FOR­MU­LATE YOUR PREPPER AC­TION PLAN

Cod­ify crit­i­cal pro­ce­dures be­fore the cri­sis.

American Survival Guide - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Will Dabbs, M.D.

“THE RUS­SIANS DON’T TAKE A DUMP, SON, WITH­OUT A PLAN.” -AD­MI­RAL JOSH PAINTER, THE HUNT FOR RED OC­TO­BER

These words came from a fic­tional char­ac­ter in the Tom Clancy book, The Hunt for Red Oc­to­ber. An­other para­phrased ax­iom might be that “sweat in peace pre­vents blood in war.” As this con­cept ap­plies to sur­vival prep­ping, it sim­ply means that the time to think about what you are go­ing to do is not when the zom­bies come am­bling up the drive­way.

It seems that even the gov­ern­ment thinks plan­ning for calamity is a great idea.

OUR TAX DOL­LARS AT WORK

For those of us who work hard to pay our taxes, it can seem that we get pre­cious lit­tle re­turn for that mas­sive re­cur­ring in­vest­ment. We have de­cent roads and an ad­mit­tedly prodi­gious pile of dead ter­ror­ists to show for our out­lay, but most of that money al­ways seems to go some­place other than the Dabbs fam­ily.

How­ever, there are some gov­ern­ment-spon­sored on­line re­sources that can do a fine job of help­ing get you or­ga­nized when it comes to plan­ning for a cri­sis.

That web­site is www.ready.gov, and it is a FEMA prod­uct. The in­for­ma­tion is well-or­ga­nized and easy to ac­cess. Po­ten­tial threats range from pedes­trian stuff (such as tor­na­does and drought) to weird things (nu­clear blasts, tsunamis and “space weather,” what­ever that re­ally is. Just kid­ding; the web­site ex­plains it nicely). While the tech­ni­cal ma­te­rial should be of in­ter­est to any­one re­spon­si­ble enough to have pur­chased this Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide mag­a­zine, what it re­ally did for me was get the juices flow­ing.

PRAC­TI­CAL TAC­TI­CAL

It was easy when my kids were young. We lived way out in the woods on a po­ten­tially self-suf­fi­cient farm and were armed to the teeth. When we had a bad storm or a power out­age, we all just re­treated to the base­ment and let it flow over us. How­ever, my three kids now live in three dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try, all far from home. Ac­tions to take in the event of an emer­gency are al­to­gether dif­fer­ent today.

The prod­ucts at Ready.gov in­clude down­load­able in­for­ma­tion cards to be used in an emer­gency. They pro­vide a handy place to keep con­tact in­for­ma­tion for close friends and fam­ily. While you may have ac­cess to ad­dresses and phone num­bers for ev­ery rel­a­tive, both im­me­di­ate and dis­tant, how about your 18-year-old col­lege stu­dent daugh­ter? If she had to get in touch with Un­cle Joe or Aunt Jane when you weren’t there to help, and the In­ter­net was but a mem­ory, could she pull it off? Keep in mind that your cell phone, with its vast repos­i­tory of per­sonal and pro­fes­sional in­for­ma­tion, be­comes a very ex­pen­sive paper­weight in the ab­sence of elec­tri­cal power.

A good ac­tion plan should in­clude com­mu­ni­ca­tions, food, wa­ter, egress, se­cu­rity, cloth­ing and shel­ter. Think through your par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances and tai­lor the plan ac­cord­ingly. Ready.gov has work­sheets and guide­lines to help you get there. Ob­vi­ously, the sur­vival con­sid­er­a­tions for an in­vest­ment banker in Man­hat­tan are dif­fer­ent from those of a Mis­sis­sippi farmer. Your in­di­vid­u­al­ized fam­ily prepper ac­tion plan should re­flect this.

HAV­ING A PLAN HELPS YOU CON­SOL­I­DATE RE­SOURCES AND TAMPS DOWN PANIC. KEEP IT SIM­PLE; SIM­PLE STUFF IS WHAT WE RE­MEM­BER WHEN WE ARE TER­RI­FIED.

WAR GAMES

When I was an Army of­fi­cer, we planned for ev­ery imag­in­able even­tu­al­ity. We all knew that the mas­ter plan would change the moment we made con­tact with the en­emy. How­ever, that orig­i­nal plan gave us a frame­work upon which to build, al­low­ing us to ad­just to the tac­ti­cal sce­nario as it un­folded. The same con­cepts ap­ply to a fam­ily prepper ac­tion plan.

My kids are hours away in size­able ur­ban cities. If dis­as­ter strikes, even if the in­fra­struc­ture re­mains in­tact, chances are that the cell sys­tem will be over­whelmed. Your kids and dis­tant fam­ily mem­bers need to know what to do so they will have that frame­work upon which to build if the world goes side­ways.

Stick with tex­ting. Texts re­quire a frac­tion of the band­width of a voice call.

Make sure ev­ery­body has ev­ery­one else’s con­tact in­for­ma­tion in hard copy. Make a lost comms plan. In our case, my kids know to al­ways keep their gas tanks above half full when there is trou­ble afoot. They are to meet me at a cer­tain spot be­tween their homes and mine at a cer­tain time in the event comms break­down and they have to run. On my end, I know where to go and look for them at our pre­ar­ranged linkup site. Ide­ally, this keeps me from just rolling into their neigh­bor­hood—well armed—and look­ing for trou­ble af­ter a dis­as­ter.

It can be a game of sorts: Get ev­ery­body to­gether and just imag­ine what could hap­pen, where and how. Nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, ter­ror­ist at­tacks, civil un­rest and weather gone wild are good places to start. Re­view what hap­pened on 9/11 and dur­ing hurricanes Ka­t­rina and Sandy for

WHEN THAT TIME COMES, HAV­ING A PLAN CAN MAKE THE DIF­FER­ENCE BE­TWEEN SUC­CESS AND FAIL­URE, HAP­PI­NESS AND TRAGEDY.

in­spi­ra­tion. Once you have this ba­sic frame­work in place, you can adapt to your re­al­ity as nec­es­sary. Hav­ing a plan helps you con­sol­i­date re­sources and tamps down panic. Keep it sim­ple; sim­ple stuff is what we re­mem­ber when we are ter­ri­fied.

PER­TI­NENT PAR­TIC­U­LARS

Con­sider med­i­cal needs and plan to meet them. This can in­clude crit­i­cal med­i­ca­tions or equip­ment. For in­stance—

• In­sulin-de­pen­dent di­a­betes is a guar­an­teed death sen­tence in the ab­sence of

in­sulin and a re­frig­er­a­tor.

• Kids have dif­fer­ent needs than adults.

• Con­sider pets and close friends in your plan­ning. You don’t want to end up so

des­per­ate that you have to con­sider eat­ing any of them!

• Dif­fer­ing lan­guages and dis­abil­i­ties can change the land­scape of a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion. Lit­tle things such as hear­ing aid bat­ter­ies can be­come big things if you find your­self with­out them.

• Re­search lo­cal shel­ters’ poli­cies con­cern­ing ser­vice an­i­mals if you have such, and

plan enough food and sup­port gear to keep these crit­i­cal as­sets on­line in a cri­sis. • Fig­ure out a way to ac­cess emer­gency alerts and warn­ings when con­ven­tional means of com­mu­ni­ca­tions are down. A com­pact weather ra­dio is cheap and can be pow­ered by any­thing from bat­ter­ies to a hand crank to sun­shine. Know­ing what is re­ally go­ing on in the world can be half the fight.

Re­con places such as schools and churches in ad­vance so you know how to re­trieve your kids in a cri­sis. I have a well-funded friend with a he­li­copter who has a plan to ex­tract his chil­dren aeri­ally from their lo­cal school in an emer­gency. While the rest of us will have to make do with the fam­ily mini­van, the ba­sic con­cepts still ap­ply. Once you have a plan, doc­u­ment it so that ev­ery­body un­der­stands what to do and when. The as­sets at Ready.gov can help you get or­ga­nized.

YOU ARE NEVER MORE THAN A SIN­GLE HEAD­LINE AWAY FROM HAV­ING TO TAKE RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY FOR THE SAFETY AND SE­CU­RITY OF YOUR FAM­ILY.

COM­BAT TRAIN­ING

The mil­i­tary trains repet­i­tively, be­cause that is how you hard­wire in­for­ma­tion for use in a cri­sis. The key to re­li­able per­for­mance of the hu­man ma­chine when the blood re­ally starts pump­ing is this train­ing. That can be a the­ater-level ex­er­cise re­plete with tanks, strike air­craft, Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions forces and live ammo. It can also be a game wherein you yell, “Go!” and see how long it takes your 5-year-old to get out the door and meet you at the mail­box. If prop­erly crafted, such ex­er­cises can be fun and po­ten­tially life­sav­ing.

Send your teenager a text five min­utes be­fore school lets out that says, “There has been a nu­clear at­tack, and our neigh­bor­hood is over­run with ra­dioac­tive mu­tants. What are you go­ing to do?”

Meet them at your pre-or­dained rally point and then go grab some ice cream. If the zom­bies ever show up for real, your kids will re­mem­ber what to do. It need not be com­pli­cated.

AVAIL­ABLE RE­SOURCES

Ready.gov is well rea­soned and nicely ex­e­cuted. Be­cause it is a gov­ern­ment web­site, there is nat­u­rally pre­cious lit­tle about firearms or de­fend­ing your­self in a cri­sis. Even so, stuff such as gov­ern­ment

re­sources and tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion is avail­able in spades. (And cool mag­a­zines such as Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide will keep you abreast of all your ki­netic op­tions.)

Down­load­able PDF files in­clude print­able emer­gency ac­tion plans for par­ents, kids and tran­sit com­muters. There are wal­let-sized re­sources avail­able, as well as tips and point­ers on dis­as­ter prepa­ra­tion. There is also some ex­plana­tory in­for­ma­tion on the na­tional sys­tem for emer­gency alerts and warn­ings. It’s all there … and it doesn’t cost you a dime to use it.

RU­MI­NA­TIONS

In its nat­u­ral state, the world is chaos. We push back the best we’re able, but the in­evitable in­es­timable en­tropy of the uni­verse is al­ways lurk­ing just be­neath the sur­face. You are never more than a sin­gle head­line away from hav­ing to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the safety and se­cu­rity of your fam­ily. When that time comes, hav­ing a plan can make the dif­fer­ence be­tween suc­cess and fail­ure, hap­pi­ness and tragedy.

So much of our tax money is squan­dered on stupid stuff we don’t want or need. I couldn’t care less about so­lar-pow­ered beer or a study to de­ter­mine why bugs are at­tracted to lights (these are, in fact, two ac­tual gov­ern­ment projects that burned through more than $100,000 in 2015). How­ever, www.ready.gov re­ally does have some gen­uinely use­ful in­for­ma­tion that could help a great deal in a cri­sis. Surf on over and check it out.

… THERE ARE SOME GOV­ERN­MENT-SPON­SORED ON­LINE RE­SOURCES THAT CAN DO A FINE JOB OF HELP­ING GET YOU OR­GA­NIZED WHEN IT COMES TO PLAN­NING FOR A CRI­SIS.

Above: Shelf-sta­ble food such as this from Moun­tain House will last 25 years or more if left un­opened in a cool place. How­ever, all the food and cool-guy gear on the planet is worth­less if you lack the means to pro­tect it. Above: It’s very pos­si­ble...

Above: Echo-sigma sells a wide va­ri­ety of sur­vival gear de­signed for al­most any imag­in­able emer­gency. The com­pany’s rigs are well rea­soned and in­clude qual­ity kit. Right: MRES (“meals, ready to eat”) are ac­tu­ally tasty if prop­erly pre­pared. How­ever,...

Above: You need to rec­og­nize the pos­si­bil­ity ex­ists that you might lose ev­ery­thing you own from a wide va­ri­ety of threats. Cre­at­ing and prac­tic­ing an ac­tion plan is the first step in pro­tect­ing as much as you can.

Above: Keep­ing hard copies of im­por­tant con­tact in­for­ma­tion is al­ways a good idea. Each fam­ily mem­ber should keep a copy handy. Use some­thing like this two-page check­list to en­sure that im­por­tant stuff is gath­ered and avail­able to all fam­ily mem­bers....

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