Wake Up Call

byJD February 17, 2023

After the East Palestine train incident and the string of balloon shoot-downs, including one over Michigan, I was already working on upping my actual “walk out the door” preparedness. Then, this morning, I woke to text messages from the local police. They were advising residents that a Norfolk Southern train had derailed ON THE STREET OUR SUBDIVISION IS ON. Now, it’s about 3 miles south of us, but it’s close.

It really triggered the thinking. There is another rail line just 2 blocks from our front door. My adopted pseudo-kid, Watcher on the Web, has a rail line right outside his window.

I decided it was time to heed some Tactical Wisdom and put down some thoughts for all to share in from my thinking. Strap in, we’re going deep.

But first, a warning against normalcy bias:

While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

1 Thessalonians 5:3

Living in such a modern and relatively secure society like the US, we all tend to think there will be some advance warning. Nothing can “surprise” us, right?

The people of Kenosha, Wisconsin disagree. The people of East Palestine, Ohio disagree. Things can happen in an instant.

Take the balloon incidents. By now, most of America has forgotten about them, because no damage was done, right? What if China was testing a delivery system? The Michigan Air National Guard pilots reported seeing strings hanging off the balloon before they shot it down over Lake Huron. What if it dropped whatever it was carrying?

In light of the train derailments, let’s look at my plans.

First, the derailment this morning, while it blocked two major roads, including the one my subdivision opens onto, it didn’t impact any of my routes out of the area, so that’s a good thing. Always have 4 route options (PACE – Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency). Since I work from home or in the field, heading up to the cabin 3 hours away wouldn’t have been a problem.

But what if I’d had to evacuate on foot in a chemical environment, possibly the second worse scenario (worst being doing so in an OPPOSED manner with hostile forces). In order to pull this off without contamination, I need a few extra items.

Tyvek Suit – This is the best option, available at Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, etc.
Rain poncho – You can, if you don’t have a Tyvek suit, cover yourself and your gear with a rain poncho. Government surplus models are large enough to cover you and your backpack. You need one for everyone.
Head covering – A Tyvek suit covers this, but you can put on any hat in a pinch.
Gloves – As I frequently mention, gloves go on at the onset of any WROL/Disaster situation.
Hand sanitizer/disinfectant – both for your skin and something for your gear.
Pack Cover – some type of waterproof pack cover to keep your backpack from getting contaminated.
Respirator/Gas Mask – Something to clean the air you breathe in a potentially chemical environment.
Boot covers – Again, Tyvek covers this. If you can’t find anything, take them off before entering any shelter area to prevent contamination.

Any of these things that you put on to travel outdoors exposed to chemicals or toxins, needs to be taken off before entering any shelter area outside the immediate hot zone.

In this type of environment, the types of survival food you have stored may either help or hinder your long-term survival. Many people have dehydrated foods or dry beans/grains (rice). Without a means to purify water or obtain known safe water, this food will be useless to you. In a chemical environment, boiling may not be enough. Activated charcoal filtration can help.

Something to consider is whether you will abide by a mandatory evacuation or not. Residents of East Palestine were threatened with charges of child endangerment. OK, I’ll send the kids to grandma’s house, but someone has to protect the rest of gear and food back at the house. Criminals like mandatory evacuations. The civilians are gone and the police are tied up manning checkpoints…it’s a burglar’s dream. Decide now if you will leave and then infiltrate back in or if you will leave someone behind in a “stay-behind” operation. You can also decide to bend the knee and do as your told, citizen. That’s not for me.
You’ll want to hide your phone emissions!

Understand that if you choose to violate an evacuation order, you’ll have to operate as if in a hostile-occupied zone. This is where those TW-02 Fieldcraft skills come in. There will be no watching TV or grilling outdoors. Have a communications plan and possibly plan a method of switching out adults protecting the house or your neighborhood. Police might patrol through in vehicles, but a full house-to-house search would be unlikely (and illegal) in all but the most severe of disasters. Remember, even if they have a warrant, you aren’t required to open the door for them.

Consider having plastic on hand to try and seal the doors and windows. Don’t forget about vents and other small openings. You won’t be airtight, but you can limit your exposure.

It’s a good idea to research your state’s emergency powers laws and know where you stand if you violate such a mandatory evacuation or even a curfew. Imagine a Moore-County level curfew. The power is out, and criminals are preying on homes with the police occupied. Is it worth the risk of arrest to have a few adults man a checkpoint at the subdivision entrance? Would your local police actually enforce the curfew?

If you do stay in violation of an order, live like the power is out. No lights, no open fires. Stay indoors during the day. Only move outside at night. Stay as quiet as possible.

The time to consider these things is now, not when the decision is forced on you. Research concealed routes into and out of your neighborhood (I have three selected). Walk them and become intimate with where you might hide yourself or stash things.

Decide on your security posture. Do you carry long guns or just sidearms? Open or concealed? Do you stage ammunition and non-lethal items near doors and windows? Where can I best protect the house from? Hint: The answer is probably outside. Decide if you want to remain hidden or make yourself known if a crew of burglars comes in to the area.

Don’t get me wrong, if the contamination or danger is too high, GO. Don’t stay. Just take ALL of your supplies with you when you do leave.

A word to my “bug-in at all costs” friends: RECONSIDER. Your death staying in an area too contaminated to survive is not helping anyone, least of all your family or your legacy. A strategic withdrawal is not a defeat. That also goes when 40 people have decided to besiege you – leave.

In your evacuation plans, consider your pets. Have “go bags” ready for them as well. Have some food and water for them, along with collapsible bowls for them to eat and drink out of. Consider, for dogs, a comfort item that smells like home. Know pet first aid and CPR. They are part of the family and you accepted responsibility for them. Know where you can go with them ahead of time.

Keep a substantial amount of cash in small bills on hand at home at all times for these emergencies. Gold and Silver as well. Remember to take this and your important documents with you, should you need to evacuate.

It’s getting crazier out there, plan and prepare.

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"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861