Part of my “day job” and my church responsibility includes writing plans, usually emergency plans of one type or another. Yes, my church, 13 congregations actually, has emergency preparedness plans. Why? Oh come on! Seriously?
One of the most important aspect of “preparedness” is planning.
A while back I posted a “TIP” on planning (TIP: Have a solid Plan A for everything! Then have a Plan B, Plan C, & Plan D.) and a fellow responding talking about no plan survives the first bullet, the ability to adapt and be flexible, etc. And to a degree he is right. But a solid plan is where all that other stuff comes from. In that “TIP” I referred to President Eisenhower and his comment on the planning for D-Day. Bottom line, he said it was more about the planning process than the plan itself. He was spot on!
In my day job I am responsible for managing large emergency incidents up to 300 or so people. I am responsible for overseeing operations as well as logistics. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a staff to support me but I am ultimately responsible. I was also on an incident management team for 5 years; our team handled incidents up to several thousand people. Now there is a handful!
We had a large number of folks in the Operations Section that handled the work on the ground; and they always did an incredible job under rough conditions. The rest of the team was there strictly in an Operations Section support function. It took an incredible amount of planning to make it all work effectively, efficiently and safely. Same is true for your preparedness activities…have plan or you will fail.
So what do you plan for exactly?
That is the best question a person could ask. The answer may not be what you want to hear. Answer: Read this post on “Threat Assessment” (SURVIVING ANY DISASTER: Part 3 – Basic Threat Assessment) if you haven’t already. If you prepared your list of threats that you feel you are susceptible to just stare at it for a moment without really thinking about the items on the list. Go ahead, I’ll wait……….
Ok, now look at that list again. What are the common issues that run through each potential threat? Here are a few issues that are common to my own threat list:
- Need for a family meeting location near the house, another more distant.
- Water storage and transport capability.
- Ability to communicate with family & group members.
- Ability to know what is going on in the outside world.
- First Aid capability.
- Defense capability.
So now what do you do with that list of issues? You plan on how to deal with them; eliminate them as a source of the “unknown.”
Example #1: Many different disasters and emergencies may result in your family or group being separated from each other. Parents might be at work, kids at school, and your best friend might be out of town. You want to make sure that everyone knows how to get back together again. Here is how I might plan to handle such a situation.
“In the event that the family/group gets separated all members will do the following:
- Everyone is at home – Everyone will gather across the street at the Smith’s mailbox. Everyone will check-in with Mom. Dad will maintain situational awareness. Mom will report to Dad when everyone has checked in or in the event someone is missing. If that location option is not available then everyone will use Location X to meet up.
- Family is dispersed – If home is not affected, children will stay where they are. Mom will pick-up child #1 & #2 and proceed to home. Dad will pick-up child #3, fill up his vehicle and proceed to home. If that location option is not available then everyone will use Location X to meet up. If a parent is not home or not at Location X within 1 hour, the other parent will attempt to pickup the remaining children and return home.”
Example #2: A disaster or emergency is occurring and someone is home.
“In the event of an emergency or disaster and you are home, with no other immediate responsibilities do the following:
- Secure all doors and windows.
- Fill-up the bath(s) with water.
- Fill-up the sinks with water.
- Set out family first aid kit(s).
- Set out candles and lighters.”
Example #3: Let me use a Zombie apocalypse scenario. The group is in their bug-out location, and a gunfight just began.
“In the event of armed aggression against the compound the following will occur:
- All armed members will report to their primary defensive positions. If you are unable to man your primary defensive position, proceed to your secondary defensive position. If you are unable to man that position, report to your team leader. If your team leader is not available, then take up the best defensive position you can and proceed to return effective fire from that location.
- All members assigned to support functions will proceed immediately to your assigned location and responsibility. If you are unable to do that, then locate an armed member and support them from a position of safety.
- All first aid personnel are to retrieve your first aid kits and proceed to your first aid station. If you are unable to do so, then locate your team leader and follow instructions. If your team leader is not available, then take up the safest position available and prepare to render first aid.
- In the event it becomes apparent that the compound is no longer defensible the group leader will make the announcement via radio or word of mouth to retreat. The location of the rally point will be called at that time. Fire Team A will remain in place to cover the retreat of all other members. Fire Team B will cover the retreat of Fire Team A from the compound.”
So about now you are saying “Wow! Whoa!” And I can understand that. One question I get is, “Does the plan have to be written?” No, it doesn’t, especially is the group is small or the threat list is short or the situation is dynamic. But you still better have a plan even if it is verbal.
Some folks don’t want to do the hard stuff when it comes to prepping. Some folks think they don’t have to do the hard stuff like plan. And a bunch of folks will struggle and fail when the time comes…they didn’t properly prepare.
In the coming weeks I will post a sample preparedness plan that you can adopt & modify to make your own.
Also, watch for the next post in this series called “SURVIVING ANY DISASTER: Part 5 – Implementing the Plan“
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