Could Overland Bound Members Have Our Own Version of the Cajun Navy?

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Sasquatch SC

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I recently watched a documentary thing about the Cajun Navy. They are just regular folk w/ boats that have big hearts & are willing to go out & help. I think Overland Bound could have their own version of this.

We have vehicles that are built up to get us through a lot of rough terrain & carry a lot of gear. We have accurate & dependable navigation equipment. We have great comms gear.

Then look at what else we do in addition to overlanding - we have people here w/ kayaks, canoes, & I’m sure plenty of powered boats.

I am currently inactive volunteer K9 Search & Rescue (my faithful 4-legged partner crossed the rainbow bridge after developing a neurological disorder). I have my Overland rig that has comms. I can switch out the gear I normally take for a relaxing weekend in the woods & put in water bottles & MRE’s. I have a big first aid kit. I have a 15’ aluminum hulled flats skiff that is super wide so it is more stable. It can run in really shallow water & underwater debris aren’t really going to break it open like it would on a fiberglass boat. It also has a skeg plate & a prop saver on the outboard. The skeg plate keeps the prop from breaking on something under the surface & the prop saver keeps anything from getting wrapped up. I have a kayak to check smaller areas before you take a boat in.

My experience is as a Carolina boy - so we have hurricanes & storm surges. That is what I know, but this can be experienced out to wildfires, tornados & whatever else that happens to our communities.

I’m healthy. I’m able bodied. I have a good job that has allowed me to do things like to go overlanding & fishing & afford the gear to do it. Life has been good to me. I feel it would be a waste for me to not help people when I already have all the tools.

Tell me what y’all think.
 

Supernaut

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I don’t have a boat or a trailer. I don’t live near places that flood but we have plenty of fires and earthquakes to worry about so I’m completely behind this idea.
 

Anak

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I am sure you will find there are a number of folks here who are very like-minded. I was CERT up until a couple of years ago.

Independence/self-reliance go hand in hand with being able to get out of interesting scrapes. And only once you are able to take care of yourself are you really starting to get into a position to take care of others too.

FWIW, the local chapter of my Cherokee forum has a thread dedicated to who has what resources available where in the event someone needs help with a vehicle recovery. OverlandBound would appear to have a similar mindset. When someone was in trouble in my neck of the woods I received a PM alerting me to the situation in the event I could be of assistance. That is all good in my book.
 

DrivingTacoLoco

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It's pretty common in snowy locations to hear calls for 4x4's to help get first responders and medical personnel to hospitals and such. That's certainly something we can do.
 

Sasquatch SC

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I am sure you will find there are a number of folks here who are very like-minded. I was CERT up until a couple of years ago.

Independence/self-reliance go hand in hand with being able to get out of interesting scrapes. And only once you are able to take care of yourself are you really starting to get into a position to take care of others too.

FWIW, the local chapter of my Cherokee forum has a thread dedicated to who has what resources available where in the event someone needs help with a vehicle recovery. OverlandBound would appear to have a similar mindset. When someone was in trouble in my neck of the woods I received a PM alerting me to the situation in the event I could be of assistance. That is all good in my book.
OB definitely has an SOS feature & that is awesome. I’m thinking more along the lines of disaster response. We all know that when this stuff happens the authorities & government entities are overwhelmed. If we could just show up and be ready to help - that’s a lot of good that can be done. I don’t need it to be my job to go out & help someone who is stuck in a flood or threatened by an oncoming fire but have no way to escape it bc of age, health, or whatever else. I’m just going to go do it. But coordination and numbers would mean more people could be helped.

Not only would it be a good thing to do, but it would also earn a lot of goodwill from the community. People who aren’t into it or are just not in the know wouldn’t just see someone who drives a ridiculous, uneconomical, monster of a machine. I mean, they would still see that, but they’d also see those people as someone who is willing to help their neighbors at their point of greatest need.
 
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Anak

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There is a fine line to be walked there.

The FEMA type officials, once they show up, are going to regard good Samaritans as somewhat less than welcome. OTOH, many of the rank and file who have boots on the ground are going to be happy to see helpful resources. Walking that line is a challenge.

Think of it from a liability insurance perspective. Much like trying to walk into a production facility or even some car repair shops. The general public is not welcome simply because they are not trained to be aware of the hazards.

I am not saying don't be ready to help. Just be aware of challenge you will likely face when you do show up to help. Look for a background role you can play and you will probably be fine. Start getting noticed and someone upstairs is likely to pull some legal card that won't make you happy. That is just the world we live in.
 

Sasquatch SC

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There is a fine line to be walked there.

The FEMA type officials, once they show up, are going to regard good Samaritans as somewhat less than welcome. OTOH, many of the rank and file who have boots on the ground are going to be happy to see helpful resources. Walking that line is a challenge.

Think of it from a liability insurance perspective. Much like trying to walk into a production facility or even some car repair shops. The general public is not welcome simply because they are not trained to be aware of the hazards.

I am not saying don't be ready to help. Just be aware of challenge you will likely face when you do show up to help. Look for a background role you can play and you will probably be fine. Start getting noticed and someone upstairs is likely to pull some legal card that won't make you happy. That is just the world we live in.
I’m just going to stay out of their way and do my own thing. FEMA is notorious for their ineptitude & legal bullshit. I’ve ran into them more times than I can count during Hurricane season. The state & local guys are happy for any help they can get. They just want to know your name, number, radio frequency & that you know theirs. You may not be able to use their FOB bc of liability, but unless you are clueless & completely out of your depth or a danger to yourself. Nobody is going to stop you from helping more people.
 

Specter

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I recently watched a documentary thing about the Cajun Navy. They are just regular folk w/ boats that have big hearts & are willing to go out & help. I think Overland Bound could have their own version of this.

We have vehicles that are built up to get us through a lot of rough terrain & carry a lot of gear. We have accurate & dependable navigation equipment. We have great comms gear.

Then look at what else we do in addition to overlanding - we have people here w/ kayaks, canoes, & I’m sure plenty of powered boats.

I am currently inactive volunteer K9 Search & Rescue (my faithful 4-legged partner crossed the rainbow bridge after developing a neurological disorder). I have my Overland rig that has comms. I can switch out the gear I normally take for a relaxing weekend in the woods & put in water bottles & MRE’s. I have a big first aid kit. I have a 15’ aluminum hulled flats skiff that is super wide so it is more stable. It can run in really shallow water & underwater debris aren’t really going to break it open like it would on a fiberglass boat. It also has a skeg plate & a prop saver on the outboard. The skeg plate keeps the prop from breaking on something under the surface & the prop saver keeps anything from getting wrapped up. I have a kayak to check smaller areas before you take a boat in.

My experience is as a Carolina boy - so we have hurricanes & storm surges. That is what I know, but this can be experienced out to wildfires, tornados & whatever else that happens to our communities.

I’m healthy. I’m able bodied. I have a good job that has allowed me to do things like to go overlanding & fishing & afford the gear to do it. Life has been good to me. I feel it would be a waste for me to not help people when I already have all the tools.

Tell me what y’all think.
I love it. I do search and rescue for the state of VA and my gear never leaves the back of my rig. When I’m called, Specter comes out and I’m ready for anything. When a storm hits the area I am filling the gas tanks and standing in the driveway for it to pass so I can’t lend help to my neighbors. There is nothing better than keeping your skills sharp and your field equipment in operating order all while giving back to your community. Overlanding is about adventure, and in my mind it can be found as much in a neighbors back yard as it can thousands of miles from home.
 

Anak

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Two actually.

You need a large (-ish) one for tree trunks, but most of the work is better done with a small saw. And while yes, you can do the small stuff with the large saw it gets tiring after a while. So you see it is a safety thing. You need two saws in order to avoid fatigue which leads to accidents.

At least that is how you explain it to the budget office.
 

DrivingTacoLoco

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Two actually.

You need a large (-ish) one for tree trunks, but most of the work is better done with a small saw. And while yes, you can do the small stuff with the large saw it gets tiring after a while. So you see it is a safety thing. You need two saws in order to avoid fatigue which leads to accidents.

At least that is how you explain it to the budget office.
I'll discuss it with the budget office. wife says no.jpg
 
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Sasquatch SC

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I use a Husqvarna 340 w/ an 18” bar. I keep some various sized wedges as well & a 36” long pry bar. The saw is big enough to bring some power to the party but it is light enough that it is easy to handle. The trick is to keep your saw in proper running condition. Making sure that they have the right fuel & oil ratio, not using ethanol fuel, keeping your chain tension adjusted, & having sharp backup chains, etc, etc, etc.
My saw, fuel, chain oil, tools, spare chains all fit in a locking storage box that I can store on my roof rack easily.
 

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Your county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is generally the coordinating body for this type of thing. In some areas, the sheriff runs the EMA with direction from FEMA and in other areas it is a stand-alone body governed the same way. Preference for volunteers is usually given to individuals who have taken some ICS classes or are at least familiar with NIMS. The firefighter and EMS folks on here will have more insight about the classes. I’ve taken a bunch but don’t have to regularly use that info. If I remember correctly, local EMA was the coordinating agency for the original Cajun Navy during Katrina. They made the grid assignments for searching.

Registered ARES operators are also sought after for emergency operations.

For what the OP is talking about, on a regional or even national level, you would very likely have to have a FEMA contact to get it organized. The worst thing you can do is self-dispatch to any disaster mobilization. I cannot tell you how many well-intentioned volunteers end up being the ones that have to be rescued, especially in floods. Take the time to get in contact with your local EMA and see if you can participate in tabletop exercises to learn how it all works. Some want volunteers, some don’t. You just have to make those contacts.
 
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Road

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Your county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is generally the coordinating body for this type of thing. In some areas, the sheriff runs the EMA with direction from FEMA and in other areas it is a stand-alone body governed the same way. Preference for volunteers is usually given to individuals who have taken some ICS classes or are at least familiar with NIMS. The firefighter and EMS folks on here will have more insight about the classes. I’ve taken a bunch but don’t have to regularly use that info. If I remember correctly, local EMA was the coordinating agency for the original Cajun Navy during Katrina. They made the grid assignments for searching.

Registered ARES operators are also sought after for emergency operations.

For what the OP is talking about, on a regional or even national level, you would very likely have to have a FEMA contact to get it organized. The worst thing you can do is self-dispatch to any disaster mobilization. I cannot tell you how many well-intentioned volunteers end up being the ones that have to be rescued, especially in floods. Take the time to get in contact with your local EMA and see if you can participate in tabletop exercises to learn how it all works. Some want volunteers, some don’t. You just have to make those contacts.
.
Agreed. It's one thing if providing support in your own area where you know the authorities, terrain, locals, and routes. It's another thing entirely to round up a bunch of well-meaning folks and head off to another part of the country that is experiencing a natural disaster. It often complicates things for those trying to coordinate relief efforts, who typically implement a triage type system of priorities and try to distribute goods and services evenly depending on need.

Tons of stories out there about trucks full of water, fuel, and clothing sitting unused in one place that can be used in another but that authorities have no idea exists. The information of who needs what and where they are, and who has what and where it is, really does need to go through a central point.

.
 

Sasquatch SC

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Let me clarify some things on this:
I have been inactive with SAR for a short time. I took a leave of absence but I am renewing my certs near the end of the month (before hurricane season gets really rolling). I started off and have been qualified for K-9 SAR, wilderness rescue & urban rescue (storm response).

My old vehicle and my girl Smokie.
13466087_10100142137368147_8098334311022736507_n.jpg

Street-by-street neighborhood clearance during a storm surge (in this area the real disaster is after the hurricane has passed)
21317538_10100338126189977_374494388929964476_n.jpg

Hurricane Irma 2017 - this was my first Subaru that was totaled by a drunk driver while parked in my driveway this past December - my current one is the same color, but it is lifted and has a ton of modification
jf5cqn4zyvm11.jpg

This was after my dog's retirement in August 2017 - 43 Career Recoveries
3gplbat1hwjz.jpg

I'm telling you guys this because I don't want you to think I'm completely delusional and trying to overstep onto anything. My current leave of active duty is because of that big beautiful pup in those pictures. I got her during the sophomore year of my undergraduate degree. I was big into hiking at the time. We hiked the Appalachian Trail together and I went through several dog training books during the trip. She excelled at it. The dog was smarter than most people I knew. If she had thumbs and could read, she probably could've gotten a drivers license. After we finished the AT she went through training with the SC Search & Rescue Dog Association. We responded every time they called us out. The reason for my leave of absence was because it felt weird not having her with me. After her retirement, she developed a hereditary condition many Shepherds get. Degenerative Myelopathy. It's a neurological thing. It starts with arthritis. Then progresses to a lot of clumsiness, balance, and a strange gait. Then her back legs stopped cooperating and she had some trouble standing, but was still getting around. Then one day, her front legs were doing the same thing. She couldn't even really stand for more than a minute on her own. We spent 13 years together, but on July 10 I had to do what was best for her and she crossed the rainbow bridge.

My thoughts on this subject were framed primarily around what the Cajun Navy does. Those guys have the gear (in their case, shallow water boats) and they are able to respond after storms on the gulf coast faster than officials can get the gear and equipment down there. A lot of the time, they are taking medics, law enforcement, etc, out with them. I would not suggest this type of thing to have someone from out of the area to come and try to help out. But if a disaster happens in your area, overlanders typically have the equipment and gear to help. In my area on the southern east coast - it is helping check neighborhoods before the surge has put everything underwater. The roads are typically torn up with downed trees, etc, that official vehicles can't make it down and the vehicles that they do have are too few in number to cover the area. Basically, it is letting everyone in that area that the shit is about to hit the fan and that they should get out. If they don't want to go and are riding it out - you make a note of the location, how many people are staying there, give them some MRE's and a case of water. After the surge - the officials are dealing with the asshole looters, or emergency situations. They need help checking on the people that didn't bug out. Making sure that if they are still there they are in a manageable situation or if they need to be evacuated.

To be clear - I am not suggesting a private force or bringing in a group of people with no idea of the area or terrain. I'm talking about local Overland Bounders, that have the gear and are willing to help when your neighbors need help.

"So others may live"
 
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Anak

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"Local" is very much the key element.

That was why I got involved with CERT. Ideally it is neighbors helping neighbors.

Self-deploying to another area is asking for trouble.
 
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