Simple Emergency Planning

Apr 27th, 2012No Comments

You’ve decided that you want to be better prepared and more self reliant during emergencies.  Maybe you’re new to prepping or want to improve what you are already doing.  Your first step has nothing to do with buying food, guns, supplies, or how-to books.  In fact, the first step involves nothing more than a pen, a pad of paper, and a little time.  We all have limited time, money, and resources, so it makes sense to invest what we have wisely.  Just in case you haven’t figured it out, the first step is planning.

We can’t prepare for everything, so most people prepare for nothing.  Your goal is to prepare for something!

Take your pen and paper, clear a couple of hours from your schedule, and find a quiet place to sit down.

Step 1:  What are You Protecting?

  • Make a list of the things you are protecting; your life, your family, your core values, and so on.  Things that you will make sacrifices for now to keep safe later.
  • Knowing what you are protecting will keep you motivated.  Writing it down has a way of making it more real.

Step 2:  What are You Preparing For?

  • Make a list of possible emergencies that could impact your life, however obvious or crazy.  Car accidents, assaults, hurricanes, and alien invasions–put it on the list if you think it is at all possible.  Don’t judge, just brainstorm.
  • Identify specific threats or emergencies based on your unique situation.  In Arizona, wildfires and water shortages are very real dangers.  A family member with a specific medical condition or a lifestyle that exposes you to increased danger or crime may also warrant special attention.  Realtors, for instance, are at an increased risk of assault due to time spent in vacant houses with strangers.
  • Think outside the box and write everything down, no matter how outlandish.
  • Review your list and where possible combine things.  A flat tire, dead battery, and overheated engine can all be grouped under Vehicle Breakdown.  Likewise, the alien invasion, massive solar flare, and national economic collapse could all be replaced with Extended Social Collapse (or The End of the World as we Know It, to use the popular phrase).

Step 3:  Prioritize the List

  • Assign two numbers to each item measuring how likely it is to happen and the impact on you and your family if it does happen.
  • I prefer a three number scale to represent Unlikely, Possible, Very Likely, and Low, Medium, and High.
  • Unlikely events with a Low impact can be scratched off the list completely, just to make life easier.
  • Write a new list that includes only items that are Possible or Very Likely to happen and Medium or High impact.  These are the items you will focus on.

Step 4:  Action Steps

  • Next to each event list possible actions you can take to eliminate or reduce the threat or impact.  Don’t worry about the cost at this point.  Some actions are free or nearly so (learning how to change a flat tire or learning CPR), some may be expensive (buying a mountain cabin), and others may require a lifestyle change (getting a new job in a safer area).
  • Circle or highlight actions that repeat across several emergencies (such as taking a self defense class).  These should get high priority.

Step 5:  Prioritize the Action Steps

  • Start a new list of your action steps.
  • Repeated actions and those for Very Likely-High Impact events get the highest priority.

Step 6:  Budgeting

  • Determine the amount of time and money you will dedicate to prepping each month.
  • Don’t worry about how much the entire list will cost, just decide what you can afford and cross items off your list as you go.
  • Think of this as an investment, just like money you save in the bank.  Pay yourself first (ie. prep and invest) and then spend on bills, toys, and so on.

Step 7:  Take Action

  • Planning doesn’t feed hungry mouths, so commit yourself to action.
  • Knock out inexpensive and free action steps first.
  • Look for ways to spread the cost over time.  It’s great to buy a years worth of food in a month, but you can ease the pain by spreading it out over a year.

Planning is a simple way to focus your efforts, just don’t overdo it.  As your prepping efforts advance, you will learn things that will cause you to add to your list and change your priorities.  Until then, your initial plan lets you put your resources where they will do the most good.  Your preps build on each other and preparing for simple emergencies will go a long way towards helping you weather larger ones.  The important part is to get started!

Planning Guide

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© 2012, mjshozda. All rights reserved.

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