note: first appeared in October 2015
I was gone all this last week and had a time to get my head away from all things “prepper” and just focus on my job. However, during one of the meetings on risk management the speaker used the slogan “you get one chance to get it right.” I sat there and it hit me like a lightning bolt.
That applies so much to what we do, or will do, as preppers that it isn’t even funny. Then all this stuff started streaming into my head that I just have to share some of it. Stuff that I think could make a huge difference in living or dying should the grid go down.
I am not talking about less dramatic situations such as disasters and emergencies, although it could apply to those as well. What I am going to talk about is specifically “grid-down” level events. However, it does in-fact apply to lesser events such as disasters and emergencies, just not as dramatically.
So getting back to the point of this post –
You have one chance to get it right.
So here is the backdrop, an event occurs that could cause substantial disruption in the daily life of a large number of all citizens. The event could be an attack from an external threat such as Iran, or it could be an event such as an implementation of martial law due to the reaction from a crackdown on alleged right-wing militia groups. And then there is the run-of-the-mill financial collapse or EMP strike. You get the idea. But remember, this concept can apply to any lesser emergency or disaster as well.
So the event occurs, now what do you do?
Why is that question even important? Because you may only have one chance to get your response to the grid-down event right.
Yes, I am serious, you may have only a single chance to react correctly to the situation. How so? Envision something as mundane as a roadblock. Do you try and successfully navigate the roadblock or do you seek another way home? What about if they are searching vehicles, do you have anything that will give you undo or fatal attention?
What about filling up your SUV’s fuel tank on the way home after the event occurred? That may be the last of the fuel for the foreseeable future. Did you or your wife fill up the bath tub and every other container in the house while the water was still flowing?
There are a thousand questions that I could prompt you with to see if you are making, or going to make, the right decisions when an event occurs. My point is not to make you feel as if you will fail, rather it is meant to prompt you with, “Do you have a plan?” And, “Will you faithfully follow the plan?”
So, when an event occurs will your one chance to get it right find you successful? I am going to say that for the majority of people the answer will be “no.” I am thinking that “no” will be the answer for about 75% of all the people in the United States. So I do pray that the situation will allow us all a second chance to get it right. But that may not be possible.
So what can you do to get it right the first time? Well, honestly you are doing just that right now. You are aware that it might be a failing of yours and you are learning about mitigating the unfortunate reaction of getting it wrong. So awareness and learning are the first two most important things; so, congratulations!
Next I firmly believe you must have a plan. It doesn’t need to be overly complicated but a plan is a necessity.
Then it is imperative that you be able to recognize what is happening BEFORE it goes bad. And it doesn’t have to be a long time before, but just before to some adequate degree. That gives you time to take action while you still can. So Situational Awareness is absolutely needed. <read more about that by clicking here>
Then you must take some kind of action. That might sound kind of silly but I am dead serious. You would be surprised at the number of people that will not act during an emergency, even when their life depends on it. Don’t let that happen to you.
While you are waiting for the trigger event (or emergency/disaster) to occur use your time wisely, get training. Actually I should more accurately say, “Get the right training for the right people.” My wife will never be a sniper or a field medic, but training in first aid and getting her through a tactical carbine class was the “right” training. And please don’t forget the kids! Many kids have saved lives because they knew CPR.
Now let me share a few words on a phenomena that exists in some of the most risky professions in the world today. And that is –
“There are no new ways to screw-up, just new participants.”
And yes, I realize that could very well apply to life in general. But here I am talking about more fatality prevalent occupations. In the wildland firefighter business we have a few top contenders for the worst screw-ups that lead to fatalities, they are:
- Vehicle accidents
- Health/medical conditions
- Trees falling
Those four items account for about 90 – 95% of all wildland firefighter accidents resulting in deaths for the last 80 – 90 years. In the 1970’s we added aircraft accidents to the list but that category swings pretty substantially from year-to-year.
So we don’t really come up with new ways to kill people in my business, we just change participants. The same thing will be true for casualties during emergencies, disasters and especially “grid-down” events. Generally speaking, people will die from:
- Lack of medicine or medical care
- Inability to communicate
- No organization
- Exposure (to a much lesser degree)
Now what do you do? Well, to my simple way of thinking you mitigate the risks associated with each of those casualty inducing events. And that is “risk management” which I have written about. But for now just think, “How can I reduce the probability of those things occurring?” And, “If it does occur, how can I reduce the impact to my family?”
And that brings me right back to asking you the question, “Do you have a plan?”
Finally I want to touch on an interesting challenge I am going to hit you with, “Do you prepare with blinders on?”
Yeah, kinda of a weird question isn’t it? But it is meant to push you to think about what you are doing in regards to preparing for events that could challenge the safety and well-being of you and your family. Another way to ask the questions would be, “What bias is affecting your prepping?”
This is going to be a tough one to easily work on. Because as a prepper you have to make some assumptions on what to prepare for and you have your personal “history” affecting your judgement as well. But you must also challenge yourself by asking, “Am I locking myself into a single set of assumptions and missing something total different?”
Example: I know guys that are deep into prepping for EMP events. And they have cool Faraday Cages and such, but, they have neglected to buy and store heirloom seeds for planting a garden when their food storage runs out. Another guy I know has three generators of different sizes for use when the power grid goes out. And he stores one partially full 3-gallon can of gas without stabilizer in it. Then there are the folks who have large stores of food hid away. And not a single weapon to defend it all with.
So my final challenge to you is to remember that blinders (i.e. bias) can make you miss huge gaps in your prepping and make you screw-up that one chance to get it right.
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