There are so many variables when we consider the possible disasters, emergencies, accidents, etcetera that we could face both on a day to day basis and long term. To ensure we’re on the same page, let’s agree on some definitions.

Three Levels of Emergencies.

I’m going to define three types of survival situations/emergencies and will use these definitions throughout the book. They are also the order of what is most likely to happen. Our immediate goal is be prepared for a mild emergency. As we go through we can just focus on mild initially, and then come back to the higher levels; when we’re done procrastinating.

Mild: We experience some discomfort from our normal routine for no more than 48 hours, but it is not life threatening. Example: Our power goes off for a day or two.

Moderate: We experience a large change from our normal routine, either natural or man-made, which is not immediately life threatening but has the potential to become so if not dealt with, and/or it continues. Example: Our power goes off for five days or more. Our car slides off the road in a remote area and you are trapped inside. A powerful hurricane is approaching. A large earthquake strikes.

Extreme: A catastrophic natural or man-made event that immediately threatens our life and the lives of all around us, and if it continues, will be a constant threat. Example: A tsunami hits our coastal town. A tornado destroys our home. Nuclear, biological and chemical accident or warfare or terrorist attack. A powerful earthquake. The collapse of civilization. A pandemic with a high transmission and kill rate, aka zombies. Assume the worst until the situation stabilizes.

Length of emergency depends on how widespread it is, how severe, and how long it takes society to recover, if at all. There are too many variables to make any definitive parameters.

Some extreme emergencies could be very short in duration. For example a severe car crash. A mild emergency that continues, might have a severe, long-term effect, such as a drought that doesn’t abate. There could be a slow economic failure that will take years. A mild emergency for one person could be extreme for someone else—for example a hornet sting is painful and irritating for one person but life-threatening for someone who has an adverse reaction. That is why the Area Study which we’ll do is so important.

As you will see in the Area Study, I make a split and give a Mild Level of preparation and then a Moderate/Extreme (Mod/Ex) level. Initially, focus on being prepared for Mild. Then move to Mod/Ex in the priority determined by your Area Study. Mod/Ex is when you are moving from common emergencies that we all endure (such as a power outage) to something where you will probably have to evacuate your home for an indeterminate period of time. The former will certainly happen; the latter is one that is only a possibility we hope never occurs to us.

AREA OF OPERATIONS refers to the area around you. This includes your home, work, and school. It expands or contracts depending on the circumstances.

A-TEAM refers to the people you will be with during an emergency/disaster. For many of us that naturally means our family. For others, it could be a group of people we’ve coordinated with beforehand (more on that shortly). In an emergency it could also be the people we’re trapped with. I use this term instead of constantly referring to family/team.

IRP stands for Immediate Rally Point. This is a point outside of your home where your family can gather if they have to evacuate the house for some reason. The most likely reason for this would be if there was a fire. It needs to be a place that’s easily identifiable and not far from the house and everyone can find in the dark.

It’s also the place where your A-Team will rendezvous if they can’t go into the house for whatever reason, but need to assemble from other locations, such as school and/or work.

A street intersection near the home works well. Or a neighbor’s home.

ERP stands for Emergency Rally Point. It is where everyone will assemble if they can’t get to the IRP or home. This is also where your A-Team will rendezvous if they have to evacuate the home/work/school during a moderate or extreme emergency and have to stay for at least a day or more, with the possibility of not returning to the home.

BOHS stands for Bug Out Hide Site and is only for extreme emergencies where you’ve left your home and don’t plan on coming back. It refers to being on the move and also wherever you may stop, either temporarily or permanently, depending on the extent of the emergency and threats.

GnG stands for Grab-n-Go bag.

The Procrastinator’s Survival Guide