One of the biggest challenges to being prepared for unknown disasters and emergencies (albeit expected) is decision making based on priorities. Actually setting priorities can be an almost insurmountable and overwhelming task. Many people know that there are events, some potentially catastrophic, that can cause huge disruptions in daily routine; some may even jeopardize life. But what is a tried & true way of making decisions on what to do about them?
In the previous post in this series (Surviving Any Disaster: Part 1 – The Basics) I went over the basics for emergency preparedness. Those were prepare, respond, and recover phases. In the prepare phase you must be able to use a priority setting and decision making methodology that has a solid, proven foundation and it works every time. L.I.P.S. is just that system.
To deal with those events you have to employ an effective and efficient system of setting priorities that works every time in every setting. A system not just for these relatively known events but ANY incident, emergency or disaster that you will ever have to plan for, whatever it might be, including “grid-down”. For any and every emergency, disaster or event you will have to set priorities and make decisions. Without a commonsense, easy-to-follow, appropriate system of decision making you will find yourself failing by default. Here is the answer –
Life Safety, Incident Stabilization, Property Conservation, Societal Restoration
Life Safety : The #1 priority during any incident or event is life safety, protecting people from death or injury, in that order.
Incident Stabilization : Don’t make an incident worse than it already is. The disaster is already bad, something has gone wrong; don’t do anything that will make it worse.
Property Conservation : Don’t destroy anything you don’t have to. Don’t damage or destroy any resource (or potential resource) you don’t have to during a disaster or an emergency that you might need later.
Societal Restoration : That’s a mouthful but you just want to put everything back the way it was (preferably better) before the disaster or emergency occurred. The concept is to return your family’s daily life to the original or a better condition as soon as it is reasonable to do so.
These guidelines are not mutually exclusive; feel free to do some or all simultaneously. However, when deciding which decision or issue is most important or which to do first, simply use this tool to guide you. But I can tell you once you have understood and embraced the LIPS concept of decision making and priority setting you are not likely going to make many poor decisions again. I am not saying it will be easy, especially the life safety part, but you will find yourself more competent as a leader and team member regardless of the disaster or emergency you find yourself in.
Interesting phenomena occurs when a whole team (or at least the leader) adopts this guide – there tends to be a unity of purpose and a cohesion that develops. And that improved unity of purpose increases the effectiveness of a group exponentially. Caution: Be careful of “group think” in this situation. (More on group think at a later date.)
Leadership is needed in every aspect of life; your home & family, community, work, and church. Leadership is the ability to inspire others towards a worthy goal and being able to make the tough decisions when needed. Not everyone is a leader. Leaders are not born; they are made. If you are not already a good leader, you can become one by following principles that assist you in that worthy goal. LIPS is one of those guidelines.
My Personal Emergency Preparedness Priorities:
- Medical Care
For you churchy religious people (like me) this system work perfectly with using the spirit or the Holy Ghost to help guide you through an emergency or disaster. Show God you were listening during all those other lessons, make the right decisions yourself, LIPS can do that. If you are in doubt, make the decision, then ask God if you are right. Yeah, show Him you are willing to work for it 🙂 One sure thing about using the LIPS system, don’t ever ignore the promptings of the spirit. Follow those promptings without fail, without hesitation, and you will find yourself very blessed.
And I will go into LIPS in more detail at a later date but for now you should be good to go to start thinking about it and using it. Look for the next post I this series SURVIVING ANY EMERGENCY: Part 3 – Basic Threat Assessment
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