I’ve got a disabled person in my life who I care about deeply. One of my greatest fears is that, in a SHTF survival situation, I will have to leave him behind in order to protect the rest of my family. Forget the “every man for himself” mentality. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that my disabled loved ones have a shot at surviving! Here are just some of the prepping and survival tips I have for the disabled (they also apply to the elderly). Please let me know if you’ve got any more ideas!
Know Your Weakness
The most common disability affecting adults is mobility issues. According to this fact sheet, 13% of American adults have a mobility disability.
My friend has a mobility disability. He isn’t wheelchair bound, but does have trouble walking and definitely cannot run. In a situation where we’d have to walk a long distance to get out of a danger zone, he could end up being a liability for the entire group. So, in his case, his main weakness is fleeing. Here are some other examples of prepping weaknesses that the disabled may have:
Examples of Weaknesses
- Hearing Impaired: Communication
- Sight Impaired: Fleeing, sheltering in place, finding resources, utilizing resources (such as being able to filter water)
- Mobility Impaired: Fleeing, sheltering in place
- Cognitive Disabilities: Resource utilizing, decision making
- Medical Disabilities (such as requiring a respirator): Susceptible to grid-down
Compensate for Weaknesses with Strengths
Let me point out that we all have weaknesses in our survival and prep plans. It is impossible to be 100% prepared for everything. However, the disabled are going to have inherent weaknesses. If these weaknesses can’t be overcome (which I will talk about in a minute), then you need to focus on building up other strengths.
For example: If your weakness is ability to flee (Bug Out), then you better have extra food storages and supplies.
Can You Overcome Your Weakness?
Having a disability doesn’t make you helpless. There are even a lot of ways that you can completely overcome your prepping weakness so your disability doesn’t become a liability. Here are some examples:
Solution: Get a well-stocked hidden bunker
Solution: Devise an alternative communication plan
Weakness: Resource utilization
Solution: Practice using your supplies and equipment; run extra test drills
Use Technology to Your Advantage
If you can afford it, then there are a lot of technological resources that you can use to your advantage when prepping with a disability. For example, my mobility-impaired friend told me about this cool exoskeleton made by the company Ekso Bionics (pictured below). It is basically a robotic suit which mobility-impaired people can wear to help them walk.
Strength in Numbers
One of the biggest mistakes people make when prepping is taking the “lone wolf” mentality. But people simply aren’t like that. We have survived through the millennia with strength in numbers. If you have a disability, then strength in numbers is going to be particularly important. Start searching out prepper community near you – or consider relocating to a prepper community. Regardless of whether you are disabled, I suggest that all preppers read this post on how to get your community in on your prep and survival plan.
Consider How Grid-Down Will Affect You
Many disabled people rely on special medical equipment which runs on power. In a grid-down event, these people are going to be particularly susceptible. Make sure you consider how a long-term grid outage would affect you. Don’t forget about the risks of EMP frying your electrical devices! Now is the time to:
- Get backup batteries for your equipment
- Buy a generator
- Invest in renewable energy for powering your devices
- Build a Faraday cage and keep a backup of your important devices in it
Stock Up Your Medications Now
If you require special medications for your disability, you need to stock up on your medications NOW. Again, this prepping advice applies to all people and not just those with disabilities.
Make Your Bug Out Plan
I’ve been following the news about the Syrian refugee crisis as lesson in SHTF survival (regardless of the politics, following the refugee news is a great way to see what problems arise when people need to bug out or flee). One thing constantly strikes me: all of the pictures of refugees in wheelchairs. While other refugees were slipping through holes in fences, the disabled refugees were stuck in the mud in their wheelchairs.
To compensate for your weakness in fleeing, you need to make your bug out plan very carefully. Memorize your local area. Get a suitable bug out vehicle. Plan your Bug Out Vehicle – like getting an off-road wheels for your wheelchair. And, most importantly, GET OUT EARLY! Don’t wait until SHTF to flee. By then, the roads will be too congested and you might find your options exhausted.
Here are some cool wheelchair options for disabled preppers.
Be Ready to Bug In
Even if you take the extra steps of making a good bug out plan and secure a bug out location, you still have to be ready to bug in. Here are some of the extra steps that the disabled will have to take:
Have Your Medical Info in Your Bug Out Binder
One of the most common things that preppers forget is to make a Bug Out Binder. A Bug Out Binder contains all of the important information you will need if you have to flee, such as your passport, ID, and contact info. Disabled people will want to go the extra step of making sure that their Bug Out Binder contains all their pertinent medical info, as well as medical history.