So what is the goal/purpose of this series of articles?
To use seven separate days in the month of September to dedicate to, to focus on, each of the seven areas of emergency, disaster, and grid-down threats…and solutions.
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 and thoughts to be better prepared when the seven days is over.
You may already consider yourself prepared…great! However, 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…and follow those promptings. Listen to what you might hear 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 who aren’t prepared, not prepared enough, or simply have shown an interest in prepping but you needed a place to send them to for information.
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 drop to 10° tonight.
That being said, the “event” preparation steps we take will be able to handle most survival “situations.” So in these articles 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:
- Vehicle Accident
- Heart Attack
- Job Loss/Retirement
- Utility Outage
- House Fire
- Transportation Stopage
- 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, hemisphere, 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 contain virtually the same threats in the same priority order:
- Lack of, or Poor, Communication
- Lack of, or Poor, Organization
- Exposure (Hyper/Hypothermia – clothing & shelter)
Fatality Factor –
Neglecting 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! Failure can potentially mean fatal or near-fatal results.
Why do I list threats/risks in the particular order? The order is based on the “fatality factor.” Meaning…what can kill or seriously injure 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 are 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 and you aren’t properly dressed for it you could potentially die from exposure as well. But, the process of dying from exposure 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 requirement than those that can take longer to be fatal.
Risk Mitigation –
“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.”
I’ve combined it to read, “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 (and should take place) when working with those definitions as applied 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 wisely.
Now that we have identified the two main players in “event risk” and how to judge the probability and severity, we can 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 should the event occur. That process is called “risk mitigation.”
You mitigate the identified threats/risks by having the ability to:
- Defend yourself, family and community.
- Provide medical care.
- Use non-standard communication systems.
- 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 in the next seven days and then a “summary” article on the 8th day. I look forward to hearing your feedback, suggestions, ideas, and even your complaints.
note: This series of articles originally appeared in September 2016. I have edited and updated the material in 2019 to be more useful and current. Please ask questions about any of the material as you wish. Also, feel free to post comments on each page as you deem appropriate.
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