Quick Reference Manual Regarding Disaster Survival and Recovery on the Road- Part 2, by J.P.R.


Identify Level of Failure

  • The power grid is down
  • Your cell phone is dead
  • Your land line may not work
  • Most electronic devices do not work or are impaired
  • Your car will not start or stopped running
  • Airplanes are falling from the sky
  • Small fires or explosions may be observed

This is a different event than a regular power failure. In this case, the power grid and many electronic devices have been permanently damaged. This is more serious than a power grid failure, depending on whether it is in a small or large area. If this is in a large region, say a prayer and know that your way of life is going to change for a very long time to come. You need to begin thinking in terms of surviving in a world of extremely limited resources, #1 of which is going to be clean drinking water. Be aware that if you are in a region with a nuclear power plant, you will need to also go to Disaster Plan #3 to learn how to respond.


  • If you are on a trip, your primary goal is to get home or to a safe long-term location. If your car stops running but you still have dash power or lights, try the following:
    • Open the hood and unhook the battery cables. You may need a wrench or pliers for this. Wait five or ten minutes, then hook them back up and try the ignition. If it works, your next challenge is fuel.
    • Unless you find a gas station with a working generator for the pumps, there will be no gas available from gas stations. You will need to aggressively seek it elsewhere, preferably before the rest of the population realizes what’s going on. You have about 48 hours until panic time.
    • If your car runs, you will need to buy gas from whatever source will sell it, be it another car owner, a gas can in someone’s garage, or even from a lawnmower. Offer a lot, if you have it. Offer to drive someone home in return for all of their gas. You can puncture a plastic gas tank under a car with a large screwdriver and collect it for transfer. DON’T HESITATE TO TRY IT! If you are near an auto parts store, immediately purchase a siphon pump!
  • DO NOT STOP for people flagging you down. Keep moving! Look down the road to anticipate blockages. After about six to eight hours, do not get anywhere near or stop for blockades. Turn around and drive away before getting close to them. As soon as people figure it out, they may want to commandeer (STEAL) your car from you. Avoid using the air conditioning, if you think your fuel will run low before arriving home.
  • Your best gas mileage is under the speed of 63 miles per hour.
  • You need to get water and food immediately. Stock up as much as you can, as soon as you can, and then keep going until you get home.
  • If you won’t make it and know somewhere else to go, go there to wait it out. Otherwise, check into a hotel, fire, or police station, and wait it out. Just know that if the power does not come back on, the world will become crazier by the day after supplies run out.
  • Remain extra cautious if you plan to travel at night. You must have sufficient fuel, food, and water. Understand that emergency response services will be strained already if you had a problem, and things are not what they usually are without traffic signals. Traveling at night, in the winter raises the odds against you.
  • As soon as the power comes on, gas up and get home. Plan for additional interruptions on the way home. Keep your tank half full or more, and keep your family well supplied.

My car won’t start. No battery power. . . it’s all dead! What now?

  • To begin, if it is winter and the weather is cold or unreliable, you will need to locate warm shelter and negotiate heated lodging as soon as possible. Next, you need to pursue clean water to carry and food.
  • The car will probably not be fixed anytime soon, because every car has the same problem. While you are waiting to see if there is any hope, you will want to be pursuing the things below as soon as possible. It might already be too late. If you can’t find a store, go up to safe-looking homes and start making generous offers immediately. Do not worry if they don’t get it. They soon will! Feel free to offer your entire car for something.
  • Stock up on water and food. Buy as much water (gallon jugs) as you can carry back to your car. Buy all the lightweight, storable food you can. The only canned goods carried should be canned meat, like spam. While at the store, if they sell anything with wheels, buy it! Start with a bicycle for everyone, bicycle trailer, or a toddler wagon with a handle, or even a wheelbarrow. Buy or barter for anything you need to prepare you for living out in the elements. You are going to be living like a refugee until you make it home. Don’t forget a big bicycle lock and a roadmap too!
  • Buy pepper spray for protection, sun screen, blister pads and band-aids, ponchos baby wipes, toilet paper, a good hunting knife, lighters, a small pot for cooking, and a tarp or small tent. Be prepared to not find a hotel room available.
  • Bring these things back to the car, because they will most likely be getting you home soon. You now must decide when to abandon your vehicle and move on toward home. The longer you wait, the more brutal life will get, so don’t wait too long.
  • Make your first goal to find shelter and rest up for the first day’s journey.
  • Know that as you travel, the supplies of food and water will become increasingly scarce by the hour. If your trip is long, clean water will be the most difficult thing to find. Do the best you can to keep the food and water out of view from others.
  • There will be sources of clean drinking water many people will be unaware of, such as hot water heaters, full toilet tanks, and clean objects that fill with rainwater immediately after it falls. (Avoid old standing water.)
  • Many farms or rural homes have generators on wells to pump clean water.
  • Old windmills pump clean water for cattle.
  • As you go, cut open a gallon water jug to make into a funnel. You will want to collect rainwater whenever it rains. If you have a clean tarp, use it to collect water!
  • Keep all of your gallon jugs for when you find a clean water supply. Keep your smaller water bottles too. Do not collect surface run-off water or standing pond water. Only collect lake or stream water if you have to and if the lake has fish or frogs in it.
  • To sterilize water, you have to rapid boil for one minute.
  • Travel in early morning hours, when many are still asleep.
  • While sleeping, have one person keep watch if possible.
  • After several days, begin to avoid populated areas whenever you can.
  • If you come across a running vehicle, no matter what it is, consider making an offer if you can, but know you will need fuel also.
  • If you sense danger, go away from the source as quickly as possible.
  • If you see a roadblock or guarded barricade, do not approach it. You may lose all of your belongings.
  • As time progresses, you need to become less and less visible to stay safe.
  • If you make it into an area with power or running vehicles, spend whatever it takes to get home or to a safe and supplied location.
  • Know that if you are traveling downwind from any nuclear plants, that within days there is a high risk of meltdown, radiation exposure, and fallout. See Nuclear Catastrophe or Attack response below.

#3 Disaster Response: Nuclear Catastrophe or Attack

A national alert is issued over the emergency broadcast system or you hear the take cover sirens, and they aren’t stopping. If they warn you that a nuclear attack is imminent for your area, you will most likely have less than 10-20 minutes at best to seek shelter. You will know by the wavering siren (up and down sound).

  • If you are in a building, you need to get to the lowest level and find an area that is covered with at least 6-12 inches of concrete or several feet of dirt. Be careful about choosing a boiler room. Many public buildings have shelters in them.
  • If you are on the road, you will need to seek a low shelter ASAP!
  • If you sense the flash, do not look at it! Seek cover at once. Begin counting slowly to 200.
  • If you are driving and see a flash, even if far away, drive the car into a culvert or ditch. If you can get out and flatten yourself in a ditch or pipe, do so. You may experience extremely high winds within seconds that could lift, toss, or crush the vehicle (200-2000 mph wind burst). Duck away from windows!
  • If the blast wave does not hit you by the count of 200, look for a shelter quickly, bring enough water for at least a three-day stay and plastic bags for waste. You probably have under an hour before fallout radiation exposure. Around one gallon per adult per day is best to aim for.
  • To survive fallout and radiation sickness, you need to stay in a shelter that has walls thick enough to repel a bullet slug from a deer hunting rifle from any direction. Anything less allows radioactive particles to penetrate. A full waterbed mattress on the floor above you can block it as well.
  • Stay inside the entire time. A formula for radiation sickness is below:
    • 4 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 small package of jello
    • 1 gallon of water
  • If you have access to Potassium Iodide tablets, this is the time to use them. They protect or block radiation from getting to your thyroid.
  • Keep radioactive fallout dust out of the shelter. Breathe clean air or wear a dust mask. Stay at least three days or up to a week. You may need to stay up to two weeks or more, if large fallout areas that are coming your way are downwind, until they pass. This might be the case with Chicago fallout reaching the Detroit area in about eight to twelve hours. Most deadly radiation is blown downwind within 36 hours, unless more is incoming.

Nuclear Fallout Exposure Time

If you need to go out of a fallout shelter, below is an exposure guide for typical fallout.

  • Complete isolation from 2 to 4 days following the last explosion.
  • You could go to get water on the third day, but keep it under 30 minutes.
  • One exposure of less than 30 minutes on the seventh day.
  • One exposure of less than 1 hour on the eighth day.
  • It’s okay to be exposed 2 to 4 hours between the ninth and twelfth day.
  • Resume life, followed by rest in a protected shelter, from the thirteenth day on.
  • Always be sure your exposures are as brief as possible. Only go out for life sustaining, valid reasons. Decontaminate at every stop or exposure.

Using a crank weather radio or shortwave radio will enable you to find out when to shelter, evacuate, or leave

Fallout Info from: www.ki4u.com