Maybe you receive a fair bit of warning, like a weather report predicting a hurricane, or maybe a sudden tectonic shift creates an earthquake with both immediate and cascading, destructive effects. Either way, there is no reason to be caught off guard and without an emergency plan.
Given that even fairly basic emergency plans can be prepared relatively easily and cheaply, finding yourself surprised by a sudden catastrophe places yourself and loved ones at risk without a good justification. If you are still sitting on the fence, or more likely the couch, here are five reasons why you should have an emergency plan ready and waiting for the unforeseen.
5 Reasons Why is Important to Have a Family Emergency Plan
Speed – When a disaster strikes, time is the most valuable resource and one that you simply cannot get more of. That is why a proper emergency plan includes more than just the supplies you have collected. It includes a comprehensive approach that accounts for all stages of response. One of the most important is the very first stage.
Regardless the disaster, the first stage will involve organizing the party in a single location if possible. If the party members are separated, plans for reaching various rally points before meeting up can give a quick recovery to a chaotic circumstance. Unless the disaster calls for you to ride it out, like with a tornado or some other such disaster, those first moments can determine whether a disaster is manageable or filled with regret.
Efficiency – Considering response time is one the most vital elements for successfully reacting to a disaster, a well-developed kit will require a plan that provides each member of your party with a set of responsibilities so that they do not have to figure it out on the fly. Setting up a series of rally points or keeping a well-stocked and organized bug out bag on hand will only go so far if you have to figure out the steps after your party meets up on the spot.
Moreover, if everyone knows what they are supposed to do and has a specific set of tasks, your party as a whole can accomplish more in the limited amount of time before bugging out or hunkering down than one or two people could alone. Remember, children can contribute too–just make sure their tasks do not strain them physically as their endurance levels are likely not as developed as the adult party members
Reason vs Instinct – People are constantly saying that the best answer is usually your first thought. This may be true when you are in a safe and comfortable situation without the threat of injury or death, but when survival is on the line, people’s instincts usually do not serve them any better than a random guess.
However, if you take the time to develop a plan of action for when disaster strikes, you will be more likely to keep a cool head, reason through the risks, and determine an appropriate course of action. Remember, anyone in a profession that involves risk of bodily harm trains for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours to develop the kind of mindfulness necessary to make rational decisions in high-stress scenarios.
Supplies – Once a disaster strikes, what you have on hand is likely the only supplies you will be able to procure. In fact, even if you have some warning, there is a good chance that a run on supplies by unprepared people will likely clean out your local stores in record time, not to mention delay you further from escaping or hunkering down as the situation calls.
That is why you should make sure that you have a fully stocked and packed bug out bag for every member of your party–ready and waiting to go the second it is needed. Keep in mind, having your supplies packed in an easily reachable place is just as important as having the supplies in the first place.
Self-Reliance – Despite what you may see on news reports during a disaster, most assistance that people receive occurs well after the disaster has already passed. As heartening as it is to witness neighbors from the surrounding region pitch in to help out those caught in an unfortunate event, they generally only do so once their own safety can be secured.
As sad as it may seem, you cannot rely on government institutions or other authorities to come to your aid when disaster strikes. Chances are, they are already overwhelmed with calls for similar relief. Moreover, charities and NGOs generally begin their relief after the danger has passed as well.
Things to Consider When Making an Emergency Plan
As alluded to earlier, a solid emergency plan includes far more than simply a bug out bag with all of the supplies necessary for a few days. The plan should account for all the steps each party member will need to take before, during, and after the immediate danger has passed. This can be broken up into three sections.
Pre Planning – This is arguably the most important part of an emergency plan. This is the point when you figure out where the party will meet up depending on their dispersion. Moreover, the different members should understand their assigned tasks as well as the routes and location should you need to leave the area.
In the Mix – Once it comes time to put your plan into action, you will need the members of your party to respond without hesitation. That is why it is important that your party actually runs through the plan before a disaster strikes, ideally to the point that it becomes muscle memory, so that no time is wasted when rubber meets the road.
Survival – Depending on the disaster, you may well be without many of the modern amenities so many people have come to rely upon for their daily survival. That is why you need to know how to survive in the wild for extended periods of time. Various survival skills like building a shelter, starting a fire, and securing food and water are vital.
You can find an easy to read checklist packed with tips and necessities for a proper emergency plan at Survivor’s Fortress.
Just remember, your actual plan is every bit as important, if not more so, than your bug out supplies. While planning may not provide that immediate rush of accomplishment or sense of satisfaction that a well-prepared bug out bag can, supplies without a plan can only take you so far.
Keep in mind, your plan needs to account for all stages of disaster response. If you are bugging in, your plan may not involve as many steps, but each step is just as vital to ensuring your survival. Moreover, every party member needs to know the different roles and tasks to be accomplished.
With a thoughtful plan that considers numerous types of disasters, includes a variety of redundancies, and maintains the ability to improvise if necessary, you and your party should feel confident in its ability to handle whatever the world throws at it.