Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by phil_in_cs » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:37 am

Making a follow up to the 'if you have to go to a shelter despite your best efforts...' idea:

There are several grades of shelters. At the initial bug out from Katrina, many opened here for refugees (and we're 300+ miles away and not on a major highway). The people that came here came under their own control, in their own cars. After the hotels filled up, shelters opened at community centers and churches. We helped out in those; they were universally well run and reasonably secure. Many of these people stayed long term, and we're happy to have them.

Then the second wave; those that didn't leave NOLA and ended up at the superdome. They were first bused to Houston, and then distributed and 500 ended up at the university basketball arena. The local paper reported 5 to 10 arrests daily there, and remember, thats out of 500 people, many of them children. This included a transgendered person who insisted 'she' use the ladies showers despited evidence 'she' wasn't female....

As the people with means found places to go, those at the arena were distributed out to the other shelters, spreading the security problems with them.

Important Points:
  • A smaller town off the main highways would be a good spot to head to in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Avoid big shelters at all costs; small groups of people are accountable to each other, but large groups of people are problems
  • Avoid at all cost shelters where groups of people are relocated to by govt order. You're much safer in a tent somewhere.
Don't confuse a belligerent and aggressive attitude with the strength, training, and conditioning needed to prevail in a fight. How do you know you have the Will To Win, if you don't even have the will to train?

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Re: Re:

Post by raptor » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:36 am

bgnad wrote:
I knew a guy at Fort Sill back when Dinosaurs ruled the earth, who grabbed a buddy, gave the buddy a clipboard with paper, then took off his rank tabs and walked around with said buddy pointing at things while the buddy wrote.

No one stopped them. No one asked them what they were doing. He even got some solutes out of the deal.
I knew this guy before, during and after his service, while I was not with him at the time, I don't think he made up the story.
There is something about a clip board that seems to instill legitimacy. The guy/gal with the clip board and pen always seem s to be where they are supposed to be, following orders or giving them out.
phil_in_cs wrote:
Important Points:
  • A smaller town off the main highways would be a good spot to head to in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Avoid big shelters at all costs; small groups of people are accountable to each other, but large groups of people are problems
  • Avoid at all cost shelters where groups of people are relocated to by govt order. You're much safer in a tent somewhere.
+1 Phil. Excellent points.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by Polar Bear 4/31 » Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:16 am

A thought on placing a utility logo on your truck/shirt. You will probably get acess to many areas, but everyone will run up to you wanting to know when their service is going to be restored. While you will look like you belong there, you will also get lots of attention. I worked Gulfport, MISS for Katrina, Port Author,TX for Rita and OKC,OK for the 07 ice storm. Without fail, we were constantly being approached by the public wanting to know when their power was going to be restored.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by raptor » Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:40 am

Polar Bear 4/31 wrote:A thought on placing a utility logo on your truck/shirt. You will probably get acess to many areas, but everyone will run up to you wanting to know when their service is going to be restored. While you will look like you belong there, you will also get lots of attention. I worked Gulfport, MISS for Katrina, Port Author,TX for Rita and OKC,OK for the 07 ice storm. Without fail, we were constantly being approached by the public wanting to know when their power was going to be restored.
One of the happiest sights after a hurricane is the utility truck with crews coming down the street. It is better than the ice cream man when you were a kid.

That said I (nor any poster to this thread) am not recommending imitating or impersonating an employee that does not employ you or impersonating any sort of first responder (utility crews are first responders). That is inappropriate.

What I am suggesting here and elsewhere that if you make up your own logo and company name there is no reason you cannot display that logo and company name on your vehicle.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by Polar Bear 4/31 » Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:36 pm

Sorry, I mis-understood the intent.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by busdriver » Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:24 pm

I flew in support of Katrina. That said I can tell you that for those of us responding, we operated on word of mouth and rumor mill. We were dropping people off at a dry overpass based on someone else saying they were going to be making runs from that overpass to the airport, etc. Is this bad? NO. Based on personal interaction, the collective group of aircrew made it up as we went along and were very successful in evacing those that wanted to go. This last point is worth touching on. Since I am active duty mil, we couldn't tell people they had to leave. So if someone wanted to stay, we went away. That may be different when the NG is involved. They are owned by the state and can assume police responsibilities. Me personally? If a survivor was armed, and seemed like a normal person, I would tell my guys to confiscate those firearms for the duration of the flight, and to return them once we landed.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by raptor » Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:10 pm

busdriver wrote:I flew in support of Katrina. That said I can tell you that for those of us responding, we operated on word of mouth and rumor mill. We were dropping people off at a dry overpass based on someone else saying they were going to be making runs from that overpass to the airport, etc. Is this bad? NO. Based on personal interaction, the collective group of aircrew made it up as we went along and were very successful in evacing those that wanted to go. This last point is worth touching on. Since I am active duty mil, we couldn't tell people they had to leave. So if someone wanted to stay, we went away. That may be different when the NG is involved. They are owned by the state and can assume police responsibilities. Me personally? If a survivor was armed, and seemed like a normal person, I would tell my guys to confiscate those firearms for the duration of the flight, and to return them once we landed.
I would be very interested in reading about your days flying after Katrina. Please share your experiences with us either here or perhaps a new thread in the Personal Experiences section. I know others would also welcome this also.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by Dak Kovar » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:22 am

Busdriver I would like to hear your stories as well.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by SpiritWalker » Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:17 pm

Y.T. wrote:
6)- how do you change clothes and handle toilet biz while (a) not dropping everything on the dirty wet floor and (b) keeping your gear with you?
When I'd use the shower facilities at campgrounds I'd bring one of those small plastic over-the-door hooks with me (like what you'd hang a coat or door wreath from). I'd hang it over the bathroom stall door or shower bar and use that to hold my shower bag and clothes while getting ready. Would such a thing work in shelters?
Y.T., they make metal "over-the-door" hooks and racks for clothes hangers as well. Find one sturdy enough to hold the weight of your BOB and modify it to fit over the sidewall of a typical bathroom stall. Make sure to hang it on the wall and not the door of the stall, lots of coats, bags and purses get stolen by thieves reaching over the door and grabbing them while the owner is occupied.

Carrying a rubber or plastic bathmat, to set things on, in your BOB maybe worthwhile if you expect to wind up at a shelter or use public restrooms a lot.
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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by raptor » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:16 pm

With the 2009 hurricane season 46 days away I thought I would bump this thread.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by WES » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:50 pm

Thanks for bumping it... another incredibly interesting thread.

Bgnad's journal was interesting (I read the whole thing). I had no idea that the FEMA operation was that ad hoc, and that hastily organized. Since I wasn't directly impacted by that disaster, I'll keep my opinions of FEMA to myself.

I can agree with the advice about being friendly, patient, and non aggressive when dealing with stressed out "officials".

The closest I've been to the whole "refugee" situation is being stranded in an airport, usually after a connecting flight is canceled due to bad weather. Not trying to trivialize the disasters, but this is the closest I've ever come. People are separated from their luggage, and have only what they carried on. Some people come unglued. It's amazing how many people start screaming at the poor airline employees, like it's their fault pea-soup fog or a lightning storm rolled in.

One time when I got stuck in San Francisco, a group of 8 well-to-do types (they had monogrammed jackets with country club logos, and cravats. Not kidding) spent half an hour hammering on the airline people. They monopolized the desk, snarled at anyone who tried to talk to any of the airline employees, and threatened to sue the airlines, have them all fired, etc. I just stood off to the side of the desk, and every time the airline people looked at me, I waved them off, and let them deal with the screamers and whiners. Finally half an hour later, the head guy made a point of walking over to where I was standing, folded his hands, and asked me if there was _anything_ he could do for me. He stressed the word anything.

I got meal vouchers, and hotel vouchers. My fiancee and I had sushi at a japanese restaurant. Far as I know, all the screamers and whiners forgot to even ask, and by the time they did, all the nearby hotels were booked up, and the airlines weren't handing out vouchers anymore.

Sometimes, not all times, you get farther by making the lives of stressed out people just one hair easier.


As a side note:

I always carry some kind of small travel games in my luggage every time I fly anywhere. Chess, checkers, backgammon. Sometimes more complex games (2 person settlers of cataan, if anyone knows what that is). They're small, they weigh hardly anything. I'm thinking of including them in my bugout bag. They're a bizarre way to break the ice with strangers who are going nuts with boredom. I've ended up with spectators around me, watching me and some stranger play chess. Then I tell them I have other games... and I'm willing to let others use them as long as they do so right near me. Boom. Instant game night. I've watched people's blood pressure visibly decline during a simple game of checkers. It helps distract people from a messed up situation they have no control over.
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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by raptor » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:07 pm

Bgnad's journal was interesting as were many of the contributors to that thread. Yes FEMA was that haphazard but the scope of the disaster was monumental. Though bear in mind only 3 less populated states were affected. It gives us some idea if such a disaster affected a major population area like CT, NY, NJ or CA, OR, WA. There are valuable lessons to learn from Katrina.

WES wrote: I got meal vouchers, and hotel vouchers. My fiancee and I had sushi at a japanese restaurant. Far as I know, all the screamers and whiners forgot to even ask, and by the time they did, all the nearby hotels were booked up, and the airlines weren't handing out vouchers anymore.

Sometimes, not all times, you get farther by making the lives of stressed out people just one hair easier.
There is a time to be assertive, aggressive and vocal. There is also a time to be patient and polite. I have like you found patient and polite to be far more useful with airline personnel than screaming and having a hissy fit. Though honestly in a perverse sort of way I enjoy watching the noobs throw a hissy fit. I particularly enjoy it when they in effect ask " Do you know who I am". That one never fails to bring a smile to my face.
WES wrote: I always carry some kind of small travel games in my luggage every time I fly anywhere.
That is a great idea. I had not considered that but a small travel Chess or checkers set may indeed be very useful.

I agree getting stuck in an airport is nothing like being a refugee. My opinion is that unlike the airport you may have to use a variety of attitudes to deal with situations. I think the patient and polite would be the best first response and the best response if you are unsure which approach to take. However, I can also see where being firm, but polite as well the next step insistent, firm and polite would likely have to be employed. I would never employ the "hissy fit, do you know who I am" routine since IMO it makes you look weak and potentially hostile and unstable.

The only time I would throw the "hissy fit" routine is to distract someone.

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by Nobody » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:24 am

I'm a refugee in a refugee camp?

1. Show my box tops, do some work, apply for a job somewhere else, go there.

(Quite a few years ago, I ate a lot of cereal and saved the box tops. When I had enough, I traded them in for little plastic cards that tell people I can render all these neat types of medical assistance, carry all kinds of weird weapons, travel the world, use strange equipment at an expert level, and that generally mislead people in power into thinking that I'm an asset and not a liability.)
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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by WES » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:33 pm

raptor wrote: I agree getting stuck in an airport is nothing like being a refugee.
Yeah, like I said, wasn't trying to trivialize being a refugee.

Though, before I wised up, I got put in some messed up situations by closed airports... no company credit card & everything prepaid and prelanned (but now useless plans), my own personal account nearly empty, and not even a change of clothing in carry-on bag. That particular trip was not a lot of fun. I learned a lesson on that one though.
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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by phil_in_cs » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:44 am

For those of us a few hundred miles inland, find a local organization where you can help out the refugees when they arrive. In our area, the county and the Red Cross work a system of shelters in local churches, with the churches ordered by size. That means the first 500 or whatever go to First Megachurch, the next 300 to United BigChurch, etc. They have road side signs directing the incoming people where to go, and an AM radio station to repeat the information in a loop.

Our church isn't that big, so we're like 20th on the list. Since we won't be part of the initial call up, my wife organized a team of cooks to help out with food and cooking at the first two big sites.

The county disaster folks and the Red Crossed used schools and civic buildings for shelters until Katrina and Rita. When those people were not able to go home quickly, they had to close the schools down for a week until they got the refugees relocated. The churches are better suited for people that need to stay several weeks or longer.
Don't confuse a belligerent and aggressive attitude with the strength, training, and conditioning needed to prevail in a fight. How do you know you have the Will To Win, if you don't even have the will to train?

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by bgnad » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:13 pm

raptor wrote:With the 2009 hurricane season 46 days away I thought I would bump this thread.
Thanks Raptor, once again you show us that you are thinking ahead (which not all of us are doing as well as we should at the moment) Thanks! :D
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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by CajunHam » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:11 pm

bgnad wrote:
raptor wrote:With the 2009 hurricane season 46 days away I thought I would bump this thread.
Thanks Raptor, once again you show us that you are thinking ahead (which not all of us are doing as well as we should at the moment) Thanks! :D
Thanks RAPTOR, we are getting ready down here.....
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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by phil_in_cs » Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:13 am

Bumping for our new friends to see, as hurricane season is on us again.
Don't confuse a belligerent and aggressive attitude with the strength, training, and conditioning needed to prevail in a fight. How do you know you have the Will To Win, if you don't even have the will to train?

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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by Famine » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:05 pm

This is a fantastic thread. I copied and pasted some of the posts and passed them on to some folks whom I suspect will one day benefit from the ideas and tales contained. Cheers!
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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:48 pm

raptor wrote:make up your own logo and company name there is no reason you cannot display that logo and company name on your vehicle.
:shock:





:)


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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by raptor » Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:32 am

Thanks for the bump and kinds words.

I do want repeat rule #1:
Do not be come a refugee, plan ahead.


That said, although many will deny this possibility for themselves (though those who deny this possibility are deluding themselves) it is possible, God forbid, that due to some unforeseen circumstance(s) you or a loved one may wind up a refugee or bugging out with just the clothes on your back.

Preparation done properly must include planning for a situation where every thing goes wrong. Hopefully your Plan A and Plan B will work, but still it makes sense to plan for a situation where everything goes wrong. A side benefit to such preparation is that it makes it more likely that rule #! will not be broken.

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Re: Re:

Post by ODA 226 » Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:29 am

raptor wrote:
bgnad wrote:
I knew a guy at Fort Sill back when Dinosaurs ruled the earth, who grabbed a buddy, gave the buddy a clipboard with paper, then took off his rank tabs and walked around with said buddy pointing at things while the buddy wrote.

No one stopped them. No one asked them what they were doing. He even got some solutes out of the deal.
I knew this guy before, during and after his service, while I was not with him at the time, I don't think he made up the story.
There is something about a clip board that seems to instill legitimacy. The guy/gal with the clip board and pen always seem s to be where they are supposed to be, following orders or giving them out.
phil_in_cs wrote:
Important Points:
  • A smaller town off the main highways would be a good spot to head to in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Avoid big shelters at all costs; small groups of people are accountable to each other, but large groups of people are problems
  • Avoid at all cost shelters where groups of people are relocated to by govt order. You're much safer in a tent somewhere.
+1 Phil. Excellent points.
This is very reminiscent of 3 Allied officers that escaped from Kolditz Prison during WW2. They made one German officer uniform and two German NCO uniforms from wool blankets. The sergeant carried a clipboard with paper. The corporal had a tape measure. The "officer" gave them orders of what to measure. The sergeant would record everything that the corporal measured.....

They measured their way from the center of the prison, out the front gate, through Germany and Vichy France and into neutral Spain. NO ONE EVER CHALLENGED THEM! Strange, but true!
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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by Persistent Nomad » Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:22 pm

Fantastic thread. My heartfelt thanks to everyone that has contributed.

I read every post :D

There is no substitute for lessons learned from direct experience. I'm just glad that I didn't need to go through something like Katrina to learn all of this.
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Re: Ok Now You Are a Refugee...

Post by Bearcat » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:33 pm

Great post! Thank you for all the lessons. This is a very beneficial thread.
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