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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Preps: Evacuation Plan, Part 3

This is a part of a series of  "drill downs" for the Disaster Impacts you can encounter if an emergency occurs.  Click here to update yourself on the entire list of twelve, and our philosophy on Emergency Preparedness.  All of these drill-downs will be categorized under the 12 Impacts label listing.

Click here to see Part 1 of this post.

Click here to see Part 2 of this post. 

In yesterday's post, we talked about determining your modes of Evacuation Transportation, your Evacuation Destinations and Mapping Evacuation Routes.  Today we'll wrap up this series of posts with Voluntary Activation of your Evacuation Plan.

You've built your BOB.  You've made and verified your Evacuation Checklist.  Your feet, plane, train or automobile are primed for the journey.  You have multiple Evacuation sites and tons of maps to get you there.

Great.  How do you know when the balloon's gone up, the flag's been raised, or the warning flare has been fired?  How do you know when to "pull the trigger," so to speak?

When do you leave? The short answer is, "As early as possible - when it makes sense."

In late March, we did a post on setting up information flows and filters to alert you to trends which might have an impact on your life ("Tripwires").  From the epilogue of the post -
Being able to anticipate trends and changes is a great skill to develop.  It takes time and knowledge to do it right.

I can't stress enough how important the quality of the data you are using for your analysis can be.  You should have multiple sources for every piece of information.

"Trust your gut" regarding the validity of the data.  Does it make sense?

Try and rely on your own analysis of the raw data.  Professional analysts and forecasters usually will have some sort of an agenda.  "The world is ending, so buy gold...from my company,"  for instance.

Use technology whenever possible to enhance your data gathering.  We've written about Google Alerts in the past - they are free to set up, and can provide you with a wide variety of information.
A commenter noted that they think of it in terms of a thermometer.  As the temperature rises, certain events take place.  I like that analogy a lot.

Using whatever tools you are most comfortable with, you need to establish some sort of warning mechanism.   As I noted in the Tripwires post, I really like Google Alerts.  They go out and search the entire Internet for you - looking for strings of information on whatever topics you choose.

Read and analyze that information regularly.  When a certain threshold has been met, you must act.  This would not be the time to second-guess yourself.  This tripwire or temperature level was determined while you were cool, calm and collected.

So, knowledge of what types of events might lead you to enact your evacuation plan before an emergency actually occurred?

Some things to watch might be:
  • a significant weather event (hurricane, tornado, snow- or ice-storm), 
  • a significant natural event (a tsunami or volcanic eruption), 
  • localized civil unrest (a big politically-charged jury verdict turned riot or a large, potentially violent demonstration about government handouts subsidies being curtailed),
  • distant unrest that could spread to your area (as happened with the Rodney King riots, which spread from LA to 12 other cities nationwide),
  • food, gasoline or other daily necessity shortages which appear to be getting progressively worse
  • the sudden, poorly reasoned or justified posting of armed, government officials in abnormal locations such as malls, public schools... oops, banks, churches, airport waiting areas... oops or city parks,
  • the enactment of laws which restrict your Constitutional rights (in the name of public safety), freedom of travel or access to your own money.
Each of these items are very different, but they all may indicate a reason for you to leave.  Your level of comfort and your ability to evacuate with sufficient supplies will drive your decision to act.

For instance, let's say there was increasing talk amongst our government officials about commandeering your retirement funds, as Argentina did in 2008.  It might be prudent to establish plans for what you would do if this talk started moving towards action.

You might halt contributions if a congressional hearing were held on the subject.  You might transfer your funds (and pay the hefty early-withdrawal penalties if you're too young) to a non-retirement account if a Retirement Nationalization bill were proposed in congress.  If "the heat were turned up" and sanctions were proposed for people that acted as you did, you might cash-out all of your accounts, buy "beans, bullets and band-aids" and head for the hills!

Also, remember to include Executive Orders (on the federal and state levels) into your analysis.  They may require you to "leap frog" interim steps and move forward with your plans more rapidly than originally anticipated.

The point of this is, you sat down, you established triggers and you acted.  It's important that you put a great deal of thought into your triggers and actions so your likelihood of success is maximized.  "Tweak" your assumptions and review your plans on a regular basis as new sources of input become available.  But don't become a victim of "Analysis Paralysis" - reviewing the subject to such depths of detail that you miss the bigger picture, and fail to act when you are able.

Accept The Challenge

The likelihood of needing to voluntarily enact your evacuation plan because of sudden social or economic changes is (IMO) remote. Still, these types of changes can be the classic, "Low Probability, High Impact" events.  They are crushing if they occur.

You risk nothing by establishing these triggers.  If you have taken sufficient time to analyze the impact of your actions at each step in your process (the good AND the bad), you will have lost nothing other than uncertainty.

I think one of the most depressing things I can think of would be to be stuck in a long line of cars streaming from the city, when my triggers had told me to move out 1 day earlier, but I chose not to act.  The only thing more depressing would be if I were stuck, and no longer able to evacuate.

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Copyright 2010 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here is an idea on the risk of an IRA if the government decides to confiscate it or even a general fiscal collapse that destroys all our deposits. Lets say you have $40k in an IRA with your bank or credit union. Borrow $40k from the same bank/credit union and put it in a safe deposit box or bury it or buy gold or whatever. Just in case you think: "why not just pull your money out", the answer is a 10% penalty and income tax (state and federal) at your marginal rate. Your $40k might be worth $20k after taxes. SO if you borrow the money and the SHTF and your bank has no assets you still have your $40k and if the bank comes looking for the money you loaned them, well, technically they have it already. As a bonus if you are lucky enough to sense or know the S*** will HTF ahead of time then go to the bank and get your $40k and you have $80k to help you get by. ANd what the hell, if it really gets that bad who cares if you owe the bank $40k.