Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Part 1 - Logistics Series - Moving your response team from Point A to Point B

Part 1 - Logistics Series

Moving your response team from Point A to Point B 

The time comes when you will be requested to deploy your team somewhere outside of walking distance.  The question becomes, how do you maintain accountability?

Key things to remember:

Number of volunteers:

Each vehicle needs two or more people.  Two of which are licensed and insured drivers with clean driving records. For team or group accountability there needs to be more than one person in each vehicle.  Vehicles should be grouped in small manageable groups of five ore fewer vehicles.  Each group needs a group leader who is stationed in the first car, who is accountable for that group. The leader needs to keep in constant communication with the last vehicle in the group to make sure that no one falls behind or gets lost.  Typical cars have a weight capacity of about 800 Lbs, meaning that four passengers with no gear is the typical limit, or three passengers and 100-200 lbs of gear.

Vehicle range, group and speed : 

A typical car has a range of about 300-600 miles one way or about 150-300 miles round trip depending on fuel capacity and efficiency.  Electric vehicles have a total range of about 50-100 miles and are not viable as a long range people mover.

A single driver should be on the road for a maximum of 10 hours total.  There should be at least 60 minutes in breaks, so actual on-the-road driving time will be in about two 4.5 hour stretches.  Vehicle speed needs to be set 5 miles under the maximum speed of the slowest car and under the posted speed limit. Driving slower keeps people from cutting in/through your group, and keeps your group from getting separated due to traffic lights as often.  Members of a group who are speeding risk getting pulled over by the authorities and causing unnecessary delays for the group.  Vehicles need to be in good condition and need to be marked with the unit affiliation, team name, and the vehicle group number.  Each driver needs a copy of the map, trip itinerary and contact information for their group leader. 

Inter-car communications can be accomplished by Radios (CB, HAM, or FRS), Cellular telephones or by agreed upon hand signals.  A single group can move a maximum of 12-15 volunteers safely.  If you need to move more than 15 volunteers then consider mass transportation or larger passenger vehicles.

There are no laws allowing for vehicle convoys, it is still illegal to break traffic laws when driving as a group.  If a group member is separated by traffic the group must slow down or stop in a safe and legal fashion in order to reform and continue.


  • The groups route will be decided upon and documented before departure and approved by the unit leader.
  • The route needs to take into account fuel consumption of the most inefficient vehicle in the group by scheduling extra breaks at filling stations as needed.
  • The unit may opt to meet at a staging area outside of the impacted zone in order to enter the impacted area as a team.

Duties of vehicle group leader

  • Track members of their transportation group
  • Schedule meal breaks, driver breaks and re-fueling 
  • Maintain communications with vehicles in their group
  • Keep to the designated driving route identified ahead of time when possible
  • Ensure all driving laws are followed and the group proceeds in a timely safe manor to the destination

Multiple groups of vehicles

  • Every single group needs to have contact information for the other group leaders as well as a single detailed map and trip itinerary.
  • The first group bares the responsibility of 
    • scouting out the destination for parking and traffic issues
    • notifying other groups of changes in traffic conditions and detours
  • The last vehicle group is in-charge of picking up stranded vehicles from prior groups and/or rendering assistance.
  • Groups need to depart from the point of origin in at least 15 minute intervals so that the groups do not get bunched together in traffic.

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