May 26, 2024

International Preparedness Network

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Emergency Transportation


When the going gets really tough, you may need emergency transportation.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are forced to evacuate your home, workplace or wherever you may find yourself because of a disaster or emergency; you may not be able to use your automobile.  Disasters and other emergencies often produce severe damage to buildings, bridges and roads that can make travel difficult and in many cases impossible.

Traffic Jam
Emergency evacuations clog traffic.

It may sometimes be necessary to utilize other forms of transportation to move safely and swiftly to safe areas.   If you have a short distance to cover to move to a safe area, walking is probably your best and most effective option.  

Walking from disasters
Walking to escape disaster

However, if you need to travel longer distances, you will need a safe, tested and reliable form of transportation that you can use to move out of harm’s way quickly.   On land, there is nothing more effective than the bicycle.

Montague Paratrooper Bike

The bicycle pictured above is called the Montague Paratrooper. 

This bike was originally developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a light human powered infantry vehicle. The Montague bike is currently in use by the US Marines, Army and police departments across the United States. It is a full-size and folds. It can be easily packed inside of an automobile trunk, or slung over your shoulder and carried in its own bag!

(see video below)

A durable folding bike like the Montague Paratrooper is better than a fixed frame due to its light weight & portability.   Smaller folders are great also but cannot handle the heavy loads that a full-size model can.

To make your emergency bicycle even more reliable, purchase “run flat” or “puncture-proof” tires.Britek Tires of Colorado will be marketing a new puncture proof tire soon.


There are many companies that make puncture resistant tires that you can look up on the internet.

Outside of bicycles, the only other reliable form of human transportation for land is something that can only be used by highly skilled and fit individuals.  It is called an “all terrain roller skate.”

If you are an experienced roller skater and are physically fit enough to use them, this is another great option for emergency travel.  Outside of a muddy road and sand, these skates can move across most surfaces.

Water Transportation Systems

In some cases, you may need to cross or travel on a body of water such as a lake or river.   When you do, you’ll need a boat.   For emergency transportation, inflatable boats are your best option. They are easy to use, set up, store away and are relatively inexpensive. Before purchasing an inflatable boat, you must know what types are best suited for emergency use.

To begin, there are four distinct types.

1. Yacht Tenders.


3. High performance hulls.

4. Rigid hull or RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boats)

1. Yacht tenders are best for civilians that would like to own a small safe (6-20 foot long) inflatable boat that can be used for either emergency or recreational purposes.  Currently yacht tenders have four types with different hull (floor) configurations. Most have floors with four inch wide fabric and wood or plastic inflatable slats that run across the beam.

This type of slatted floor is generally found in inflatables from about 6 to 8 feet in length only, because of this very light structure yacht tenders are not as strong as others with v-hulls or inflatable keels so they don’t work as well with motors or rowing.

Sea Eagle Yacht Tender
Sea Eagle Yacht Tender

2. V-hull (wood or inflatable keel)  These are built with a longitudinal (across the length of the boat) inflation tube or wood keel placed directly underneath the floorboards. When it is blown up, it produces a stable V-shaped keel in the front (bow) of the boat this makes the vessel more stable and buoyant as it moves through the water.

V-Hull Yacht Tender
V-Hull Yacht Tender

3. High-performance hulls  are inflatables that are specially designed for high speed use. Only experienced users should opt for this type of inflatable craft.

High Performance Hull
High Performance Hull

4. Rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RIB’s) These have a solid fiberglass hull joined to an inflatable collar giving it the benefits of an inflatable and rigid craft. They can also hold more weight.

Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat
Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat

Inflatable boats are especially useful in flood prone low-lying areas. Even urban residents who live near rivers may consider owning a small model (8-12)  for use during emergency evacuations. In large cities, traffic may prevent rapid movement. An inflatable boat equipped with a small outboard motor could easily move a family of four up to 20 to 30 miles away from a disaster area in less than four hours. In NYC, it could be used to move up or down the Harlem, East or Hudson river to a safe area.

During a flood, it could be used by a family to move quickly out of the submerged zone.

Inflatable Boat
Flood Escape By Inflatable Boat

Users of inflatable boats must always remember to carefully tuck away all sharp objects so that they do not puncture the skin.  This could cause it to rapidly deflate and sink. Overloading is also a safety issue. Be sure to pay close attention to the manufacturers-weight ratings. If moving through flood waters, make certain to look out for dangerous sharp debris. Use your oars to move it out of your path if possible. If not, be very careful as you move around it.

There are small gas and electric outboard motors especially designed for inflatable boats. The motor that you choose should never be over or under powered; or, over the manufacturers performance rating.

Small Outboard Motor
Small Outboard Motor

Make sure that you match the performance of the motor with the tasks it will perform. If this is an emergency escape craft, you must purchase a boat large enough to haul all of your passengers & emergency gear. Always check the length of the motor shaft (short long or extra long) each inflatable is designed to work with one or the other — never both. If you use a motor, you must purchase an inflatable that can accommodate one.

Like all inflatable objects, there will be small punctures, tears and leaks. Each boat comes with a repair kit that will allow you to easily make repairs in the field if you need to. Large tears require a bit more expertise to repair, but, they can also be done effectively if you take the time necessary to do it properly. Always be mindful to use glue that is rated for use with the material your boat is manufactured from and make sure to keep your repair kit fully stocked and handy in a floating container.

Emergency Air Transportation

Disasters and emergencies can sometimes make certain areas inaccessible to any type of land or water vehicle. This is when only some form of air transportation system will do. Regular fixed wing aircraft may not have the space to land due to debris. In most cases Helicopters and “ultralight” STOL (short take off & landing) aircraft are the best forms of emergency air transportation.

There are several personal helicopters & other similar concept vehicles being developed for civilian use.  The video below is a great example of what may be available in the near future.

There are many new forms of emergency transportation that are currently being developed.  Be sure to check back in this section for new additions & updates!


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