Layering & the Common 7: Introduction

Years ago when I was in the military (OK, decades ago) I learned the concept of “layered defense.” The concept was pretty simple – “Keep the enemy as far from you as possible.”  The whole concept meant if the enemy can’t reach you, they can’t kill or injure you.

Think about it for just a minute. Now, let’s substitute “bad guy” for “enemy.” Or for that matter, let’s substitute “dehydration” for “enemy.” When we look seriously at the risks/threats associated with emergencies, disasters, and grid-down we can apply the “enemy” label to all of them. When we correctly label the elements of risk we are able to adequately and successfully mitigate those same risks. Through mitigation we reduce, or eliminate, the threats to ourselves and our family…or at least reduce their impact on us. When all is said and done…our enemies are best described as risks/threats.

So, here are the 7 Common Risks/Threats to All Emergencies we face –failure during disasters and emergencies due to lack of communications and organization.

  1. Violence
  2. Injury or Sickness
  3. Communications (lack of or poor)
  4. Organization (lack of or poor)
  5. Dehydration
  6. Exposure
  7. Starvation

Do you want these enemies up close and personal where they can hurt you? Or, do you want them as far away from you where they can’t even see you let alone hurt you?

I think the answer to that for most people would be to keep the enemy as far away from you as possible. But is that always probable?

Some years after I got out of the military I was taking Kempo classes and my sensei shared the idea about a hurricane. He said your attacker is like a hurricane, it can be ferocious and deadly. But if you keep your enemy far enough away from you his “high winds” will not reach you. But if you are in the eye of the hurricane the winds are calm and he can’t hurt you. He then drew a picture of a hurricane. There are two areas of calm and safety, thousands of miles away from a hurricane, or in the eye of a hurricane.

The idea he was trying to instill in me was simple, don’t let your attacker close enough to hurt you. Or, keep him so close that he can’t use a weapon, fist, or foot against you to hurt you. He strongly encouraged us to keep our enemy far away from us, it was the safest.

Having been in the Navy I had the opportunity to ride out a hurricane on board a fast frigate (small destroyer sized  ship) down in the Caribbean one year. It was a beautiful area of the ocean, I love the area! It was beautiful until we started to feel the effects from the outer bands of the hurricane. As it grew closer it got very nasty; winds blowing 70 – 90mph, rains lashing the ship, and the waves were monsters. But, we eventually entered the “eye” of the hurricane, the center. In that center is was calm, blue sky and very nice. That lasted about 30 minutes and then it got ugly again as we entered the opposing wall of the hurricane’s eye. And it remained a very rough storm until we popped out the other side of the massive storm late the next day.

OK, so what the heck is my point?

Point is…you have to look at preparing for emergencies, disasters, and grid-down in “layers” of defense, medical aid, communications, food, water, gear, and equipment in terms of actual risks/threats and then how to mitigate them.

In this series of articles I will do just that. I will go into detail about what I see as logical layers to protect you against the risks/threats that we are preparing to overcome.

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