Posts Tagged ‘Planning’

An aside: who the hell is Dennis L Hitzeman and why is he lecturing me?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

At some point, someone is going to ask who the hell I am and why I think I can lecture other people on readiness.

Frankly, I’m nobody more important than anyone else. My readiness experience is average and some of my qualifications are tenuous at best. A lot of what I am repeating here, I have learned from other far more qualified people, and to them we all owe a debt of gratitude.

Yet, while I am not some sort of super-secret-squirrel-ninja-ranger survivalist, I am a halfway intelligent person who can read and learn and observe the world around me, and what I have read and learned and observed over the past several years leads me to believe that it is very likely that you are not ready for whatever comes next at all. In fact, I used to not be ready at all too, and frankly, I still have a very long way to go to be ready in the way I think being ready should work for everyone.

So what makes me think I’m qualified to be saying what I am saying and doing what I am doing? Mostly, because I care enough to say something even as I do the something I say.

Five years ago, I was part of the Ohio National Guard’s assistance task force to the state of Mississippi as part of the response to Hurricane Katrina. One of the images that sticks in my mind more than most is the clear difference between people who were as ready as they could be and the people who plainly weren’t.

Among those memories was a sign tacked over the door of what was otherwise an innocuous ranch style house in Waveland, Mississippi. It read: “We’re fine and don’t need help. We are armed. Please help those who actually need it.”

Later, I discovered that there were as many as 10 people in that house: its original residents and probably family, friends, or neighbors who banded together for common survival. As far as I know, those people never took more from the relief workers than some water and ice.

That image and those people changed me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. Then, just two years ago, the freak windstorm caused by Hurricane Ike knocked power out to the area I was living for almost two weeks. While not everyone lost power, many, many people did, and I was without power for ten days.

So, I began planning in earnest and have learned quite a lot along the way. And what I have learned is that, even if I do manage to get ready the way I think I should be, in all likelihood you won’t be, and what good will that do me? I want everyone to be ready because, if we’re all ready, then even if something bad does happen it won’t be as bad as it could have been.

Hence this blog. I may not be an expert and I may not know everything, but I do care enough to try to get you to think about something I think is very important. If I succeed, then we will all be better for it.

DLH

Getting ready Part 4: What does readiness look like in the end?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

For me, the end state of readiness is that my everyday life won’t change much if local, national, or international circumstances suddenly change. Of course, that kind of readiness is almost impossible to achieve, especially in the face of an event like a natural disaster, but I believe it is possible to come close, and that closeness is what readiness should look like in the end.

This end state will look different for every person based on each individual’s outlook and priorities, but I think that every ready person’s end state will share several things in common.

First, true readiness is local. Even if someone is not growing his own food, building his own house, or making his own clothes, if he is getting those things from people geographically near him, it is far more likely that those things will continue to be available if circumstances change than if those things are coming from far away. What local might mean is different for every person, but everyone must consider things like the availability of fuel and personal fitness when considering that range.

Second, true readiness is sustainable. If someone needs something now, he will also likely need it after circumstances have changed. Of course, identifying needs is the tricky part, but once someone has identified them, then he must also identify how to keep having them. Developing sustainable systems for everything from food production to energy generation must be a central theme for true readiness or someone is not truly ready.

Third, true readiness is flexible. An old military axiom is that no plan survives the moment of first contact, and readiness plans are no different. If someone is ready, then his plan is flexible enough to be able to adapt to a variety of contingencies.

Now, applying these standards can mean a lot of different things to different people. How I might plan and implement readiness might not work for someone else, and someone else’s plans might not work for me. Yet, if everyone is working toward readiness, then we can establish the kinds of networks that allow our plans to be local, sustainable, and flexible.

DLH

Getting ready Part 3: Being realistic about your plan

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Let’s face it: even for those of us who are very focused on getting ready, there are still practical limitations on what we can do. Often the time and cost outweigh the resources we can dedicate to readiness, and we can’t really be thinking about getting ready all the time.

Those facts are why having a realistic approach to readiness planning is so important. Being realistic about your plan will help prevent you from getting discouraged and will help you actually be ready when the time comes.

As I have alluded to on previous posts, part of realistic readiness is having good priorities and a plan. The first step toward establishing those priorities and that plan is knowing what you already have going on. The second step is knowing what you want to accomplish. The third step is gathering the resources to do it.

For most people right now, simply having an immediate readiness plan and resources is more than what they already have. Certainly, it would be great to be able to establish complete readiness, but even being a little ready is far better than not being ready at all. Once someone has established a complete immediate plan and gathered the needed resources, then he can move on to establishing intermediate and long term plans.

And even for those who are able to establish a full range of readiness so that, whatever comes next, their life goes on, there will be compromises, things they didn’t consider, and things the didn’t prepare for. While this may be the case, some amount of readiness is always better than no readiness, and working toward the goal of being ready is being realistic.

DLH

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

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

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.

Water

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.

Fuel

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.

Communications

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.

Protection

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.

Food

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.

Power

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.

Medical

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.

Shelter

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.

Mobility

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.

Caching

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.

DLH

Getting ready Part 1: Coming up with a readiness plan

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

From my point of view, if someone is ready for whatever comes next, then having a readiness plan isn’t really necessary because not much will change from times of normalcy to times of crisis. Unfortunately, most of us are far from being in that state of readiness, so having a plan is a necessity.

The most effective readiness plans consist of three basic parts: immediate readiness, intermediate readiness, and long term readiness. Each of these parts take different kinds of resources and planning in order to be effective. While I will discuss each type of readiness in this post only in generalities, I will discuss them in detail in future posts.

Immediate Readiness

Immediate readiness refers to being ready for sudden changes like power outages, natural disasters, or political upheaval. Such plans usually consist of ensuring that someone has the basic resources to weather such a change for periods ranging from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the change. Immediate readiness plans tend to be specific to the kinds of changes the planner might expect to experience. generally, most immediate readiness plans involve preparing for a few days.

Intermediate Readiness

Intermediate readiness refers to being ready for changes that last longer than just a few days or weeks. Intermediate changes can last from months to years depending on the change and may require planning for relocation to places distant from the change. Intermediate readiness planning often involves establishing fall-back points, supply caches, and identifying people with whom to share such a plan.

Long Term Readiness

Long term readiness really refers to preparing for the changes to be permanent in some fashion. Long term readiness planning should be the guiding force behind all other forms of planning and should help the planners transition from a lifestyle that is not ready to one that is.

Over the next weeks and months, I will discuss aspects of each element of these kinds of plans in more detail.

DLH

Secured By miniOrange