The title to this post is the working title of a book in progress. It was started many years ago, and sadly got put aside for longer than it should have been. Yet, some of that time has been to the good as I’ve been through FEMA and other courses and earned my Basic Military Emergency Management System badge during my time in the Indiana Guard Reserve (state guard). That, and a lot more practical experience, should allow it to be an even better book.
This post is the start of a series of posts on preparedness that I hope will share good information for you, as well as invite feedback and otherwise allow me to refine elements of the book. Just as courses and experience have refined and changed the original outline of the book, feedback and even discussions here or on social media will allow me to improve sections and ideas and ensure that the key points are as well presented as possible.
The original outline was based in part on an article I wrote for a major publication (the first and last time I ever signed an all-rights contract, and a lesson on reading the contract very carefully and fully). In that article, I pointed out that there were indeed an almost infinite number of disasters that can occur. Many individuals and companies use that as an excuse not to comprehensively plan for disasters and other emergencies including economic and other problems.
In the article, I pointed out the cost/benefit analysis needed for such planning, and that one did NOT try to plan for the infinite number of disasters, but rather the five types of damage that could occur from any given disaster. Preparing for five types of damage is much easier, and less expensive.
Since that time, I’ve refined that down even further. Technically, there are only three things that can be impacted by any disaster, from a hurricane to an economic depression: People, Infrastructure, and Resources. Each of these further breaks down into three main areas.
People involved in a disaster face financial, physical, and resource impacts. Financial can be anything from loss of investments to loss of income, or even in extreme cases having currency devalued or worthless. Physical means some degree of damage to the body. Resources means a loss of non-financial resources, such as food, water, electricity, etc.
Infrastructure damage breaks down into structures, equipment, and logistics. A couple of these have some overlap, as having a flood or other disaster taking out a highway could be viewed as both structural and logistics. For now, I’m putting it as a logistical problem, but good arguments can be made for either keeping it both or putting it in structures. Currently, I’m treating structures primarily as buildings and related, though bridges and other structures could go either way. Equipment is just that, the machines that we use every day from computers to manufacturing equipment. Logistics is the warehousing, transportation, and distribution of the products we use every day. I will note here that maintenance of structures, equipment, and the means of logistics must be a part of planning.
Resources is broken down into consumables, energy, and financial. Consumables are the products we need and use every day, from food to cleaning products. Water is in the consumable category for now. Energy is not just the electricity that powers our life, but also gasoline and other products that allow us to live, work, and be mobile. Financial is the ability to buy, barter, save, and even property value.
To close for today, consider that planning for Infrastructure and Resources reduces the chance of damage to People in every area. Investment there can and will pay dividends in the event of any emergency.
Tomorrow I want to go into why preparedness should be a lifestyle, rather than a thing one does only when disaster looms.
The Rest Of The Series In Order: