If you are a newcomer to preparedness planning or have been engaged
for some time, the information and suggestions contained in this article
will certainly help you begin or add to your experience of confidence
and peace of mind, and assist you with practical steps you can take.
The first step in the preparedness planning process is the
acknowledgment that you have made a wise and sound decision and have
chosen to take responsibility for you and your family, and to be
prepared in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Be encouraged to
continue this process with diligence, motivation, and discernment.
It is my intention in this article to present a guideline that can be
followed which will lead you on an important journey to being prepared
in the event of any number of potentially unexpected events. This
process is basically undertaken in three phases - each one of which will
take as much time as you wish to devote, and the degree of urgency you
First, there is an initial assessment necessary to determine the direction you are heading.
Second, there is further evaluation, research, and planning
required to develop a firm foundation for the third phase, and to
develop the clarity required for appropriate and accurate decision
Third, there is taking action
and assembling the appropriate provisions and critical information you
have determined are necessary for your security and peace of mind. This
phase is ongoing as you continue to evaluate, research, and build up
your supplies and information.
The initial assessment
This consists of 6 basic questions that you are encouraged to answer that will lead you along the matrix to your destination:
What is your attitude concerning emergency preparedness?
What are the circumstances or scenarios and their severity you have
determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your
What is the length of time you will be affected during these
scenarios that you will be required to rely on your preparedness
For whom and how many are you preparing?
Where will you be?
How serious are you and how much time, effort, and money are you
willing to devote to research, planning, and action, and with what help?
Elaborating on these 6 questions
Attitude - Are you positive, fearful, confused? A
proper attitude during the preparedness planning process is essential
and it is made more effective by exercising competent critical thinking
and discernment skills. Reacting from fear or confusion can be an
obstacle to efficient planning.
Scenarios - At the end of this article is a list of
potential scenarios and circumstances that will help you answer this
question. The events range from mild to catastrophic, and fall
generally into 3 categories: acts of God that tend to be local or
regional; manmade that tend to be national; and momentous earth changes
that tend to be national or worldwide.
Time - Your time frames can be as little as 3 days,
which provide only a brief period of inconvenience, or as much as 1 year
or more (I know of groups preparing for 7 years), that require a
significant change of attitude and lifestyle. Also, at the end of this
article, is a listing of various time frames and comments.
Who - Suggestions include, an individual, family, friends, neighborhood, organization, company, club, or church or temple.
Where - How you answer the "Who" question will
effect the answer to this question. In addition consider whether a
vacation/retreat location is applicable and whether there are multiple
potential locations to take into account. Also, if you need to be
mobile, what transportation options are available or required?
Seriousness - This question requires your honesty
not just wishful thinking. Your level of commitment is important to the
planning process, especially when it comes down to a financial
commitment. Also, be honest about what you really know about emergency
preparedness planning. Don't be afraid to do serious research and seek
true expect opinion and perspective. Initial or additional knowledge is
extremely important - and it might save your health or life.
Clearly answer the key questions given in the next "Important Issues" section.
Determine a realistic response for your unique economic and personal
situation. Be careful to avoid reacting to and with the actions of
others without first determining if these actions are appropriate for
you. Don't get caught up in a "feeding frenzy" of buying.
Create an appropriate step by step plan of action on paper- sooner rather than later.
Continue to educate yourself using the vast resources of reliable
information. Note: There are those with limited experience and
knowledge who have suddenly appeared in the marketplace to take
advantage of the situation. Buyer beware!
Assemble a library, data files, and Internet bookmarks; subscribe to related magazines, get tapes.
Go to conferences, workshops, and church meetings and talk to
responsible leaders who have researched the issues you are concerned
Make a list of items you will need during your anticipated emergency
situation. Prioritize it. Determine what you have on hand, and begin to
fill your list.
Create lists for differing locations, such as home, car, RV, or work.
Prepare an area where you live to store your supplies.
Make daily life in an emergency situation real to yourself and your
family- Turn off your electricity, gas, water and phone for 3 days, and
don't count on any local stores or services. Don't wait for a sunny,
warm day to try this- emergencies can happen in the winter!
Think quality- as if your comfort and life depended on it! You must
discern between economy and reliability. All too often the cheapest is
the least dependable; especially in an emergency situation, and even
more so if the emergency is long term.
As you reflect upon and answer the questions in phase 1 and 2, you
may choose to wait until you feel confident about the next phase -action - or you may begin (or perhaps you have already began) to gather
Answer all the questions in The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning.
Write down - on paper - the answer to as many of these questions as you feel are necessary to formulate a written preparedness plan.
Write down and
complete any lists, inventories, important points, insights you have
received, or anything else suggested or inferred in the articles that
will help in your preparedness planning. Refer to the Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning.
Distribute and discuss your easily understood and complete preparedness plan to your family, company, or group.
Discuss and request feedback about your plans and supplies with others, as you feel appropriate - friends, experts, suppliers.
Continue doing research and evaluation.
Create an appropriate place to store supplies.
Add to, or begin accumulating and organizing, your provisions.
Experiment with the
items you have. Know how to use them - or in the case of food - know
how to prepare them and what they taste like (especially if they are
unfamiliar). Emergencies are not the time for surprises.
Pray - if you are a
religious or spiritually committed individual or family this would be
the most important action to continually practice.
Additional tips to consider in the preparedness planning process
Many folks are reluctant to plan ahead, or they assume that the
government or others will take care of them, or they are just too busy,
or they just don't think it is necessary. As an option to doing nothing
or to enhance some other level of preparedness planning you have
chosen, consider the following. As you reflect on the scenarios that
you presume might occur, think about the concept of a "triggering
event." Ask yourself, what are the triggering events that will motivate
me to immediate action? What triggering event will launch the imminent
arrival of the scenario I have presumed might occur? If you have
created a list of triggering events, you will be on the look out for
possible immediate action. While it is always desirable to plan ahead
and have provisions in place, it is better to react at the last minute
than not at all. Obviously some scenarios may offer some prior
indications, such as hurricanes, storms, or economic/political issues;
while others can occur without warning (see the list of scenarios). You
are responsible - you must choose to act or not.
After you have evaluated the questions and points in this article, a
helpful point of view may be the idea of an "extended pantry program," or what might be considered as a building and expansion of your normal
food usage and supplies. Start with a program that is compatible with
your needs, assumptions, circumstances, and finances. You may want to
start small and keep building.
Acts of God
Man - Made
Earth Changes -
- Government regulation/control
- Catastrophic Weather
- Martial Law
- Food Shortages
- Pole Shift
- Societal Breakdown
- Solar Flare/CME
- Civil Disobedience/Riots
- Medical Emergency
- Severe Earth Changes
- Drought -
- Major Accident
- Mud Slide
- Terrorism Attack
- Tsunami -
EMP - Electrical Magnetic Pulse Attack
- Personal Issues -
- Job Loss
- Cyber Attack - No internet - Financial Loss - Various Other
3 Days to 2 Weeks
Minor to moderate inconvenience and disruption of the daily routine.
Basic supplies in the first 3 days would be valuable for comfort but
not essential. An adequate amount of basic supplies after 3 days are
3 Weeks to 2 Months
The inconvenience is very noticeable and the routine disruption can
be significant. Supplies required are usually on hand, and stockpiling
some supplies will be very important.
3 Months to 6 Months
Preparedness planning is very important and a serious disruption to
the daily routine is inevitable. Mobility and location to wait out the
emergency is important in your planning. Proper supplies will be
critical. Medical and other special needs must be planned for in
6 Months to 1 Year
Unless you are very prepared and are committed to self-reliance, in
this time frame your lifestyle will definitely be impacted. Serious
attention to your preparedness planning is required. The questions
covered in the foundational articles must be answered and a realistic
plan created. Action and provisions are essential. You will be dealing
with serious issues during this time period, and you must be prepared.
1 Year or More
Scenarios actualized in this time frame are this most serious and
catastrophic, and will require a serious commitment to lifestyle
changes. You will be dealing with national and worldwide calamity. The
extent of the impact on everyone's life can not be over emphasized.
Significant and detailed planning is required, and even with this an
emergency situation of this duration will be wrought with uncertainty.
This will be a time for community togetherness, sharing, and mutual
support. Skills not normally possessed by folks will be required.
Gardening and other self-reliant skills will be essential. Books,
tools, and other valuable resources will be vital.