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Be realistic in your preparations

Sometimes it seems the world is out to get you. You are careful, you plan ahead, you have contingency plans for everything that you can cover and you have enough money to make sure that you implement the best plans. You live in one of your retreats and you and your family are living comfortably. Then you get a call your daughter has had their car stolen on the outskirts of nowhere so you go to pick them up. Now 200 miles away it is then that a dirty bomb goes off in the UK. Martial law is declared, mobile phones are turned off, the financial system is shutdown, roads closed and you cannot get home. A few days later you and your daughter are eaten by hungry natives.

I’ve defined, implemented and tested DR plans for several firms. I’ve made sure they all work fine and to the firms defined criteria. I’ve gone beyond my remit and encouraged them to look beyond IT and basic contingency plans and include wider issues but ensure that the powers that be are aware that you cannot cover everything. I usually just cover the IT side and businesses seem quite happy to meet their legal obligations and just have the computer systems and communications up and running when in reality it won’t be used because the people who actually make the business run won’t be turning up for work. I get a tick in the box as I’ve done my bit, the board are pleased they have done what they can but the business is not running but that doesn’t matter as it is not their fault. There is only so much you can do. One major area of difference is they only cover a limited range of what we look at, for example, most don’t consider what happens if someone nukes the city they are in. The business doesn’t need to recover from that. The usual worst case is someone, accidentally, crashes a plane on the site. How can they get up and running again? Terrorism expanded that for most big firms after 911 but was already on the agenda for many firms long before that. I was looking at contingency for terrorism back in the 1980s. Big firms could be targeted at multiple sites. How could they minimise the damage from that. Again, if the IT and comms are up and running it was a success but what about the people? Many firms spend significant amounts of time and money on contingency planning for their people resources as well. You can spread the knowledge and reduce the risk but the bottom line is you can only do so much. The terrorists may target all your key staff members as well as your site. Government thinking is to reduce all risk to zero. It is unaffordable and, although they won’t accept it, unachievable as well. Plus it means that we all need to be wrapped in government cotton wool and not do anything unapproved. Who wants to live like that?

No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy

So, as in business, we in our survival planning have to accept that we cannot cover every eventuality. Usually, with most plans we follow the Pareto principle, usually known as the 80:20 rule, which states ‘many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes’. For us this means that we can cover 80% of our scenarios with 20% of the effort. However, this is not acceptable for us. Obviously, we could concentrate our resources on covering the 80% of our risks with minimal effort but we must go beyond that and prioritise the higher risks and continue until we are as close to 100% as we can afford to go. 80% is not our end point but simply a marker along the way. We want to get to as close as 100% as we can before the music stops. Being close but not 100% will still leave several gap but ones we have chosen to accept as lower priority or ones we have no choice but to accept. An example something we have no choice about is an asteroid the size of the moon crashing into the earth. As we are stuck on this planet where can we bunker down?

Now you have covered everything you can think of that you can. Even then pure dumb bad luck can make it all for naught and most are what we call cascade failures. It is where one thing goes wrong, which you could easily deal with but another comes along and finishes you off. For example; you get attacked by a feral youth whilst out shopping. Plod takes you down the station because you said naughty words to him. While there the world falls apart. Your car gets hijacked and they get away with your credit cards and phone while you are out and about in another town. In the meantime the world falls apart. The fire alarm goes off in the garage. You trip over the dog on the stairs rushing to deal with it. It is impossible to cover every eventuality.

If you can’t cover every eventuality then what is the point? It makes you want to ask why I should invest all this time and money if I cannot be sure of survival. Well, nothing is sure. People have had children they are not sure will survive for the last few thousand years. It is nature that makes us want to go on, live, procreate, spread our genes about. Then there are survivalists and we will do what we can to survive and keep our species near the top of the food chain. Even survivalists won’t all make it for a million reasons we know and many we don’t but enough of us will to keep the human race going. If you don’t plan and invest then it is very unlikely it will be you that makes it. I also plan out for my family as well. If I don’t survive myself then at least they will have a chance. It may be reduced because they don’t quite see the world collapsing but at least they will have the resources I have which will give them the chance to live and correct that.

While we prepare we also have to live. After all that is the point. We treat preparing as an insurance policy which we do not want to collect on but we want to prioritise our survival. So there is no point in spending all your time and effort preparing and not living, we need to do both. It is a balance that we need to get right on an individual basis and we will all do it different ways. We will also be at different stages in our insurance policy, if, the music stops. That is what this site is for. To help you get advice on planning so you are as far along as you can be if there is a disaster and to connect you up with others who may be able to help. I get the view that many think it will be an easy ride and that they can just bunker down and live happily ever after shooting intruders who didn’t prepare while whittling a fishing rod, planting seeds, shooting deer and fishing for food. That is just fantasy. I’m not looking forward to it as it will be the nearest thing to hell on Earth for most of us.

We should at all time be realistic in our preparations. We can prioritise and put items aside, get training but it may all be for naught. It may never happen or you may not survive anyway. Accept that. Plan what you are willing to do and prepare to that plan. Personally, I’m now more than ever convinced it will be a small community that recovers best from any significant disaster. Individuals will survive but growth and progress will be stunted and any other small problems that occur may be disastrous. A community will survive small problems, handle adversity and prosper because of sheer manpower, dilution of skills and the amount of experience available. Obviously, there are communities out there already but none as far as I know in the UK. Plus, I don’t think I want to join a small community while my work is IT related and requires a lot of travel and I will have community commitments. What I would be interested in is building up a network of like minded people who may be the basis for a community after a collapse. Details to be clarified as necessary. Anyone interested?

2 comments to Be realistic in your preparations

  • Skvez

    Skean, I don’t want to criticise your idea to for a community, single individuals or families may manage for a while after TEOTWAWKI but realistically eventually they are going to encounter a problem they can’t overcome. This may be something as simple as a twisted ankle resulting in being unable to feed the animals for a few days and them starving. Even if your family does survive ‘long term’ on your own where are you going to find husbands and wives for your children?

    The problem with forming a community is that OPSEC requires me not to tell you who I am, or where I am. I’m sure the UK Gov considers us all mildly subversive since we discuss a life without a government telling is what to think and do.
    It would not surprise me if some of my hard earned taxes are spent on someone monitoring this site to see if any of us suggest anything that the gov can arrest us for.

    Trying to travel and come together after TEOTWAWKI is going to be a very difficult thing to pull off. Ideally there would need to be some pre-arranged and pre-prepared location for us to travel to. But whomever owns this location isn’t going to want to make it a rest home for anyone who came across your site once.

    I guess in short I’m interested but overwhelmed by the obstacles I see.

  • Skean Dhude

    No criticism taken. Its talk and that is what we want.

    First of all I’m talking of my family as a minimum. I want them to make it also. In fact if it was me or them I would make sure they were OK. So when I say individual, I’m talking a loner or a family. I agree about the broken ankle, that is what I mean by small problems that occur may be disastrous.

    OK. In my view a small community is a village, at most, sized group of people with families.

    OPSEC does not mean you cannot tell anyone about your location, stores or anything. It means you keep the number of people who know it to a minimum. For example, you don’t tell the postman you have a gun in your house but plod knows. Tell only those you have to or, to be legal, who you need to.

    The UK gov considers us terrorists. Don’t forget that for a minute. They will record if you have firearms, if you have a car and store more fuel than a approved. The list is endless and owning a book on how to make firearms is enough to send you to jail. Every email you send it monitored, every site you visit is recorded and every post and comment we make is read for key words. Why do you think I write some things the way I do and won’t be posting some items. They are not on your side and never have been.

    I’m not talking about putting my postal address on this site. I’m talking about arranging things with individuals such as; at 19:00 every day I will be on CB channel 69 for 20 minutes. Arranging travel and contact when it is safe, remember, it doesn’t even have to be your current location. Just somewhere where nobody will be and you can set up camp. Come to this location when you can. Wear a red rose or a bullet proof vest.

    Let’s raise the obstacles and then solve them if we as individuals want to. Location will be the main issue I think. Plus, lots of Alpha males does not bode well.

    Oh and I have been paranoid for years. I suspect worse than you. Raising my head above the parapet like this shows how bad I think our society is.

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