Planning for Emergencies

When I finally sat down and took a serious look at trying to get a group of people other than my immediate family, I decided I needed to establish a clear, logical order to my thoughts. It's never easy to articulate something you do "by the seat of your pants," but I've taken my shot at it. I may have missed some things and I may not have made myself clear in places. Your comments, questions, and feedback are always welcome. Just drop me an email.

Preparedness Steps

I felt I needed to establish a series of concrete goals for a group or family to be guided by in their planning. I tried to set these goals down in their order of likely occurrence and necessity. I came up with the following five.

Action Stages

With these five goals in mind, I started trying to work out how to best achieve each goal. This line of thought let me to the creation of the skills list that I have also posted. What follows is sort of my "off-the-top" notes on how to meet the five preparedness goals and to learn the skills. These "Action Stages" follow fairly closely to the priorities of the "Preparedness Steps" and the "Skills List" breakdown.

assemble personal survival kits for everyone

Each person should have a compact belt kit with them at all times. This kit should include a minimum number of items that will allow them to survive a disaster if caught away from their main source of supplies. Using this kit, it is assumed the individual will be actively attempting to reach a "known place," or is reasonably expecting others to come searching.

establish and conduct training courses in all basic skills

You should establish a training cirriculum and pursue it rigorously. Your knowledge is the only thing you have that cannot be lost, stolen, or broken. Learn to rely on what you know, rather than on what you have. I am currently looking into using a series of Boy Scout merit badge pamphlets as training material.

get all members "72-hr capable"

All group members should maintain *at least* 72 hours worth of basic supplies in their homes for each person who can be expected to be present in the house during an emergency. Basically, if you can inventory your house and say you have enough supplies on hand that you could do without going to a store for 72 hours, you are in good shape. These supplies should be stored in easily-relocatable containers such as footlockers or duffle bags. Ideally, these containers should be man-portable such as backpacks in the event a relocation is required and is limited to foot-travel.

determine weapon commonality

This is also dependant upon the group's plan of action. Ideally, all members will use the same weapons. I suggest this approach, because:
- everyone is using the same calibers
- any group member can use any other member's weapon
- spare parts are easier stock or scrounge from disabled weapons
If standard weapons are not possible, standard calibers should be established.

develop weapon proficiency in all members

"Proficiency" in a survival/preparedness group will of necessity vary from the "proficiency" taught in military boot camps. Familiarity with weapon is a must for routine maintenance as is basic marksmanship. Some people may wish to go as far as seeking out "combat schools" to refine their shooting skills.

determine gear-lists and purchase plans

This will vary according to each group's plan of action. By establishing a priorities-list, preparedness purchases can be worked into the "family budget" rather than representing a "lump expense," buying the most important items first and adding on things of lesser importance as time and money allow. A gear list answers the question "what will each person have *at a minimum?*" Examples of gear lists include:
personal survival kit
72-hr supplies
web gear
other weapons
food storage

determine relocation sites and routes

Don't "put all your eggs in one basket" here - that goes for routes to your site as well as sites. I suggest operating on a rule of 3 - pick 3 sites you could relocate to and establish 3 totally different routes to each site from your house. This kit is somewhat different from a 72-hour kit, as you should expect to begin attempting to establish a self-sufficient "homestead" in the fashion of the pioneers. This kit may consist of a "beefed up" 72-hour kit, but must also take into account items needed to establish a home in a new location. Extensive supplies may be stored "on site" in your retreat area, either buried or in a storage building. This would allow you to maintain a small kit that allows you to get to your site without overburdening you.

establish a permanent site

Find property and start living on it, striving to be as self-sufficient as possible. A group of people could relocate into an area and establish what amounts to a small village of adjacent homesteads.

There. I've finally managed to articulate the plan I have been following in my head. By making myself write it up for others, I find it has made my own planning take on a more organized direction. I've tried to keep it fairly general in terms of "what are we preparing for," because the answers to that will vary according to who you ask. This outline can cover minor natural disasters up through alien invasion. The important thing here is to know *how* to prepare.