Due to the responses and comments about the CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE ELDERLY, HANDICAPPED AND SPECIAL NEEDS IN A SHTF SCENARIO article along with a request from a fellow blogger (with much more experience than myself), this is a follow up article to it.
While the first thing that comes to mind when someone says limited mobility is “handicapped”, there are many different reasons one may have limited mobility including general physical fitness level, age and injury or wounds sustained prior to or during an event.
While limited mobility is a concern to anyone with the issue, it’s brought to the forefront in the prepping venue due to the specific nature of the possibilities of extended time without current resources such as EMS, doctor offices, hospitals, grocery stores, public utilities or even vehicles.
General physical condition while the most important, is the also most overlooked aspect. Most people don’t give it nearly enough consideration. You don’t have to be elderly, handicap or even overweight (the ones most people think of in terms of limited mobility) to have limited mobility. You can be an eighteen year old of average weight, but those years of sitting on the couch playing video games are setting you up for failure. Don’t believe me? Try a small challenge such as a pack with 25% of your body weight for a 12 mile hike in under 4 hours (when I was in an Airborne unit we did it in moderate terrain under 3 hours). Check out the “Army SF Guidelines” (USAREC Pam 601-25) for a guide to work up from 30lb/3mi/45min to 50lb/18mi/4.5hrs. Diet, exercise and mental preparedness need to be a part of your everyday routine, no matter what stage of life you are in.
For age and injury there are several levels of assistance options available from the basics such as canes, crutches and wheelchairs to custom fitted/adapted vehicles. And don’t forget the options such as the “fireman carry”, improvised stretchers/litters, travois etc. for emergent or off grid moves.
To prepare for a SHTF event/scenario you should already be well versed in the use of any needed mobility device that you require. Whether it is being able to put on a knee brace without assistance in the dark or transferring down a flight of stairs with a cane or pair of crutches, practice (training) is imperative. The more you are able to accomplish without assistance the better. As stated in the previous article you should have your 72 hour bag with the listed supplies and medications readily available.
To state the obvious, bug in vs out and as part of a group vs alone, unless there is absolutely no other choice is paramount. Pre- SHTF is the time for the most important task of all planning and training. There is no substitute to having a plan ahead of time. This is also the best time for others to see and acknowledge your skills/value to the group whether it’s planning, teaching, canning, radio watch, fire tender, child care etc. If possible consider being the “bug in location” this will be the easiest solution to account for both your mobility and the need to relocate supplies (preps) and puts you on the top of the list as the go to place/person.
An often overlooked area of many groups is the necessity of an infirmary. In almost every Facebook prepper group, you will see the IFAK or even trauma kits with advanced items stressed. While this is great for the individual or even a team medic you will still need much more to survive long term in a SHTF situation. As stated in the “Medic Down” article, some of the group medics responsibilities include teaching other group members “self and buddy aid”, and more importantly camp sanitation, disease prevention and “sick call” (another area a person with limited mobility can be of assistance). The medical room should be well stocked with items other than the obvious medical supplies and medications such as bleach, cots, extremity and joint immobilizers/braces, canes, crutches, walkers and if possible wheelchairs and extra litter along with rolls of thick plastic at a minimum to make an isolation area if needed.
While the main concentration of the article is about limited mobility pre-SHTF we must not forget the very real possibility of injury or illness during a SHTF event. If you are “in the field” and become injured or if your group has to move without vehicles consider the use of a travois they were used by Native Americans with great success. The better known cross pole style with a horse can move a considerable amount of weight. Lesser known but viable options include both dog and man power versions.
In the meantime take advantage of every opportunity possible to put yourself in a sought after position in a group ahead of time by: being well stocked with supplies and food/water and “being the bug out location”. Seek out desired skill training such as canning, herb and crop knowledge or EMT (or higher) etc.
As always I appreciate any comments/feedback to this or any of my other articles, please feel free to contact, comment, email or follow us at patriotpreppermedic.wordpress.com or join our Facebook group.