Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Important Questions For Preparedness Planning

When I teach preparedness classes I’m often asked about what me and my family does to prepare. I always hate this type of question because everyone’s needs and wants are so different when it comes to preparedness. I think planning is imperative. I like plans and so we have several plans that relate to our preparedness. We have a medical/pandemic plan. A food and water plan. A fuel plan, and so on. More important than gear and things is skill. Having a match is good for starting a fire. But if you have skills in starting fires with several sources then that one match won’t have such a “life and death” caption with it.
When planning there are 12 questions you should answer to prepare your plans well.

1. What are the circumstances or scenarios you have determined may exist that will require you to rely upon your preparedness plans? (This is not only the most important and first question to answer, it is often the question most overlooked, or not considered critically enough). What will be the severity and impact of those circumstances on your life? Given your potential scenarios, how thoroughly have you researched the available options for food, water, medical, shelter, hygiene, and other categories of critical supplies? Are you prepared for emergencies during all seasons of the year? Is your family more susceptible to certain emergencies? How would your scenarios impact you or your family’s daily routine? Work or livelihood? How will you protect yourself and family against those who might do you harm?
2. How long will your emergency scenario last, and what is the duration of time for which you will be preparing? This is another critical question, and while it is difficult to envision the details that might occur, the adequacy of your preparedness planning and supplies is directly tied to honestly answering this question. Needless to say, the longer the duration of the emergency the more effect it will have on multiple aspects of one’s daily routine and lifestyle, and the need to be focused on the diversity of situations that will surround you.
3. What attitude are you willing to exemplify during the uncertainty and stress of the emergency scenarios you have determined may exist? An appropriate attitude is essential to survival and effective functioning during a serious emergency or disaster. Your emotional and spiritual viewpoint is the foundational component of any emergency circumstance. The longer the emergency the greater degree of stress, which will affect your well-being. Do you believe it is essential for you and your family to incorporate the proper emotional and spiritual attitude in your preparedness planning? Do you have a scriptural worldview regarding trials and tribulations? Who do you ultimately rely on for comfort, strength and hope?
4. What preparedness knowledge do you personally have that is important in providing specific information and instructions needed during the emergency or emergencies for which you are preparing? How about the knowledge of family or friends? What informational resources and references –– books and other tangible items –– do you personally have or have access to? Do you need to add to your references?
5. During an emergency what facilities, stores, resources, supplies, and assistance is available in your area apart from family and friends? This includes not only information and education, but also essentials such as food, water, shelter, energy, communication, and medical supplies. What utilities in your area are vulnerable to disruption or elimination? What will you do to compensate for the loss of electricity, water, gas, or phone service?
6. Are you dependent upon someone or something else to get you through and supply your needs during the emergency scenarios you presume will occur? Are your neighbors or friends stocking up on enough supplies for you also? Do you honestly believe some level of government will be there to assist and resolve the situation? Do you have a community support network available? What skills and knowledge do you possess that you can contribute? How many people are you planning to provide with emergency provisions? Extended family? Friends? Church members? Community?

7. Do you have a list of essential supplies you believe will be necessary to have on hand during your estimated emergency? Is it prioritized? Do you have a list of the essential categories your supplies fall under? What do you have on hand now?
8. Do you have an understanding of the financial implications of your projected emergency scenarios? This includes the costs of preparation, other financial obligations that might occur during and after the emergency, and understanding the choices needing to be made to adequately be prepared. For most folks it will be necessary to honestly assess the personal and family financial priorities in the preparedness process. Do you keep enough cash or items for barter on hand for unforeseen emergencies?
9. What are the special needs of yourself, family, or others you care for that might arise during the scenarios you find likely? This especially includes medical issues, nutritional requirements, and physical and emotional limitations. What psychological, social, medical, or unique factors could potentially arise from a long-term (6 months or more) catastrophic event? Also consider your personal, family, work, and community needs for timely communication during an emergency. Are any pets involved in your planning? Have you had a family, company, or group meeting to directly and honestly discuss what actions are to be implemented during an emergency of the type you determined might occur? For many individuals and families the religious or spiritual factor in preparedness planning and implementation –– especially during a serious or catastrophic event –– is the most important. If this applies to you, make sure all family members and friends are in prayer.
10. In your expected emergency scenarios will you be stationary and remain where you are, or is it possible you will have to be mobile and relocate? This could include different responses depending on your predictions of the duration and severity of the emergency. Are you aware of all the implications and planning required depending upon your answer to this question? This is another one those very difficult questions to fully comprehend, because not only can there be many perspectives to consider, being prepared to be mobile and leave an established residence or homestead requires a whole different set of planning points. If you had to evacuate or relocate right now, where would you go? With prior planning where would you prefer to go?
11. What means of communication do you have available to you during an emergency and with whom do you need to communicate? This includes both two-way communication with others, including family, friends and associates, and one-way communication from radio stations, emergency broadcasts, or individuals via short wave. Do you have a cell phone? Will towers be functioning? Land lines? Internet? Hand held walkie-talkies? Short wave radios? Citizens band radios? Emergency radios with two-way communication capability? During a serious emergency accurate information and updates are essential for survival.
12. In your expected emergency scenarios what transportation options will be necessary and available? Needing to be mobile requires serious planning and so does remaining in place if your anticipated scenario lasts for a long duration and you need to travel within your area. What vehicles are available? What fuels do they need to operate? What do you have on hand? If you must relocate, how much space and weight is needed to transport your supplies? Do you have a bicycle? Small solar or gas scooter? Adequate foot gear? A horse? What if the emergency is in the winter –– a harsh winter?

These are questions to start you on your planning journey. When you get your plans in place you can slowly start to get your supplies and skills. Remember this is not a race but a process. Don’t go into debt for food or supplies, with careful planning, you can do this over time. Set goals. Simultaneously be learning new skills. Ask professionals to teach tasks like putting In a IV or suturing. There are many resources for wilderness skills. Boy Scout troops can help. There are schools and courses in medical and wilderness survival. You’re not expected to be an expert, but some training with a little practice can be life-saving or changing. There are CERT teams, the Red Cross, and hospitals that have training available. Get involved with your community. Military bases and law enforcement can be resources. Libraries, garden clubs, and county extension agencies can help. There are many places to get training. Even the internet is useful, but be aware that anyone can have a blog, a website, or a Youtube channel. Be careful and get confirmation on information.

Review your plans from time to time to alter them if needed. Make sure your plans a realistic and reflect your needs and wants. Happy planning!

Semper Paratus
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