Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The five circles of preparedness

Sometimes it’s hard to organize and define your needs in terms of survival and preparedness.
I’m using the word preparedness here as well because in many cases these problems we face and deal with aren’t life or death matters, but simply inconveniences which we find that preparing for in advance makes life easier.
Not everything is black and white, but problems are just anecdotal when you’re ready.
The market its flooded with products, and even the information is sometimes too much. Its easy to end up buying that 27th gun you absolutely need for SHTF, 200 body bags (for the 200 raiders you’ll be killing, of course) or reading about making chess pieces with dog poop. Nice skills to know, but given that funds and time are both limited, they fall way down in the priority list.

It’s also clear to me now that there’s two sides to this coin.
On one side we have survival and preparedness regarding dealing with the different problems and inconveniences of all sorts that life throws our way. The essence here is 1) recognizing the potential problem 2) Preparing accordingly.
On the other side of the coin we, have something that I still find hard to describe. I’d say it’s a way of life, a belief we hold dear regarding the ability to cope with problems, live free and hold dear things such as individuality, the ability to think for ourselves and stick to our values. Pass the torch to our children and anyone that seems capable of getting it.

When it comes to preparedness specifically, sometimes its hard to differentiate the “nice to haves” from the “must haves”, and what role each item plays.
We’ve talked about body armor in a previous post. Do you keep it handy in case you have to put it on at 2 AM when a junky tried to break in ? Or does it stay at the bottom of you BOB (bug out bag) for when the end of the war is declared?
I’m using the word circle here as a away to describe different groups.

1)The 1st circle refers to your head, your knowledge and mindset. The knowledge being the set of tools, the software you use to deal with different situations.

2)The 2nd circle is one that expands a bit more, and includes your body as well. Your physical capabilities. Are you physically fit and in good health? Can you honestly say you’re doing what you can to stay in shape, healthy? If its within you age and physical possibilities, do you train and work out so as to be able to defend yourself with nothing more than your body? Do you have the physical strength to perform various task, carrying loads, etc?
Surprisingly enough. These two are the most important and often the ones that are most overlooked since its not about buying stuff with your credit card on the net, but actually sweating and physically working to achieve them.

3)The 3rd circle expands just a little bit and includes the first layer of gear. Your clothes and gear that you carry with you on daily basis.
There’s several posts in the blog discussing this.
This circle is important because speaking of worst case scenarios, what you have with you at all times is what you’ll have when you need it the most. If you’re lucky enough you may get other supplies you had stored elsewhere, but its not kosher to count on being lucky during emergencies.
What kind of clothes you wear? Maybe you can’t avoid wearing a suit because of your job, but are your shoes just for looks, or can they be used to walk greater distances if needed? If you can dress more informally, are the clothes you’re wearing the ones you’d choose if you had to make your way through rubble, or wear them an entire week or more? You can find clothes that look good, are fashionable and yet allow you to perform such a task better than most other alternatives.
Do you use shades? Are they just sunglasses or do they provide eye protection as well? What about the shoes you wear? What about your shoes? Safety working shoes are usually less expensive that the latest trendy ones, and the more expensive models of the working shoe line usually look nice too.
What do you have in your pockets, your keychain? Do you carry a gun, cell phone, enough spare cash for emergencies in case ATMs aren’t working or go empty. Do you have the basics you should never leave home without? Wallet, cell phone, gun, knife, flashlight and lighter?
Even better, do you have a bag that you carry with you on daily basis with the minimum EDC gear that allows you to move comfortably yet have certain tools and supplies with you in case you need them? A bottle of water and some snack, a few other items as well.

4)The 4th circle expands some more and now includes the gear you keep in your car, your office or some other cache. This falls into the “I’ll get to it IF I’m luck” but its always a good idea to have this gear, specially in the car that usually stays pretty close to you. Here you may keep extra food, water and spare set of clothes per family member, maybe a better weapon and more ammo and a bigger emergency kit.

5)The 5th circle reaches your house, the place where you live. This may not be available to you in a worse case scenario but you do spend a good amount of time there and there’s a good chance you may be able to get there unless forced out because of some reason such as fire, flood, town evacuation, etc.
Do you have your food, supplies and gear set? Is it organized so that you know where everything is, enough water, enough food?
There’s a know on your door, it’s the police telling you that you have to leave immediately, the wind is sending a spreading fire your way and you have just one minute to grab a jacket and leave. Consider yourself lucky that you at least had that warning. What do you carry? You grab the kids, the cat, your wallet… and? Do you have a bug out bag, an emergency kit for such a situation? Do you have a waterproof bag with the important documents, titles, accounts, birth certificates, your stash of cash, a few family photos, flash drive with important documents or some family video clips ?

Certain things will vary a bit given the personal lifestyle each of us has but these different groups work on every individual and will help you prioritize.
Thanks guys and take care.



Just_In_Case_The_SHTF said...

A "sixth circle" might be "get to know thy neighbors."

Some neighborhoods organize Neighborhood Watch programs so that if you are not home when one of your neighbors notices someone breaking into your home, he calls the police.

Other neighborhoods, probably the wealthier ones, might hire private patrols to drive around and watch for suspicious behavior.

Even apartment complexes sometimes hire private security guards to make its residents feel safe when there is a crime spree.

Some cities, such as where I live, have a formal neighborhood program to organize residents to help them prepare for a natural disaster.

In rural areas, which is where I grew up, residents often watch out for each other because the response time for emergency calls to the police is often hours rather than minutes. They also help each other in non-emergency situations (e.g., barn raisings and during harvest season when a farmer is sick).

The sixth circle, in other words, is another resource that can help when events get ugly.

Paraguay Insider said...

1) What you know is the most valuable.
Learning + practise = knowing

2) Our body is our first and last line of defense. It is quite a powerful tool, as proven for centuries by the shao-lin monks.

10 push ups, 3 pull ups and 1km running without stroke and under 4:30 is a goal most people can reach - even in their 50s or 60s. You just have to try.

3) If FerFal manages to care all this "minimum" stuff with him 24/7/30 I gladly bow to him.

I certainly cant. As a matter of fact is you run around with sandals, short pants and a T-shirt it would be very "disturbing" to have a gun on the body. Unless you want to look like a "ghetto gangsta".
Same is true for the lighter. A knife will fit even in this dress. So will perhaps a handy key chain.

Sometimes "yes"...every day "I doubt it"

4) In the car there is room. WATER, a gun, some amno, some food, a light source, a fire source, an emergency phone, a police whistle ..all that fits in there.

I do personaly expect to have access to these resources 9/10 times SHTF. Even in an earthquake you got SOME time and if 1) is set you gotta use it.

5) "My home is my castle" - nuf said :)

I do personaly expect to have access to these resources in 7/10 times SHTF. Even if we had to evacuate ...it does not happen within 3 minutes like in that example. You often know several hours if not days ahead when something big is coming your way, right?

6) The outer circle
People you know. People you trust do some degree. People you can count on. 2/10 times these people will help you but hey - 20% is better than nothing...and the other 80% chances are YOU will help THEM because they will likely fail several points 1-5 no matter how well you instructed them :P

FerFAL said...

My bag goes with me wherever I go, even to the beach. Of course I carry it with me all the time. It's just a matter of getting used to it and just carrying what needs to be carried, the essentials.
There's many "EDC" bags with 10 pounds worth of stuff, they call it edc but dont carry it with them at all times so what's the point.
Stick to the basics, make the effort of carrying it for a month. After that its incorporated and yuo'll grab your bag when going out the door without thinking, just like women do with their purse. :-)
Manly enough here to make the comparison and not give a damn :^)


Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Ferfal.

Gallo @ Grab the Apple forum

Paraguay Insider said...


Anonymous said...


I want to remind that life is not a game. Right now, in the former Soviet republic continues antigovernments unrest. In the capital of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan haos. Look this, is not a game. This is reality. Of course, this happens in a faraway country. About that many people simply do not know. But it is happening now. People are dying ... Look at these links. This is not an artistic film. This is reality. The terrible reality. Have you checked your weapon? Do you have strong doors? On the windows have a grid? Do you have enough food and water?

Webcam in the capital of Kirghiz Republic, the area in front of Government House - http://webcam.saimanet.kg/
The riots in Bishkek

Pitt said...

Good post FerFal.

My 5.11 Push Pack goes with me everywhere. Pistol, spare mag, flashlight, multitool, knife, and now cellphone. I'm actually looking for a bigger bag now, because the Push Pack isn't quite capable of doing everything I need it to do.

My friends make fun of me for having a Batman Utility belt, but when something goes wrong they all turn to me for the tools to fix it.