Intermediate Readiness

Intermediate readiness represents an order of magnitude of greater complexity than immediate readiness. Planning for intermediate readiness means being ready for events that could last weeks to months or even years and usually represents planning for specific kinds of contingencies you might anticipate having in the place where you live. While intermediate readiness anticipates such changes, it also anticipates an eventual return to a previous state, which is what differentiates it from long-term readiness.

What kind of events need to be planned for? Most intermediate plans involve responses to natural disaster events, although I think every intermediate plan should include responses to social/political turmoil in your area,  to extended fuel shortages, and to extended electrical outages. It might also be useful to plan for multiple events occurring simultaneously.

What are the major changes anticipated as a result of those events? While the ultimate goal of readiness is to be able to weather changes without much change in your routine, most people will not be at that point when an event occurs. Therefore, it is very useful to anticipate what kind of changes will occur and how you will respond to them. Specifically, it is very important to understand how you will respond to a sudden lack of fuel or electricity if you depend on those resources.

Will those events affect only the people covered by your plan, or will they be more widespread? Some events may be very local and may affect only you or the people involved in your plan such as a flood or tornado. More likely, the events will involve a large number of people, many of whom were not ready for whatever event occurred. Intermediate planning should include both the people involved in your plan and plans for how to deal with people not included in your plan. It should include specific provisions for whether, when, and how those involved in your plan will render aid, provide charity, deal with refugees, and provide defense of people and resources.

How many people will be covered by your plan? In intermediate planning, scale becomes incredibly important. It is a much different consideration in planning for 5 people than it is for 10 than it is planning for 20. Of course, planning for more people to end up involved in your plan is also appropriate. It is almost inevitable that circumstances, once a plan has been activated, will change, and additional people could very well be part of that change.

Where will this plan be carried out? The consideration of “where” involves more than just where everyone in your plan will end up. When an event occurs, everyone involved in your plan will most likely be somewhere other than where they plan to end up. Your plan should include responding to the event and the stages necessary to get people from where they are to where they should be.

Don’t expect one member of the group covered by the plan to think of or do everything. Planning always benefits, to a point, from more minds, and readiness benefits from everyone being involved more than other kinds of planning. If people are going to be involved in the execution of your plan, they should also be involved in developing it, and most of the time it makes sense to divide responsibility among the participants as much as possible.

Don’t forget to plan for the immediate response to an event. While you may have a decent general immediate readiness plan, it may not be appropriate to the events your intermediate readiness plan seeks to address. While you are planning for those events, consider what additional steps may be necessary to adapt your immediate plans to the intermediate events.

Make sure everyone involved in your plan is trained in as many aspects of your plan as possible. Because intermediate plans may become highly specialized and complex, it is very important to make sure everyone in your group possesses the right knowledge and skills to carry out the plan, even parts they are not primarily responsible for.

What are your contingencies if your plan falls apart? An old military axiom is that no plan survives the moment of first contact, and your plan will be no different. In extreme cases, your plan may fall apart altogether as a result of events you could not anticipate. The best way to handle such situations is to develop a simple but well though out standard for how to make decisions under such circumstances that everyone in the group agrees to, understands, and is able to exercise if the time arises.

Whatever your plan might be, never plan to become a refugee. One of the most important items to consider in readiness planning, but especially in intermediate planning, is to ensure that your plan is proactive, even in its consideration of its own failure. Whatever else you plan to do, never plan to depend on someone or something else for aid who is not already explicitly involved in your plan. You must always keep in mind that, while individuals, groups, and governments trying to render aid during an event are probably in some way compassionate, they do not have the luxury of caring about individuals. To those rendering aid in an event, everyone becomes a statistic, and the loudest and most demanding statistics become threats. If you end up relying on someone else for aid–that is, if you become a refugee–you will be reduced to the lowest common denominator of assistance that other entity can muster. The lot of refugees is a tragic one that often ends badly. The point of readiness planning is to avoid that state altogether, even if your plan itself falls apart.

A general intermediate readiness plan: I think the best intermediate readiness plan involves planning for a year’s worth of change, so any specific amounts mentioned refer to that length of time. I intend this list as a guide for things to think about. Every group must design their own specific plan to their own specific circumstances.

Rally Point: Where are the people in your plan going to go? Is that place big enough for everyone involved? If not, how do you plan to accommodate them?

Rally Plan: A rally plan is really an immediate readiness plan that forms the beginning of your intermediate readiness plan.  It should detail how everyone involved in your plan is going to get to your rally point, detail contingencies if parts of the plan should fail or prove impossible and deal honestly with issues like pickups and rescue attempts.

Water: Human beings can only survive for about three to five days without potable water. Most readiness experts recommend having at least a gallon of water per person per day on hand for each person involved in an intermediate readiness plan. Unfortunately, storing large quantities of water for even a small group of people to have enough water for a year becomes problematic at best. The best recommendation is to have enough water stored so that the group can survive for several weeks without needing a potable water source, but the overall plan should include provisions for bringing in water from a source and ensuring it is clean. There is no clear cut answer to how someone might accomplish this task, and the solution will vary from circumstance to circumstance. However, ensuring continued access to potable water may be the most important problem an intermediate readiness plan solves.

Fuel: Fuel may not seem that important, but especially early on in an intermediate event, it may be the most precious commodity a group possesses after potable water. Special care should be taken to determine how much, what types, and where fuel will be stored and how that fuel will be safeguarded.

Communications: Especially in the early days of an intermediate event, the ability of members of a readiness group to communicate will be a necessity. More than likely, members of the group will be making their way to the group’s rally point, and being able to communicate progress will be an indispensable part of executing the plan. The best rule of thumb for communications during an intermediate event is to assume that normal public communications systems will be unavailable. As a result, the group should pay special attention to the ranges necessary for communication and plan appropriately.

Protection: No one wants to think about it, but in all likelihood an intermediate readiness event will spawn violence. Most people will be unprepared and, therefore, scared. Scared people, desperate to survive, will do whatever they think they have to in order to get the things they think they need. People preparing for such events should also prepare to defend themselves. When, where, and how such defense takes place must depend on the people involved in your plan; however, if you do not plan to defend yourself, you can plan to lose at least some of what you have. Take care to make sure that any member of your plan involved in protection is well trained in both the use of whatever tools you decide on and in the procedures you agree to.

Food: The average sedentary diet is around 2,000 calories. In a readiness event, that requirement will probably go up by quite a bit. A good rule of thumb is to store up about 3,500 calories per day per person involved in your plan for a year. Keep in mind that if you expect an event to last longer than a year, also plan to have on hand archive quality seed packs, especially grains and legumes, so you can begin growing your own food as soon as possible.

Power: Many people will say that planning to live without power is the best way to approach an intermediate readiness event. Yet, so many of the things we rely on in modern life, including means of producing light, heat, communicating, and even forms of protection, require electricity to work properly. Planning on having a reserve source of power, if only to charge batteries and to provide periodic light, should be a part of your plan.

Medical: People are going to get hurt, especially in the early days of an intermediate event. Every plan should include the supplies and training necessary to provide medical support, perhaps indefinitely. After protection, preparing medical capabilities may be the most expensive part of your plan.

Shelter: Many people preparing for an intermediate event underestimate how much shelter will be necessary for the people involved in their plan. People tend to think of readiness as a long camping trip and fail to realize that as an event drags into weeks and months such close quarters can create their own kinds of problems. Give careful consideration to how to provide every person with enough space and privacy.

Clothing: If the intermediate event lasts more than a few months, clothing will become an issue, especially if growing children are involved. While most clothing can be repaired for some time by someone skilled, eventually it will wear out and have to be replaced. Growing children simply cannot be expected to wear clothing that is too small or too big. I recommend keeping at least one full ensemble of clothing (one complete outfit) in reserve for every three months you plan for the event to last. For children, expect to add a bigger size for every six months.

Mobility: Planning for mobility in anticipation of an intermediate event involves two parts: movement during the immediate aftermath of an event and movement during the course of the period of time the entire event lasts. Immediate movement can be a difficult thing to plan for and will depend in great part on the anticipated event. Longer term movement involves planning for how, when, and why movement is necessary and the most expedient way to make such movement happen. Keep in mind that stockpiling fuel can be a difficult proposition and fuel stockpiles will make you a target if their existence becomes known.

Caching: If it is at all possible, it makes sense to store a certain amount of supplies somewhere other than your main rally point. Keep in mind that an unoccupied cache is an invitation to pillaging, but having all of your supplies in one place is an invitation to loss.



A week from now, National Novel Writing Month begins, which endeavor challenges its participants to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Success requires writing 1,667 words a day.

Many people, mostly non-writers, ask why in the world anyone would want to do such a thing.

For me, the answer is that NaNoWriMo represents a chance to establish a daily writing habit or to exercise a habit already established. To be a successful writer, one has to write, and the most successful writers do so every day. And, I believe that intelligent people write.

That second reason offends a lot of people, yet I think that no one can avoid the clear link between intelligence and writing. We spend as many as 21 years of our lives or more learning, most often through the study of the writings of intelligent people. We entertain ourselves by reading the writings of intelligent people. Even if we chose only to watch TV or listen to music, those scripts and songs were written by intelligent people (that is, people intelligent enough to write, at least).

The written word is a powerful force, and has been for most of mankind’s history. The written word has created nations and destroyed them. It has the power to inspire and encourage millions. It has inspired acts of courage and imagination and acts of treachery and abomination. When it is the right words, I believe the written even has the power to save people’s souls or destroy them.

I believe that our modern society does not give enough credence or respect to the written word or to the people who write them. Civilization has been built, in part, on the shoulders of writers, their ideas, and their actions, yet today too many people think of writers as some sort of underclass to the people who have ‘real’ jobs.

If what I say about writing, the written word, and history are true, though, there is no question as to why our modern society struggles. Without intelligent people writing and intelligent people reading, we are not adding to the legacy of the civilization that got us where we are now. What will that say about us to future generations?

As for me, I have no intention that those generations should have to speculate about me, and I hope that many other intelligent people will join me in establishing that legacy. It can all begin in 7 days.


Getting ready Part 2: Items to consider in a readiness plan

One of the aspects of readiness that separates it from what most of us consider normal life is that it forces us to look at our priorities and reduce life to the several items that are really necessary for our everyday existence. While I argue that these several items are the only items one should really focus on once they are identified, I understand that not everyone is at the same point. As a result, that is where readiness planning comes in.

Almost every readiness plan consists of the same several items of consideration. I will present each of the items here as a general overview, and I will discuss each of the items later in detail and in discussions of the various aspects of readiness planning. Also, the order of the list of these items is my own priority set. Each planner must determine what priorities work for his or her individual plan.


Lots of people have readiness plans, but I think too many people overlook how hard it may become to get potable water if modern water delivery systems fail. The general rule for readiness is that you there should be one gallon of water per person per day covered by the plan. Keep in mind that having this kind of water available probably means storing it and rotating it over time. Also, having the necessary tools to access, move, and purify water is a must for intermediate and long term readiness planning.


Keeping extra fuel on hand can mean the difference between weathering a crisis well and not weathering it at all. While how much extra fuel should be kept on hand is a matter of significant debate, the fact remains that there should be some.


Cell phones are notoriously unreliable forms of communications during times of crisis and may become unusable if the crisis lasts long enough. Establishing reliable alternative forms of communication with the people involved in your readiness plan is essential for that plan to function.


No one really wants to think about it, but let’s face it: during a crisis the need to protect yourself and those involved in your plan may become very high. More than likely, especially if the crisis is widespread enough, the police and military will be delayed or unavailable to provide protection. Having sufficient means of protection on hand, knowing how to use those means, and having the ability to resupply those means are an integral part of any effective readiness plan. These means may also be help ensure there is enough food available for intermediate and long term planning.


Many people will protest that food should be far higher in the list, maybe even at the top. I think that there is far more food available than most people realize, and unlike water, people can survive without adequate food for quite a long time before bad things start to happen. That said, having adequate plans for food is an essential part of readiness planning, even if it may not be the most important.


Especially if a crisis is an enduring one, having the means to provide power is an essential consideration. Providing power when regular electricity delivery is not available can be one of the most expensive and time consuming parts of readiness planning, so how that power will be provided must be carefully considered and implemented.


If the crisis is intense enough, providing medical care for people participating in your plan may become a necessity. Providing such care is more complicated than just having medical supplies on hand. Someone has to know how to diagnose what needs done and use the supplies effectively.


It is entirely possible that the crisis that activates your plan may involve the destruction of your shelter. Having a plan and the means to provide for shelter is then and essential part of readiness planning.


It is entirely possible that your readiness plan may have to involve leaving where you start. The means by which that might occur can be highly variable, but they still must be carefully considered.


Along with having a cache of supplies where you live, maybe at work, and maybe in your main mode of transportation, you should also consider caching supplies other places.

I know this can be a daunting list, especially if someone is just at the beginning of their readiness plan, but these things must be considered in order for a plan to be effective and complete. I will discuss each of these items in detail in future posts and as part of future posts on planning.