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.


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