September is National Preparedness Month, so I thought I bring you at least one more installment in this popular series, Be Prepared.
As events like the Boston Marathon bombings, September 11, and Hurricane Katrina have shown us, our world can be thrown into Chaos any time. Keeping our families safe is always a priority, and in a time of Chaos, it becomes even more important, as it becomes more difficult.
Of course, the problem with Chaos, as Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ian Malcolm would tell you, is that anything can, and does, happen. It is, by nature, unpredictable. You cannot predict, with any degree of certainty, what will happen, or how people or systems will react to any given situation.
But that does not mean that we can’t make plans based on scenarios that we think are likely to happen. The best example of this is the reason every car comes with a spare tire and a jack. We can’t predict when or where, or even if, we will have a flat tire, but we can be prepared for it, and train for it by learning how to safely change a tire.
Most readers of this blog have also done that in a more specific way, by deciding that there is a finite probability, as Tom Givens would say, that we will encounter someone who needs to be shot. So, we carry a concealed weapon, we train ourselves in its use, and we prepare to deal with those consequences.
So, make a plan.
When we did our family plan, one thing we saw was that a lot of times we might not have a clear picture of what was happening – there would be Chaos. For us, the best way to mitigate that Chaos was to have everyone in the same place, preferably at home. So, in the event of Chaos, we need to know:
- How is everybody? Are they injured? Are they threatened, or are they safe? If they are safe, are there threats in the area?
- Where is everybody? If they aren’t at home, how can we get them home safely? Can they do it alone or do they need assistance?
- What is the immediate situation, and what is the outlook for the foreseeable future? Do we need to move?
Then the plan becomes taking care of the answers to these questions – getting everyone safely home. In the course of this, here are some of the things our family came up with:
- Every vehicle has a first aid kit, ponchos, food, and water.
- My son goes to school with a first aid kid, poncho, food, and water. If has has to, he can walk home 5 miles. He knows the way home cross-country, avoiding main roads.
- My daughter goes to college in downtown Atlanta, about 30 miles from where we live in the suburbs. One of the things we plan for is the possibility that she might need to evacuate downtown, but that she might be unable to do so safely by herself. As a result, I never leave my car at night without enough gasoline to get downtown and back.
- I know 4 different ways to her college that don’t involve taking a main highway.
- In the event of real unrest, communication is essential. For that reason, everyone in my family has a printed list of phone numbers of all the other members, plus others outside our area. We don’t rely on the phone list in our cell phones, since those may be lost, broken, or the batteries may be dead.
- In real unrest, cell phones will be overloaded, as they were after the Boston Marathon bombing, and making calls will be nearly impossible. However, since the SMS text system uses the cell phone’s carrier signal to broadcast, if you have cell bars, you can almost always send text messages. Our family shares a text messaging plan, and we also know the codes to send emails to text messages. Look that up for your carrier.
- Because it might not be easy or prudent to send a long text message, we all have a list of codes to use in text messages.
- Family members outside our area are included in the system. Heaven forbid, “bug out” might get real.
- In event of real bug out, we have a series of pre-chosen rendezvous points, depending on the direction we choose to go, which would be picked based on the threat and likelihood of threat in the direction we choose. We also have them picked based on how far we need to go.
In the end, you can’t plan for everything, but you can expect the Chaos that will come. Have a plan.