There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Plan A: Bug-Out or Dig-In?

There are generally three plans of action one can lay out in preparation for possible local disaster. Most folks actually seriously consider only two of the three for reasons that are obvious.

1. Rare, but Effective: There are some who decide to change their life in total and move to a location that they deem is safe and secure from almost all threats. To do this often requires a full-household life-transformation, from career and home moves to lifestyle choices and standard of living alterations. This kind of plan is quite simply not realistic for most people today. But for those who do this, preparedness obviously becomes a prime driver in life, for better or worse.

2. Be Careful and Think Through This One: Some folks, for reasons reasonable or occasionally unreasonable, plan to deal with most or all disasters by "bugging out." If there is an attainable destination within a short drive, this may be OK. But much thought must be devoted to whether there is actually a necessity to leave your home and to make yourself vulnerable on the road--whether there may be gridlock along the route of your escape, or whether there may be elevated danger in a potentially chaotic evacuation scenario. Weigh the risks against the benefits. Is your planned bugout location truly that much safer and better equipped to sustain you in a time of crisis? Will you enjoy the familiarity and community support system in place in that other location that you would naturally have in place back at home? Are you willing to spend the time and money to prepare that location adequately (perhaps doubling your preparedness expenditures if you are also prepping your normal homestead for staying put through a period of difficulty)? The list of considerations is long if one really wants to seriously assess ramifications.

3. If Possible, Dig-in: For most people and for most disasters, the best "Plan A" is to stay put ... hopefully where you live, perhaps where you work. For planning purposes, minimizing your vulnerability to social chaos in an evacuation scenario and capitalizing on your home-neighborhood and community support system makes staying-put your best option. Of course, you must look at the exact situation and decide if that actually makes sense. For instance, exceptions to the rule might include a major hurricane bearing down on you, threatening to flood you out, or an industrial accident upwind that threatens air quality in your locale if you stay where you are.

Best to Be Ready Either Way

For everyone, the ideal approach to preparedness is to try to cover as many bases as possible. Be ready to stay home and fortify your position in the place you know best ... but also be prepared to pick up and get out of Dodge in an instant if you absolutely need to.

For many years my own plan was to be able to adequately anticipate whatever major danger might require "Plan A" to be put into action. That very optimistically meant being ahead of the curve, hitting the road before everyone else would be out on the highway, for a drive with my family and vehicles loaded to the roof with whatever necessities we could fit in. The destination was two-and-a-half hours away in ideal conditions ... our secluded cabin off the grid in the middle of the woods, far from even the closest rural neighbors. The place was fully stocked and squared away for a nice little rendevous with TEOTWAWKI.

But after years of spending the money and time to keep it at full readiness, it dawned on me that we could be more realistically applying my available resources to a solution with better odds.

It was, in itself, a big move for us after becoming so much a part of that piece of remote and beautiful property and the idea that we could play northwoods-pioneer-survivor whenever we needed to ... IF we could actually get there when the time came.

But the logic was undeniable and we did ultimately arrive at the decision to reformulate Plan A.

In a few words, that meant that we sold that property. We applied the money to building onto our outer-suburban home in the form of an addition. AND most significantly, the project included the installation of an indestructible steel fallout shelter under the addition. In short order, we greatly enhanced our chances of surviving most anything, and made our refuge more immediate, convenient, and certainly more robust. It proved less costly in the long run as well, since we no longer need to try to maintain and prepare two different locations for whatever may come.

So do we still have a Plan B? Of course. We know where we'll go if we need to bug-out. It's three-and-a-half hours away in ideal conditions and there is a nice community support system in place for us (family ties, etc.) But that Plan B is really Plan Z for us, as that is what we will do only when all else fails.

Staying put, putting money and work into fortifying one's homebase, developing community ties ... it all makes sense in more ways than just preparing for doomsday. It's almost a straightforward business decision--after looking at the risks, assessing the actual payback opportunities for various options, ascertaining core holdings and committing to the plan that holds the most promise based on available resources ... you almost always dig in and stick to what you know best, defending your current marketshare.

For us, it took years of working through other ideas and plans and alternative realities. But in the end, common sense prevailed--there's no place like home if you want to maximize your chances of survival across the spectrum of potential risks.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

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