Family, Garden, Home

Plan, Prepare, Protect

What Do I Need To Plan For? Is Prepping Just Disaster Planning?

In my first post, I wrote about beginning my prepping journey by doing a risk assessment and making a plan.  It strikes me as the most important place to begin.  But as I started to go down this path, I realized that it’s a lot more complicated thank I may have first realized.

My initial research seemed to suggest that prepping was mostly concerned with disasters.  Some of the more hardcore preppers spend their time thinking about and preparing for ‘the end of the world as we know it’ (TEOTWAWKI) or what they refer to as a SHTF event (that acronym stands for shit hits the fan, in case you aren’t familiar.)

So I started planning by focusing on disaster preparedness.  Using the Red Cross information mentioned in a previous post about creating a plan, I started with the disasters most common to where we live and the generic ones everyone needs to be concerned with.

But Wait, There’s More…

As I started assessing our risks and drawing up plans, I realized that ever plan seemed to require the purchase of something.

The fire safety plan included equipment we didn’t yet have.  The same for the tornado and severe thunderstorm plans, the extended blackout plan, the home security plan, and so on.

It would seem that an important aspect to prepping is having enough money to buy the stuff you need.  That means I need to budget for this.  But that wasn’t even the biggest ah-ha to come from this.

I Need A Financial Plan

For quite a few years now I’ve had a retirement financial plan.  I haven’t always been the best at sticking to it, but it’s been there.

However, I haven’t had a plan in place in case of a financial emergency.

You never know when you could lose your job.  You can’t predict when the hot water heater is going to go, or when a tree is going to fall on your car, or when you’re going to end up in the hospital.  If you don’t prepare, these kind of events could be financially devastating.

In my career I’ve been lucky.  I’ve rarely found myself unintentionally without a job, and when it’s happened, I’ve always found something fairly quickly, so this isn’t something I worry about regularly.  But recent events have really shown me how quickly things can go bad, and the fact is, you just never know.

Back in February, no one could have predicted that we’d be where we are now.  Most of the people who have lost jobs, and those who’ve lost otherwise successful businesses that were providing some of those jobs, probably didn’t see it coming until it was too late.  The whole idea behind prepping is that you aren’t waiting until it’s too late.

The Plans Are Coming

So, I’m still working on the details of most of our plans, but I plan to begin posting these plans here as I complete them.  I believe I’m closest to finishing the fire safety plan, so that will probably come first, with the others to follow.

There are also some plans that are not event driven.  Most of these seem like they become part of the other plans, but they can be detailed enough that they’re worth bringing up on their own.  These are things like the financial plan I mentioned above, or a long term food storage plan.

All of these should be posted here within the next few weeks.  If you have any suggestions about plans I may be missing or other ideas you want to share, please let me know in the comments below.

Where Do I Begin – How to Start Prepping

Where do I begin?  This seems to be a common question asked when someone realizes they are not as well prepared to protect themselves and their family in an emergency situation as they should be.  That’s exactly what prompted me to ask this question recently.

Writing down a plan

Making a list – writing down your plan

After researching this topic, and based on my personal experience as a project manager, I think the answer to how to start prepping is a fairly simple one – start by making a plan. Sit down and do a risk evaluation to determine what emergency situations are most likely to occur based on where you live and your personal situation.

Then, based on this evaluation, start considering what you need to do, get, or learn to be prepared for these situations. Prioritize these and then start doing, getting, and/or learning what you need.

Find Planning Resources

Although I’m very familiar with risk assessment and planning, I thought it would be helpful to have a guide in starting out with because I’d never really done this kind of evaluation before.  There are a lot of resources out there, including books, videos, websites, and countless others.  So after evaluating some of these choices, I decided to start with this site:

At the top of the page there is a simple three step process, and there is a template you can download to fill in the information about the plans you devise. If you read through the entire page, you will see links to a variety of resources, including their specific disaster information page here:

Overall, it seems to me to be a very thorough resource for getting started in creating your plans and preparations.  Then you just have to put these in place so that you are ready when an emergency happens.  I recommend getting started right away.

One more resource from that site is the page showing common disasters across the US by region, which can be found here:

The map separates out seven regions (including US territories) and provides information about the most common natural disasters in those regions.  Since you live there, you’ll likely have some idea about what these are, but when planning it can be helpful to have a list in front of you to help prevent forgetting about something that comes back to bite you later.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Don’t neglect the third step.  Practice may feel weird, and it may even be difficult to figure out how you can practice for some things, but start with what you can.

Have a fire drill and make sure everyone shows up to the designated spot.  Then, after a few times change the scenario so that everyone has to go to your alternate spot and see how they do.  If you live somewhere that is prone to tornadoes, have a drill grabbing what you need and going to your designated safe space.

Even table-top practice could help.  This is where you all sit at a table and just verbally walk through the plan.  For a fire drill you might set up the scenario that the primary exit is blocked by fire, then ask everyone to tell you what they are supposed to do. 

This can help ensure no one has to think too hard about what to do in the middle of a real emergency.  It may seem like it is easy to figure out on the fly, but when adrenaline starts pumping your logical thinking gets diminished and you’re bound to make mistakes, especially if you’ve never actually done it before.

Also, running practice drills will help you uncover gaps in your plan.  Maybe you can’t fit everyone into the safe space – not something you want to find out when there is a tornado bearing down.