SURVIVING ANY DISASTER: Part 5 – Implementing the Preparedness Plan

PlanExecutionA preparedness plan is a great thing to have; training and practicing it makes it even better. But when the disaster strikes or the grid goes down you must be prepared to pull the trigger on your plan. If you don’t implement it then the plan and planning was worthless. If you don’t implement it soon enough it is still probably worthless. If you implement it too soon you may find yourself in almost as dire a situation or looking like a fool.

In my previous post (SURVIVING ANY DISASTER: Part 4 – The Preparedness Plan) I went over how important it is to have a preparedness plan. To my way of thinking it is imperative.

I have found there are two major factors in preventing a plan prior to the event from being implemented or being implemented in a timely manner: 1) Normalcy Bias, 2) Freeze-up.

Normalcy Bias is a phenomena where a person refuses to accept an event has occurred, will occur, or to what extent something has or will happen. They have refused to see and accept reality for what it is. They have psychologically processed it into something that their mind can grasp. They base it on what has happened to them in the past and what they have learned vs. what it is.

Example: A person living below the Hoover Dam hears there is a crack in the dam. They say to themselves, “It’s no big deal, it will never get big enough for a problem to happen. Besides, if it was bad they would have told us to leave.” Late at night they get word that the crack in the dam is getting a little worse. But they think it is late at night, they are tired, it’s been a long day, they need some sleep and they will check the news in the morning. Well, it is now 3am and a wall of rushing water just took their house off the foundation and it is breaking apart with his wife and three kids frowning as the house floats downstream.

The person was actually warned multiple times that a problem existed but they reasoned away those warnings by implementing Normalcy Bias. But they are still just as dead regardless of the reason.

Freeze-Up is where a situation gets so overwhelming for someone and they freeze-up. It can be anything from not thinking clearly to not being able to do anything and becoming motionless. I’ve seen it when I was in the military and I’ve seen it on fires. This situation can prove very fatal. There is a physiological reason behind this phenomenon most of the time it is an adrenalin dump.

Adrenalin is dumped into your system when a situation occurs that is perceived as life threatening. It triggers the “fight or flight” syndrome. The good things it does for us is make us physically stronger and faster. However, there are a few other things that aren’t so good. It will reduce fine motor skills and the ability to think with logic and reason. Those losses can prove to be significant and delay the implementation of even the best preparedness plan.

So how do you overcome these drawbacks?

  • You train, then you train some more. You train until your muscles memorize what they have to do without you having to think about it.
  • You set “trigger points” for predetermined actions to take.

How do those work?

Let me take the second remedy first. Trigger points are predetermined events that are used to set into motion predetermined decisions for predetermined actions to take.

Example. You are driving on Interstate 25. Your destination is Albuquerque, NM which is Exit 239. You are in the left lane approaching Exit 237 passing some cars and a line of slow moving trucks. What would your expect to do? Bingo! Merge into the right lane in anticipation of leaving the Interstate at Exit 239 approximately 2 miles in front of you. Seems natural, yes?

Same thing with implementing a preparedness plan. Let’s say you have identified a “banking collapse” as a threat in your threat matrix. You are watching the news thinking it might happen sometime soon. You hear of banks having some problems, some ATMs running out of cash, a few bank runs and the Feds talking about a bank holiday. So when do you take your money out of the bank to avoid losing it? Oooooppppppssssss, too late, they announced the bank holiday this morning just as you arrived at work; the banks are now closed.

So how do you utilize trigger points to avoid that? Today you decide the following, I will take my money out of the bank when the following takes place:

  • If forced bank takeovers are being talked about.
  • If you hear that the price of gold is spiking up and copper is trending down fast.
  • If you hear that the stock market is tanking while the 10-Year T-note yield falls below 1.5%.

Those are trigger points. You don’t have to think about them or when to take your money out of the bank. Those events occur and you head to the bank to withdraw your money.FamilyPlanningMeeting

The benefits to planning trigger points are numerous, the top ranked benefits to me are:

  • You reduce or eliminate fear and panic from the decision making process.
  • You set trigger points calmly in an environment that exists prior to the problem allowing you to by more logical and reasonable.
  • You have the time to think through a problem vs. a “snap decision” that is affected by a flood of current event information that may or may not be true.

So, how do you train on this plan implementation? Well, you take trial runs at it. Simple, eh?

I like to think I am prepared for just about anything. Well, a couple of weeks ago I was asked to take the 16 & 17 year old boys at church on an overnight winter campout and then go quail hunting in the morning. No big deal right? Wrong!

Here are the problems I encountered:

  • I hadn’t gathered my winter clothes up for camping.
  • I had a brand new tent that I hadn’t used before.
  • I had used up the last of my birdshot ammo at target practice.
  • It took me about 4 times longer to get ready than I expected.

So what if that had been a “grid-down” situation? I would have been way behind the power curve and my family would have suffered for it. If AI had trained a couple of times recently to “bugout” during the winter then I would have been properly prepared in a reasonable timeframe.

Go back to the whole get the money out of the bank scenario. Once you have the trigger points defined and in-place tell your spouse to do an announced drill on you. She calls you up and tells you that the trigger points have been hit…Go! Go! Go!

Yeah, stop whatever you are doing and go to the bank and withdraw all your money from your bank accounts. Ok, you can put it back in right afterwards so no big deal. NOTE: If you have a bunch of money in the bank you may not want to draw it all out. It will generate a “note” to the feds referring to your account activity that you might have to explain to some government weenie. Alternatively, just withdrawn a small amount from each account instead.

Then do an AAR (After Action Review) on how it went. Figure out the problems and issues, and then decide how to avoid the pitfalls next time.

In the next month or two I plan to go more into detail on these concepts, but for now you should have a good idea on how to implement your preparedness plan and avoid the pitfalls.

In the next I will go start reviewing the “Response Phase” by reviewing SURVIVING ANY DISASTER: Part 6 – Situational Awareness (SA)


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One thought on “SURVIVING ANY DISASTER: Part 5 – Implementing the Preparedness Plan

  1. Pingback: SURVIVING ANY DISASTER: Part 4 – The Preparedness Plan | A.H. Trimble

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