At it’s core, preparedness is a planning activity – we think about what bad things can or may happen and take steps to help ensure our survival if one or more of those events does occur. But what is it that drives that planning? Many of us tend to take a list-driven approach – we identify the types of resources we think we’ll need to survive such as food, water, medical supplies, plans, skills, etc., evaluate relevant factors such as our location, weather, family and finances, then make or find lists of what we think we’ll need to increase our chances of surviving. These resources typically fall into one of several categories:
- Material – Tools, equipment, supplies, etc.
- Environmental – Location, housing, etc.
- Social – Friends, community, etc.
- Information – Information on how to do something, what to do, etc.
- Skills – Being able to effectively apply Information (Experience)
- Plans – Predefined (and usually documented) organized collection of activities, checklists, procedures, etc.
- Time – The avearge time required for the task
Based on these categories, here are some examples of how preparedness planning is frequently done for most event types:
- Medical – We know we’ll need medical supplies such as bandages, antibiotics, sutures, etc. (Material), books on first aid (Information), someone in our group (Social) that knows how to perform the procedures (Skills), and preferably someone with a medical background of some kind (Experience).
- Food – We know we’ll need stored food, seeds and tools (Material), somewhere to grow and raise food (Environment), books on growing, raising and/or harvesting food (Information), people (Social) that have grown food, raised livestock and hunted/fished (Skills & Experience), methods (Information) and supplies (Material) for preserving food, and planting schedules (Plan).
- Defense – We know we’ll need weapons and ammunition (Material), defensible locations (Environment), familiarity with the use of the weapons (Information, Skills) and defined response procedures (Plans).
These are just some basic examples of what many people tend to consider when doing preparedness planning, and all of these are perfectly valid ways to help you prepare. However, based on my experience over the years of trying out many new activities I’ve found that a simple linear checklist approach tends to fall short when reality hits you over the head. Take hunting for example – I wanted to get into deer hunting about 15 years ago, so I went out and found a ‘hunting checklist’ on a well-respected hunting web site, then purchased or acquired everything I thought I’d need based on that list (e.g. a hunting rifle, some ammo, appropriate hunting clothes, game processing gear, license, etc.). I also watched a few videos online, read a few books, spent some time at the range with my new rifle and talked to some locals about the best hunting spots.Continue reading“Task-Driven Preparedness Planning, by J.M.”