The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning
By Denis Korn
I believe this to be the primary foundational article required for effective and thorough preparedness planning.
These 12 crucial questions of preparedness planning are a result of
an expansion and modification of questions given in The Essential
Emergency Planning Guide for Food and Water. They apply to any
preparedness planning scenario you believe to be appropriate. Answer
them carefully - your safety, health (emotional and physical), peace of
mind, and comfort depend on it.
Preparedness planning is fundamentally built on two principles - (1)
developing a philosophical or personal worldview while evaluating and
assessing the current state of affairs - (2) then developing a specific
plan of action based upon your reflective conclusions, needs, and the
physical conditions that you anticipate can occur.
Thank you for having made a wise and sound decision to take
responsibility for you and your family to be prepared in the event of
unforeseen circumstances. A proper attitude during the preparedness
planning process is essential, and it is made more effective by
exercising competent critical thinking skills. Reacting from a position
of fear or confusion can be an obstacle to efficient planning. Please
remember, when it comes to seeking reliable information and essential
provisions for nourishment, health, and safety - ask: Who do you trust?
As you evaluate your answers to the following crucial questions and
the circumstances for which you are preparing, there is another
underlying issue to consider - cost verses quality. Are the equipment
and supplies necessary to fulfill your needs going to be based on how
cheap they are , or on the quality, value, and reliability of the
product? What are the repercussions or benefits from the choices that
are made? Who is affected? What chances are you willing to take with
inferior and inadequate provisions? Answer these questions carefully -
your safety, health (emotional and physical), peace of mind and comfort
depend on it.
Food issues and questions are of special importance to me
personally. When purchasing food provisions, especially pre-configured
assortments, it is essential to know exactly the quantity of food you
are getting for the price you are paying. "X" amount of servings, or "X
month's supply" doesn't give you the accurate information you need for
proper planning. You need to know the answer to these questions: What
is the basis for the manufacturer's claims? What is the nutritional
value, quantity, and quality of food and the caloric value of each
serving? "X" months gives me how many calories per day, and of what
quality and nutritional value are the foods? Beware of companies
claiming "freeze-dried" with little to no freeze-dried ingredients used
in meal formulations. The most obvious RED FLAG are claims of a 25 year shelf life for foods packed in pouches. This
is a suspicious marketing deception and companies advertising these
excessive shelf life pouched foods are to be considered highly
It always has been and always will be the policy of Learn To
Prepare and PrepareDirect to provide products, information,
perspectives, insights, and recommendations for action with an attitude
of helpfulness and respect for an individual's choice based on
evaluation and thoughtful judgment. Be conscientious and diligent in
your planning, and demand truthfulness and accuracy from your
suppliers. You evaluate - you choose - you own your decisions. If you
need help, contact us at PrepareDirect/Learn To Prepare.
- What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness supplies? (This
is not only the most important and first question to answer, it is
often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically
enough). What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances on
your life? Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you
researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter,
hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies? Are you prepared
for emergencies during all seasons of the year? Is your family more
susceptible to certain emergencies? How would your scenarios impact you
or your family's daily routine? Work or livelihood? How will you
protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm? The
grid is essential to most homes and businesses - if it is down, how long
could you function? What would society look like without the grid, and
a prolonged cessation of the availability of vital goods and services?
Do you have back up power?
- How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing?
This is another critical question, and while it is difficult to
envision the difficult details that might occur, the adequacy of your
preparedness planning and supplies is directly tied to honestly
answering this question. Needless to say, the longer the duration of
the emergency the more effect it will have on multiple aspects of one's
daily routine and lifestyle, and the need to be focused on the diversity
of situations that will surround you.
- What attitude
are you willing to embody and express during the uncertainty and stress
of the emergency scenarios you have determined may exist? An
appropriate attitude is essential to survival and effective functioning
during a serious emergency or disaster. Your emotional and spiritual
viewpoint is the foundational component of any emergency circumstance.
The longer the emergency the greater degree of stress, which will affect
your well-being. Do you believe it is essential for you and your family
to incorporate the proper emotional and spiritual attitude in your
preparedness planning? Do you have a biblical worldview regarding trials
and tribulations? Who do you ultimately rely on for comfort, strength
and hope? Where is your faith?
- What preparedness knowledge
do you personally have that is important in providing specific
information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies
for which you are preparing? How about the knowledge of family
or friends? What informational resources and references - books and
other tangible items - do you personally have or have access to?
- During an emergency what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends?
This includes not only information and education, but also essentials
such as food, water, shelter, energy, communication, and medical
supplies. What utilities in your area are vulnerable to disruption or
elimination? What will you do to compensate for the loss of
electricity, water, gas, or phone service?
- Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur?
Are your neighbors or friends stocking up on enough supplies for you
also? Do you honestly believe some level of government will be there to
assist and resolve the situation? Do you have a community support
network available? What skills and knowledge do you possess that you
can contribute? How many people are you planning to provide with
emergency provisions? Extended family? Friends? Church members?
- Do you have a list of essential supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency?
Is it prioritized? Do you have a list of the essential categories your
supplies fall under? What do you have on hand now? Are you actively
storing provisions? If not - why not?
- Do you have an understanding of the financial implications of your projected emergency scenarios?
This includes the costs of preparation, other financial obligations
that might occur during and after the emergency, and understanding the
choices needing to be made to adequately be prepared. For most folks it
will be necessary to honestly assess the personal and family financial
priorities in the preparedness process. Do you keep enough cash or
items for barter on hand for unforeseen emergencies? Do you have back
up hard copies of essential financial documents?
- What are the special needs of yourself, family, or others you care for that might arise during the scenarios you find likely?
This especially includes medical issues, nutritional requirements, and
physical and emotional limitations. What psychological, social,
medical, or unique factors could potentially arise from a long-term (6
months or more) catastrophic event? Also consider your personal,
family, work, and community needs for timely communication during an
emergency. Are any pets involved in your planning? Have you had a
family, company, or group meeting to directly and honestly discuss what
actions are to be implemented during an emergency of the type you
determined might occur? For many individuals and families the religious
or spiritual factor in preparedness planning and implementation -
especially during a serious or catastrophic event - is the most
important. If this applies to you, make sure all family members and
friends are in prayer.
- In your expected emergency scenarios will you be stationary and remain where you are, or is it possible you will have to be mobile and relocate?
This could include different responses depending on your predictions of
the duration and severity of the emergency. Are you aware of all the
implications and planning required depending upon your answer to this
question? This is another one those very difficult questions to fully
comprehend, because not only can there be many perspectives to consider,
being prepared to be mobile and leave an established residence or
homestead requires a whole different set of planning points. If you had
to evacuate or relocate right now, where would you go? With prior
planning where would you prefer to go? Do you have a bug-out or
grab-and-go bag/device? Do you think you need one? If you do have one,
is it adequately supplied with essential provisions? Do you know how
to use the items it contains? If you have to carry it - can you?
- What means of communication do you have available to you during an emergency and with whom do you need to communicate?
This includes both two-way communication with others, including family,
friends and associates, and one-way communication from radio stations,
emergency broadcasts, or individuals via short wave. Do you have a cell
phone? Will towers be functioning? Land lines? Internet? Hand held
walkie-talkies? Satellite phone? Short wave radios? Citizens band
radios? Emergency and/or ham radios with two-way communication
capability? During a serious emergency accurate information and updates
are essential for survival. What if an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse)
from a solar flare or nuclear device renders all unprotected electronics
useless? How will this effect communication equipment you are relying
- In your expected emergency scenarios what transportation options will be necessary and available?
Needing to be mobile requires serious planning and so does remaining in
place if your anticipated scenario lasts for a long duration and you
need to travel within your area. What vehicles are available? What
fuels do they need to operate? What do you have on hand? If you must
relocate, how much space and weight is needed to transport your
supplies? Do you have a bicycle? Small solar or gas scooter? Adequate
foot gear? A horse? What if the emergency is in the winter - a harsh
winter? What if an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) from a solar flare or
nuclear device renders all unprotected electronics useless? How will
this effect vehicles you are relying upon?
preparedness planning requires a serious commitment - you and your
family's, comfort, well-being, health and life may depend upon it!
An Afterword About Honesty
I have written a great deal on preparedness planning on this site. I
have given both general and specific information on the preparedness
process - tips - guidelines - action steps - and numerous crucial
questions I feel are essential for proper planning. There is still an
area I believe that should be emphasized and pointed out as one plans
for the unexpected. As the current political, social, economic,
spiritual, and natural earth changes concerns intensify, I see more
folks taking emergency preparedness more seriously. While this is a
very good state of affairs, it also brings into focus the question of personal honesty - being honest with yourself.
What you may ask do I mean by personal honesty as it relates to preparedness planning? It is simply this: Are
you being honest with yourself when you assess the impacts of the
scenarios you are preparing for on your daily life and yourself and your
families emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health and well
being? Are you avoiding or glossing over a critical concern?
Many people may be preparing for a relatively minor emergency such as
the loss of electricity, flooding, bridge outage, or other local
inconveniences. Other scenarios run the gamut from short term to very
long term. Long term scenarios mean serious life style changes and
potentially dangerous unknown situations. Honesty hits home when your
anticipated circumstances become serious and difficult to articulate,
visualize, or embrace. I want to
encourage everyone reading this article to be honest, sincere and
truthful as you seriously engage in the preparedness planning process -
much is at stake!
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