Having a proper buyout tent is a must.
(Photo by Kevin Estela)

Emergency Preparedness: How Ready Are You For Disaster?

You hear the commotion and you know a disaster is coming, what does that look like to you? It’s going to be different for everyone and you probably have an idea of your worst case scenario. Disasters come in many forms and based on possibility and probability, where you are can help you expect one coming your way more so than the others.

Emergency Preparedness

Residents of Florida are more likely to deal with a hurricane than they would a tornado found in Oklahoma and other midwest states. Those living in metropolitan areas can likely expect different social problems than those living in the country. They can also expect different human responses to hardship than those used to a life of self reliance.  Knowing what to expect and having an awareness of what hardship it brings help you prepare the equipment and plan you need to endure it. Regardless of what disaster you have in your mind, here are some conceptual preps and considerations 

​Our house is our castle. It doesn’t make sense to quickly abandon it and we are strongest where we call home. We know the walls, we know where our supplies are, and we should have an understanding of how to fortify it. Bugging in may make the most sense if we did our homework and prepared long before the proverbial s*#t storm. Homes can be boarded up and they can be filled with supplies over time. Then again, there are many who haven’t invested in land yet and where they live is just temporary.

Think of the number of people living paycheck to paycheck in apartments or high-population dwellings and must share space and resources. Without emotional bonds and a hardened home, the best option may be grab what you can and go. If this is your option, make sure you know where you are going or else you will be like a rudderless ship in a storm. Keep in mind, emotions can cloud your judgment and you shouldn’t value property over your life. Only one can be replaced. You need to run scenarios of the “what if” game and come up with a solid plan to stay or go. 


​Every emergency has a lifespan. Hurricanes lose strength as they travel inland, rioters run out of property to burn, and blizzard snow melts with warmer spring weather. With any plan, you must consider how long you will need to break from your normal routine. This will dictate your needs based on the rule of 3s. We know we need shelter, water, and food. We must plan to store or procure these with either option we choose. Therefore we must set aside ample space in our homes for extended emergencies if we must ride out the storm.

We also need to locate suitable rally points for our family and friends that have these resources if we bug out. So much of disaster preparation comes down to time. Statistics show the average emergency lasts 3 days which explains why so many disaster kits are marketed as 72 hour kits. If you’re fine with prepping for only three days, you must accept you are fine with preparing to be average. Go the extra mile and stock up for longer hardship. Also, part of the time equation is response time and just as important as having supplies and a plan is the time it takes to get that plan in action. If you want to be ready for disaster, you must rehearse it and test yourself. 

Variables In Emergency Preparedness

Emergencies are predictable but we can’t predict everything. Something guaranteed is variability though. We may have the perfect plan in our minds but we can’t be locked into it. At any point, you may be tasked with looking after more people during your disaster. You might take in a friend, relatives may show up, or one of your existing party could be injured or incapacitated. Another variable you may face is loss of equipment. It makes sense not to place all of your eggs in one basket. The survival concept of P.A.C.E (Primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency) planning will keep you better prepared if you have backups to backups staged in different locations.

Keep in mind, your worst case situation may only be the worse case and not the worst case. You may experience equipment failure like a vehicle break-down,batteries in your equipment failing, weather conditions changing, and public utilities being shut off. All of these changes can add complications to your plan. One of the best ways to address variables is to train them. Call a movable in the middle of your dry run by pulling an example out of a hat. You can modify your training plan once, twice, or as many times as you want until you reach a point of failure. Work back from that and determine what you need to build a stronger plan. 

A generator is an invaluable tool.
(Photo by Kevin Estela)

What Goes Around

​Events in life are cyclical. You’ve probably heard the expression that hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times. The same can be said of emergencies. It is better to learn from hard times and prepare during good times. It is a guarantee that your preparedness will be tested over time with an emergency and you’ll either endure it or not. You will have time to recover, recenter, and return to a sense of normalcy but you’ll have to start planning again.  

In this time before the next disaster, you may refocus on a strategy of mitigation, avoidance, or increased preparation in case you can’t get out of the way of the next one. Perhaps you look at the option of buggin in and bugging out and develop both plans for greater flexibility. Maybe you strengthen the response of your neighbors and build a neighborhood or apartment complex plan. There are always ways to improve your situation and your condition. Whatever you do, don’t settle into a state of complacency where you find yourself saying “it can’t happen” because history shows it has.  

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