Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

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Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by SouthernZombie » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:44 am

Hi all,

Having been inspired by the hobo signs that have been used for ages as well as the FEMA marks used during disasters like Katrina I thought I'd kind of merge the two camps and create useful signs for us ZSers. I plan on using these with my group and think it could be helpful if other ZS members out there were familiar with them as well. EMP and SHTF scenarios mean radios could become scarce. Feel free to print them out.

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I even created a PDF that has four copies on a standard sheet of paper so you can easily print and laminate it and give it out to all your mates.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/y6c3mloru4anb ... s.pdf?dl=0
Last edited by SouthernZombie on Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Maeklos » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:19 am

Not a bad idea - having a set of recognized tags for your group is always useful. But I'd like to point out that the double O and double diamond look remarkably similar.

You might consider a broader idea of signs before narrowing in, such as any symbol containing an X meaning something negative (X - went inside, nothing here/have moved on, XX - don't go in) and an O meaning positive (O - safe place, OO - police/military/survival safe zone). Rather than using symbols like the waves (which can be mistaken for HM in sub-optimal light, or if left rather hastily), fall back to letters that can't be mistaken: W for water (or supplies in general), and B for CBRN hazard and Z (or ZZZ) for keep quiet (since B and Z are hard to mistake for X, O, or W).

Just a couple thoughts for you, YMMV.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Stercutus » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:03 am

Hobos don't really see the police as a "safe zone", more like "no-go".

Left off a few like the mouth with teeth for a vicious dog.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by SouthernZombie » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:13 am

I know hobos would view the police as no gos, that's why it's just an indicator of what's there, not whether it's a particularly good or bad thing. I've made some of your recommended updates. I chose the X inside the square as that's a symbol utilized by FEMA for unsafe buildings as well.

Updated the pdf for everyone's use as well.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/y6c3mloru4anb ... s.pdf?dl=0
Last edited by SouthernZombie on Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by taipan821 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:22 am

you might want to avoid using the slashes and crosses, those are USAR markings

http://lwrcert.com/resources/USARMarkingSystem.pdf

If you were using these symbols in a natural disaster where Urban search and rescue was taking place you might confuse people
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by doitnstyle1 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:47 am

Good Idea. I don't think I could remember all of those and having a card in your BOB would help. I also agree that signs shouldn't be close to being mixed up either. Maybe creating a card with both marking systems on it would be helpful. May I also recommend designing a very unique marking for your family. Similar to a cattle brand identifying a ranch that cattle come from. That will probably help lessen the possibility of getting mixed up with other signs from other groups.

Maybe a specific colored thumbtack with initials or a symbol on it could work well and not be so conspicuous.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by teotwaki » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:13 pm

doitnstyle1 wrote:Good Idea. I don't think I could remember all of those and having a card in your BOB would help. I also agree that signs shouldn't be close to being mixed up either. Maybe creating a card with both marking systems on it would be helpful. May I also recommend designing a very unique marking for your family. Similar to a cattle brand identifying a ranch that cattle come from. That will probably help lessen the possibility of getting mixed up with other signs from other groups.

Maybe a specific colored thumbtack with initials or a symbol on it could work well and not be so conspicuous.
Large thumbtacks and a Sharpie marker?

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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Maeklos » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:40 pm

Why not strips of cloth, colored for each person/group? A thumb tack might be hard to shove into concrete, can come out, etc, but a length of colored cloth tied to a nearby bit of scenery or even a rock or branch and dropped on the ground can act as a marker - and one that'll probably be missed by people who aren't looking for it.
Politics is like having two handfuls of shit - one that smells bad and one that looks bad - and having to decide which one to put in your mouth.

"If the Russian flag were accurate, it would depict half a cabbage, a bottle of vodka, and a cold man dying for the Motherland."

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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by teotwaki » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:31 pm

Maeklos wrote:Why not strips of cloth, colored for each person/group? A thumb tack might be hard to shove into concrete, can come out, etc, but a length of colored cloth tied to a nearby bit of scenery or even a rock or branch and dropped on the ground can act as a marker - and one that'll probably be missed by people who aren't looking for it.
Surveyor's flagging tape and a Sharpie?

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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Maeklos » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:49 pm

teotwaki wrote: Surveyor's flagging tape and a Sharpie?
Not a bad idea. Easy to see, cheap, and plentiful. Though if you're wanting something a bit more low-visibility and under-the-radar, can pick up some reels of ribbon material in dark green, burgundy, and navy at your local Walmart, Jo-Ann's, or other craft store.
Politics is like having two handfuls of shit - one that smells bad and one that looks bad - and having to decide which one to put in your mouth.

"If the Russian flag were accurate, it would depict half a cabbage, a bottle of vodka, and a cold man dying for the Motherland."

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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by teotwaki » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:52 pm

Just did a facepalm. Chalk marks symbols can go almost anywhere

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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Maeklos » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:44 pm

Unfortunately, chalk can get washed away fairly easily, and it's often hard to tell chalk marks from dirt, brick dust, oil smears - all sorts of things. Picking up a rock and scratching it against a concrete surface will also produce a white line as the uppermost dirty layers of concrete are scraped away.

So, I guess some things you need to decide are:

1. How visible do I want the mark to be?
2. How long do I want the mark to last?
3. I had a third one, but can't remember it now. So, I'll just say 'peanut butter fudge brownies' and call it good.
Politics is like having two handfuls of shit - one that smells bad and one that looks bad - and having to decide which one to put in your mouth.

"If the Russian flag were accurate, it would depict half a cabbage, a bottle of vodka, and a cold man dying for the Motherland."

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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Anianna » Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:45 pm

Grease pencil can, too, right? It doesn't wash away as easily as chalk. To get around copyright, my stepmom would put workbook pages in report covers and make us use grease pencil for our answers. Stuff was a real pain to erase for the next user even from the slick plastic cover.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by doitnstyle1 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:05 pm

I was considering the thumbtack as low visibility. Not necessarily right by the markings but near it to identify the author or group.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by teotwaki » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:03 pm

Maeklos wrote: 3. I had a third one, but can't remember it now. So, I'll just say 'peanut butter fudge brownies' and call it good.
What was the question..... :awesome:

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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by SouthernZombie » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:35 pm

I've looked into grease pens/pencils before. My only concern is that a) they'd break in my BoB, or b) they'll somehow smear on stuff in my BoB.

I definitely like the idea of a unique identifier on top of the general markings for specific groups. I might make one that's laminated but as a stencil, so it can be tucked away and is small enough you can run a sharpie over it to get the design.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by teotwaki » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:01 am

There are holders available for grease pencils and paint sticks or maybe use a cigar tube for storage.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Maeklos » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:12 am

How about pots of finger paints or tempera paints? Dip some onto your fingers, slap the stencil on a wall, smear the paint over the stencil, done. Most wash off with a bit of scrubbing, but a mark made with them should hold up for a while under regular rain.

(And those brownies look AMAZING...)
Politics is like having two handfuls of shit - one that smells bad and one that looks bad - and having to decide which one to put in your mouth.

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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Anianna » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:55 am

SouthernZombie wrote:I've looked into grease pens/pencils before. My only concern is that a) they'd break in my BoB, or b) they'll somehow smear on stuff in my BoB.

I definitely like the idea of a unique identifier on top of the general markings for specific groups. I might make one that's laminated but as a stencil, so it can be tucked away and is small enough you can run a sharpie over it to get the design.
The ones we had were the grease bit inside a pretty thick pencil-style tube. We had to pull bits of the outer bit off to "sharpen" the pencil. I can't imagine one of those breaking without some pretty serious force and you could probably cap it with an improvised cap or even some tape. Searching around on Amazon for them, it looks like it's called a "peel-off China marker".
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by ineffableone » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:22 pm

I really dig the hobo signs, they were fascinating to me when I learned about them when I was a kid, and still are.

There is a bit of a modern movement of new symbols http://www.cockeyed.com/archive/hobo/modern_hobo.html with symbols for things like ticket scalpers, good dumpster diving, well stocked bathrooms, open wifi network, used frier oil, gps misdirection, etc.. some of this modern code is fairly comedic rather than really serious. But then the old hobo code had it's moments if comedy too. Old time or modern the hobos and tramps seem to have a bit of humor in them.

On the topic of the OP's modified code. The big thing here is having a group all on the same page. For the most part doesn't matter what symbols one uses as long as everyone who needs to can understand them. Though the one problem with using anything close to what FEMA or other agencies use, is the possibility of confusing what they might do with your own group's symbols. So you would want it different enough from their symbols so there is no confusion. You might expect some FEMA symbols in a SHTF situation thsat has turned into PAW. For a time FEMA or other agencies might have been trying to do their jobs, and find survivors and assist in a clean up. So their symbols might be out there. As well as the FEMA symbols are fairly known these days, and others might use them as they work through an area.

But I do think the OP's idea of modified symbols for his group is a great plan. And something I would recommend any group of networked preppers either adopt or create their own versions of.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Wraith6761 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:16 pm

I like the idea of it, simple enough to remember yet archaic enough that the average person wouldn't even pay attention to it. I'd probably just use something like a cheap grease pencil to leave the messages, as they don't tend to be overly messy...just keep it in a ziploc bag if you're worried about it getting onto other gear.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by MacAttack » Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:48 pm

My family came up with a simple system everyone already knows.

Simple text emoticons plus personal symbols for for each family or family member and specific locations. Placed at predetermined locations in case of school evacuations and or weather emergencies.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by teotwaki » Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:54 pm

What I like is that SouthernZombie created something and shared it with all of us in a downloadable file as well as sparking this discussion.
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Re: Some Hobo/Fema Signs for you and yours

Post by Dogan » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:42 pm

I like that my family, in addition to infrequently used words as safewords to communicate distress without too much suspicion, we already have animal related identifiers to use when comms are not secure, or to leave our mark. To you, "gecko and giraffe were here" scrawled on a bathroom wall would mean nothing. To my family, it means me and my SO passed through.

We also have alternate names for some of the more important points of our bug out routes, which we all know but are not marked on any maps. Taking Elk Road to Darkwing Pass means nothing to someone else on open comms, but my family would know exactly where I was.

My family also knows, and knows I favor, an old Ben Franklin code which is easy to decipher but also easy to hide.

Now I want brownies. Dammit.
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