra pair or two in your survival stash along with plenty of good socks could prove most useful. You should also have good walking boots that are appropriate for freezing and wet conditions along with thick wool socks. Unlike many other materials wool provides good insulation against the cold even when it is wet. Good walking shoes and socks are very important for the survivalist so don't neglect this important detail.

Blister formation can be minimized by insuring that your shoes fit well and by wearing good socks. But some blistering will no doubt be inevitable so be sure to stock up on mole skins. Every first aid kit that you own, especially the small ones that you put in your bug out bags, should include a supply of mole skins along with scissors for cutting them to the appropriate sizes. Take care of any sores that you get on your feet immediately, no matter how small. Don't let a minor foot problem become a major one. Take good care of your feet!

In Case of Evacuation

For years I lived in Gulfport, Mississippi, and so I have experienced many city evacuations due to hurricane threats. Fortunately, these days hurricane landfalls are predicted days in advance. When an evacuation is recommended some people choose to leave right away while others wait until the last minute. And of course if the threat does not appear too great many people choose to stay. Many store shelves are emptied as people stock up on emergency provisions at the last minute. Since everyone does not try to leave the city at the same time evacuations are quite orderly and most go smoothly. There are traffic jams on the highways but the traffic usually continues moving, somewhat slowly perhaps, but since it is generally many hours before the hurricane will make landfall everything usually goes quite well and there is rarely a panic.

I can imagine quite a different scenario if everyone were to attempt to evacuate a large city at the same time—and in a hurry due to a panic! Imagine the worst rush hour traffic jam that you have ever experienced, and then multiply that by 100, and then throw in a panic! Everything will come to a complete standstill. People in a panic and will do crazy things. Automobiles, engines idling for hours, will run out of fuel and lanes and exits will be blocked. Others will try to drive around slow or stalled vehicles, perhaps even using their cars as battering rams. Accidents will be everywhere and some people will become violent and dangerous. It will not be a pretty picture! If you are on a motorcycle you will be in a better position because it will be easier for you to maneuver around stalled vehicles.

As I have stated before, if at all possible, you should batten down rather than bug out. In most circumstances you will be much better off in the safety of your home, along with your survival supplies, rather than in the streets battling it out with desperate people in a panic. I am not advocating that you ignore evacuation orders, especially when the threat is as dangerous as a hurricane or forest fire. But every emergency is different, and you should use your own judgment when deciding on the best course of action, rather than relying entirely on government officials. Be well aware of what you may be facing if you choose to hit the streets.

If you absolutely have to evacuate, your family will be ready with your well-stocked bug out bags. Each family member will grab his or her bug out bag, throw it in the car, and off you will go ahead of the crowds. Hopefully you will not have to stop for fuel, for the lines will be long. That is a good reason for always keeping your vehicle's fuel tank filled, rather than running around all the time with only half a tank or less. Don't plan on stopping at the store! The lines will be long there too and you will be wasting valuable time. That's why everyone in your family has a bug out bag in the first place. Neither will you have to stop by the bank or ATM because you will also have plenty of cash as part of the emergency supplies in your bug out bags.

Have a plan. Know where you are going. But don't count on finding a motel room for they will be booked solid. Ideally you will be making your way to the house of a family member or friend, where someone will be waiting for your arrival. You do not want to become a refugee of the state. Ask the New Orleans residents who were victims of Hurricane Katrina what it is like to be a refugee of the state!

Be prepared to leave your vehicle if you absolutely have to. That is why everyone has his or her own individual bug out bag, so each person can carry some supplies. Everyone should also be equipped with good walking shoes and plenty of clothing appropriate for the current weather conditions. Have a portable shelter, such as a small tent, or at least a small tarpaulin or sheet of plastic with which you can make a lean-to shelter. Leaving your car will be an absolute last resort, but you never know what you will be facing when you are forced to hit the streets. You should be prepared for even the worst case scenario.

If you have to leave your car behind and are trying to leave the city on foot, the quickest route may be to follow a railroad track. They tend to be less circuitous than the highways and roads and there will probably be less traffic. Do some research beforehand so you will know for sure where your track leads, and by all means watch out for trains. You might even be able to hop on a slow-moving freight train. But don't count on it. That could be very dangerous so don't risk it if the train is moving the least bit too fast or it if seems too dangerous for any other reason. I hope by now you can appreciate the importance of staying in your home if at all possible!

Action Step 20: Transportation Check Lists

Below are sample "GET" and "DO" lists for preparing for your transportation needs during an emergency. We discussed bug out bags and car bags in a previous chapter so they will not be repeated here. Use these lists to help you formulate your own check lists using the appropriate page in your Action Planner. Add additional items as you think of them:

Printer Friendly List Printer Friendly List
    Transportation "GET" Check List:
  1. [  ] Maps
  2. [  ] Good walking shoes (for each family member)
  3. [  ] Mole skins
  4. [  ] Motorcycle or scooter
  5. [  ] Siphon hose suitable for gasoline
  6. [  ] Etc.
  7. Bicycle Check List:
  8. [  ] Bicycle for each family member
  9. [  ] Transit racks
  10. [  ] Panniers, bags or baskets
  11. [  ] Bungie cords
  12. [  ] Tie down straps
  13. [  ] Bicycle tools
  14. [  ] Take along tool kit
  15. [  ] Extra inner tubes
  16. [  ] Air pump
  17. [  ] Tire repair kit
  18. [  ] Chain oil
  19. [  ] Helmets
  20. [  ] Gloves
  21. [  ] Lights
  22. [  ] Flashers
  23. [  ] Water bottles
  24. [  ] Locks
  25. [  ] Mirrors
  26. [  ] Fenders
  27. [  ] Car bicycle rack
  28. [  ] Etc.
    Transportation "DO" Check List:
  1. [  ] Get bicycles serviced.
  2. [  ] Get in shape by walking or bicycling regularly.
  3. [  ] Plan escape routes and destinations in case we have to evacuate the city.
  4. [  ] Etc.
Continue to Chapter 15: Money

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