7 Days of September – Part #1: Introduction

7 Days of September - emergency preparednessOn August 4, 2016 I announced a series of articles that I would write  that would revolve around taking seven days in the month of September and focusing each day on a particular category of preparedness.

So what is the goal? I am not so naive to think that you would be fully prepared after the seven days, but I am hoping you will take the time to gather ideas, thoughts, etc. to be better prepared when the seven days is over. You may already consider yourself prepared…great! What I would like you to do is to read each of the seven articles and listen to that little voice inside of you…that still small voice. Listen to what it might tell you in regards to doing that one more thing that you might not have thought about prior to reading the articles.

And, I also want to throw another idea at you…I want you to think of this as an opportunity to share emergency preparedness with others. None of these articles will be fanatical, extreme, or filled with political ideology. They will be down-to-earth, common sense, practical ideas on being prepared for emergencies, disasters, or a grid-down event. That might just be the opening you have been looking for to reach out to others.  I encourage you to share these articles with folks that you know that aren’t prepared, not prepared enough, or have shown an interest in prepping but you needed a place to send them to for information.

I have created a separate category that will appear in the “Categories” list on the left hand side of each page. It is called “7 Days of September” That makes it real easy to access the articles for you or your family and friends. So now, on with the show…

What I am not talking about –

Let me take an opposite tact first…I am talking about “events” not “situations.” What I am not talking about are survival situations. An event is where a wide-spread electrical outage occurs and you and your family must then respond to that event. A survival situation is where you must react to being lost in the forest and it will 10° tonight.

That being said, the preparation steps we take will be able to handle most survival situations. I will concentrate on events where broader principles apply. It is a matter of responding vs. reacting.

Categories of Catastrophe –

My 30+ years of experience as a professional emergency responder tells me there are three basic categories of events to prepare for:

  • EmergenciesHouse Fire
    • Injury
    • Flu
    • Vehicle Accident
    • Heart Attack
    • Job Loss/Retirement
    • Utility Outage
    • Death
    • House Fire
  • DisastersEarthquake
    • Earthquake
    • Wildfire
    • Tornado
    • Hurricane
    • HazMat
    • Flood
    • Epidemic


  • Grid-DownUrban SHTF grid-down survival skills and priorities
    • Transportation Stopage
    • Pandemic
    • Financial or Stock Market Collapse
    • War or EMP Attack
    • Martial Law

Yes, you can add more to the list for each category. You may even want to move a few around from how I have them arranged. That’s OK, at least you are thinking about catastrophe categorization.

As you look at each category of catastrophe you can see how they grow larger in terms of scope of impact. “Emergencies” for the most part affect only a single person or a family, potentially a neighborhood, etc. However, emergencies are fairly limited in scope. As you move to “disaster,” and especially at the “grid-down” level, those events are now affecting people over increasingly larger areas. And in the case of “grid-down” it could/would be affecting potentially an entire country or the whole world.

Preparation Priorities –

There are a wide variety, almost an endless list, of emergencies, disasters and grid-down possibilities. But amazingly, they all fundamentally present virtually the same threats in the same priority order:Threats Cause Risks for preppers

  1. Violence
  2. Sickness/Injury
  3. Lack of, or Poor, Communication
  4. Lack of, or Poor, Organization
  5. Dehydration
  6. Hyper/Hypothermia (clothing & shelter)
  7. Starvation
Fatality Factor –

Failure to properly mitigate these threats/risks in the proper order will result in failure at some point and to some degree. And failure will not be pleasant, potentially fatal or near-fatal results can come your way. Why in the particular order that I have listed? The order is based on the “fatality factor.” What can kill you, or your family, the quickest.

Example #1 – The inability of you to defend yourself or your family from an armed man can result in you or a family member being shot. That gunshot wound can be immediately fatal. Starvation can take about 10 – 20 days to kill the normal person. So being shot has a far higher fatality factor than starving to death.

Example #2 – If you out scouting for water and you fall and gash your leg open resulting in bleeding, then you have a problem of potentially bleeding out. That can occur in as little as three minutes if you have cut an artery and can’t get the bleeding stopped. However, if it is 30º outside you could potentially die from exposure. But that process could take hours, maybe days, to kill you. So bleeding to death carries a higher fatality factor than exposure.

The fatality factor is the key to prioritizing threats/risks in emergency preparedness.The things that kill you the quickest have a higher mitigation priority than those that can take longer to be fatal.

Risk Mitigation –

There are two aspects of risk that we should not only be concerned about, but have the ability to influence; 1) probability, 2) severity.Risk Managment Probability of incident occurring

Probability simply means, how likely the event is to occur. And in the prepper world I extend that to, and in what time-frame relative to now. So I have defined probability as “How likely is the event to occur and how soon.”

Risk Managment Severity of impact if incident does occurrThe other aspect of risk is severity. Severity is defined as “If the event does occur, how bad can the potential outcome be.”

Combined it reads, “How likely will the event occur from now and how severe could the outcome be?”

Yes, there is a whole lot of “judgement” that can take place when working with those definitions compared to your immediate emergency situation. But not to worry, just make the best judgement you can. Throughout this series of articles I will give you clues, hints, and advice on what to look for and how to make those judgements.

Now that we have identified the two main players in “event risk” and how to judge the probability and severity, we can Risk Mitigation by reducing probability and or severity discuss how to increase our chances of surviving an event with its associated risks. Actually it’s very simple; 1) reduce the probability that the event will occur, 2) reduce the severity of impact to our family. That process is called “risk mitigation.”

You mitigate the previously identified threats/risks by having the ability to:

  • Defend yourself, family and community.will i ever use my emergency preparedness gearPrepperGear-001
  • Provide medical care.
  • Use non-standard communications.
  • Use a high-quality organizational system, ICS (Incident Command System).
  • Produce, filter and purify water.
  • Provide basic shelter and have quality clothing available.
  • Provide initial food supply and the ability to grow more.
The Plan –

This article introduced you to a number of vital preparedness principles:

  • Categories of Catastrophe
  • Preparation Priorities
  • Fatality Factor
  • Risk Mitigation

Each of the next seven articles will provide information on each of the seven “priorities.” The articles will appear every four days throughout September. I look forward to hearing your feedback, suggestions, ideas, and even your complaints.

Associated Articles –
Related Articles –


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10 thoughts on “7 Days of September – Part #1: Introduction

  1. Pingback: 7 Days of September – Summary | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  2. Pingback: 7 Days of September – Part #8: Starvation | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  3. Pingback: 7 Days of September – Part #7: Exposure | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  4. Pingback: 7 Days of September – Part #6: Dehydration | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  5. Pingback: 7 Days of September – Part #5: Organization | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  6. Pingback: 7 Days of September – Part #4: Communications | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  7. Pingback: 7 Days of September – Part #2: Threat of Violence | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  8. Pingback: 7 Days of September – Part #3: Threat of Injury or Sickness | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  9. Well written and to the point. I doubt there is much I could add to this introduction.

    I am reminded of the Rule of Threes. 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water & 3 weeks without food. That can certainly help in settings some priorities. We recently tested the water issue when a community well for 8 homes went out. We were without drinkable water for about a week. Since our household had stored some water, we didn’t suffer as some homeowners did but it made me look at my own preparations.

    What would it have been like, if the whole grid went down? Since I live close to a year-round creek, the plan was to use the creek as a backup. Flushing toilets, watering the garden, food preparation, drinking, hygiene, clothes washing, bathing. The list goes on and on and it isn’t until you don’t have any, that you realize how dependent you really are on water. I could spend a large part of everyday hauling water. It’s no wonder the homesteaders of past lived close to water.

    Try turning your water off for a week and see if your priorities don’t change. Myself, I’m thinking about installing a hand-pumped well on my property.


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