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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crisis Thinking: Critical Perceptions

 

[ Warning: Graphic Content ]

japan-tsunami-1

NOTICE: All pictures are used under presumptive use, and downloaded from their respective internet sites and/or forums for non-commercial use. Copyrights retained by the original submitter / owner.

 

SYNOPSIS:

The world has just ended for the people in your neighborhood. Everything around you has collapsed,,,, and modern utilities are a thing of the past.

Early that morning a massive under-sea earthquake comes to life without any warning. The shock waves create a tsunami wave approaching heights of 2000 feet--travelling at an astounding speed of 600 MPH. It's bigger than the Empire State Building.

The Warning Alerts were transmitted at 10:45am while you are at work. The first thing that you thought of, was to call your wife on the cell-phone. The line is busy--you cannot get through.

You don't hesitate, and quickly jump into your car heading for home, and planning on stopping at the school to pick up your two children. It only takes you three minutes to realize that everybody else in the city is doing exactly the same thing, and the roads are already gridlocked--traffic is at a standstill.

Panicked you try the cell-phone again for the thousand time, but it's still busy. You cannot reach your wife. It's then that you notice the fuel gauge is hovering near a quarter of a tank. You were running late for work this morning, and intending to top-off the gas tank after work.

The skies are filled with many helicopters as the elites and rich flee the city into the high mountains. You wished that you could commandeer one of those birds, and bring your family to safety. But you are stuck in standstill traffic.

Ten minutes later you abandon the car and start running towards the head of the line--hoping to convince somebody to help you get home. In your mind you are formulating a sneaky plan to steal a car from whoever is still mobile. There's nothing in the world that will stop you from getting to your kids and home--even if you have to hurt somebody in the process.

FAST FORWARD:

It's been 48-hours since the massive tsunami wave swept through the area. Every building that you knew, has now been knocked down and carried away by the wave. Blotted dead bodies float with the rippling currents. You watch in amazement as your own car floats by, bobbing against a mini-van full of small children--all of whom are drowned. The sight brings instant fear to your mind, as you try to imagine what has become of your own kids. Quickly you push that thought way back into the furthest recesses of your mind. It's not something that you can deal with right now; you have only one single purpose; to get home and take care of your family, and get them all into a safe area.

But first--you have to, somehow, get off this concrete parking garage that has saved you from the tsunami wave. Looking down eight stores into the swirling black waters, you understand the force that nature sent against you, and realize that like the other thirty people sharing the roof with you, there's not one single thing that you can do for yourself, much less your own family. You are stuck here until the waters recede, or the government can rescue you from the only standing structure in the area. For a moment you consider jumping into the water and swimming from building to building until you reach dry ground...

ONE WEEK LATER:

You try to eat the MRE that the soldier has handed you, but the appetite just isn't there. The noise inside the church is almost deafening, as other survivors are informed of the loss of their loved-ones. It's a scene that has been played-out many times over the past week. Nobody has told you anything, you're in the dark, but deep down inside of you, the thought that your entire family has perished is something that you have to force out of your thought patterns.

Reports of wide spread destruction flood in; entire communities and towns have been obliterated--wiped off the map. The people in the affected areas no longer exist--among them your parents, and most of your family have went missing. Your mind replays the events about the last time that you spoke with your mother, the firm handshake of your father as he walked you and the family to the car. Your brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and close friends are all gone. Some might have survived, but you don't know that for sure.

Millions of people have been drowned or crushed. FEMA and the Red Cross are the only thing keeping you alive. Help has flooded-in from the mid-western areas, but it doesn't belay the fact that most of your immediate family is dead--and deep down you fear that you family will be among those listed as dead.

****

Think this is fantasy? Look at the pictures below to be reminded of the events during the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunamis that struck Japan.

1 (1) 1 (2) 1 (3)

 1 (5) 1 (8)

1 (9)

If you think, for one minute that this couldn't happen in the USA; then look at the picture below and see for yourself exactly where the tectonic plates bump-up against Americas coastline.

 

2 (1)

Even those people living thousands of miles away from these plates, or the coast, will feel the results of an event such as this. The tsunami might not reach very far inland, but the long-term ramifications are almost as severe.

  • Ground transportation comes to a screeching halt.
  • Domestic oil production wiped out.
  • Massive ecological disaster due to oil and chemical spills.
  • Ground water contamination.
  • Fuel prices immediately skyrocket.
  • Fresh vegetable production disrupted, or stopped altogether.
  • Meat animal production stopped or disrupted.
  • Maritime transportation systems destroyed.
  • Fishing industry wiped out.
  • Consumer Commodities see immediate price spike.
  • Global stock indexes plunge to record lows.
  • Unemployment skyrockets.
  • Martial Law declared within disaster zones.
  • Wireless Telephone & Internet Services affected.
  • Dams and Reservoirs destroyed or affected.
  • Rivers and streams expand flooding further inland.
  • Stench of death in affected areas.
  • Massive numbers of people perish during the event.

Then again; you might have friends or family living in the affected areas…

 

 

Survival Keys:

  • Establish and practice a Family Communications Plan.
  • Know every route in and out of your area, like the back of your hand.
  • Keep and maintain a “Ready Bag” in the family cars.
  • Don’t stockpile all of your emergency food at home—spread it out.
  • Keep batteries fully charged (and in the cars) for Hand-Held radios, and teach every family member how to use it.
  • Provide you school-age children with a small “Go Bag” to be stored in the school lockers.
  • Know before-hand who will get the kids from school—maintain radio communications with the spouse.
  • Understand that it might be necessary to save your own life FIRST, before you can help anyone else.
  • Don’t rely upon cell-phones during an emergency—they will FAIL YOU when you need it the most.
  • Don’t count on getting Advance Warning from the Emergency Broadcast System—it has failed before!

Even if you are the sole surviving member of your entire family, it must be stressed that during events such as this; your inner-strength will be severely tested. There is now way for anybody on this planet to know what they will do, or be able to do, when faced with the loss of family members.

But it certainly helps to have a plan, and that leads to attaining the right survival mindset. I promise that if you practice these things enough times; during an emergency, your body's instinct will guide you through the steps that will be required.

You may not always make the right choices, but in the finality of things, your decisions will be based on the survival plans that you have established and practiced. Your ass will follow your mind when the time comes…

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Follow Up: Survival Planning Before You Die!

5pointsofsurvival

In a previous article that I wrote yesterday titled “Startling Facts About Survivalists: You Are Going To Die!” I outlined what I personally believe to be some serious misconceptions about the current survival trends.

Many of the readers that have found the article interesting, asked how it was possible to overcome these issues, and proceed forward utilizing a reality based survival plan.

 

In another book that I had planned to publish early in 2012; I outline what I believe to be the nexus of survival planning. That doesn’t mean that I am the ultimate authority, or that my plans will work for everyone; but it does mean that these plans will work for me personally, and consequently those people within the rank and file of The Alaska Watchmen Group that have come to rely upon my judgment, and critical thinking in these area.

When I “engage the brain” in these areas, I first set to pen and paper every conceivable threat that I and the group will face. Even the most ludicrous things are written down, at least for the moment.

Each threat is then dissected into it’s inherent sub-threat which may pose a danger or risk.

 

EXAMPLE:

PRIMARY EFFECT SECONDARY EFFECT RISK ANALYSIS THREAT OCCURRENCE MITIGATION  
Volcanic Eruption  

   

  Pyroclastic Flow Danger Radius Widespread Fires Distance  
  Immediate Blast Effect Blast Radius Buildings Toppled

Distance

 
  Ash Cloud Dispersion Time To Arrival Air Quality Affected Air Filters  
  Earthquake Swarm Risk Mitigation Effects SEE EARTHQUAKE EFFECT EAP Protocols  
  Increased Tsunami Event Risk Mitigation Effects SEE TSUNAMI EFFECT EAP Protocols  

EAP is defined as Emergency Action Plans. These plans are designed to mitigate risk or exposure regarding one particular effect. It details the immediate and long-term strategic or tactical plans developed for a certain event. How myself, or the group will respond to that event alone.

Some of these events included the following scenarios:

  • Volcanic Eruption
  • Tsunami
  • Earthquake
  • Civil Unrest
  • Economic Collapse
  • Supply Chain Disruption
  • Power Grid Failure
  • Communications Failure
  • Terrorist Attack
  • War Declaration
  • Martial Law Declaration
  • Medical Pandemic
  • Radiological Event
  • Biological Event
  • Chemical Event
  • Meteor Strike
  • Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)

Each of the above events results in focusing upon reducing our risk to the event, countering the inherent immediate and long term threats, and developing strategies in dealing with the event with little or no advance warning. As part of the overall strategy; there are four main areas that are taken into consideration when developing the survival plan:

  1. Planning
  2. Execution
  3. Survivability
  4. Sustainability

Planning Phase:

Planning is defined as determining what the threat is, how it could affect us, and what the event probability is. After having noted all of the sub-effects that we could encounter, each facet of the threat is analyzed for a predicated response on our part. In this area we expand the critical think a little further:

  • Historically, in similar such events; has there been advance warning capability that allowed for a timely dissemination of emergency alerts?
  • How many times in history has this event occurred?
  • What is the probability that this event will occur in the near future?
  • What was the single most factor evident that created this event?
  • What was the single most factor evident which helped to offset the risk or damage during the event?
  • If this event were to occur today, how would we alert the members of its probability, or occurrence?
  • Would the members have adequate means to transition into a full-blown evacuation to the Rally Point?
  • What factors would contribute to the delay of our evacuation to the Rally Point?
  • Are there alternate routes available that would not delay our evacuation to the Rally Point?
  • What are the likely risk associated with evacuating to the Rally Point?
  • How do we individually, and collectively overcome these risk while moving to the Rally Point.
  • Is it possible to Shelter In Place during this event, and under what circumstances is this possible?
  • How will ill, or elderly members be evacuated from the affected areas, and who is responsible for their evacuation?

 

Execution Phase:

Execution comes about after all of these question, and other question involving the threats, have been analysis in much detail. During the execution phase, the group is trained to respond, thus executing the plan in its entirety:

  • Notification / Alert Phase; Tactical Alert Call Tree System (TACTS) Initiated.
  • Wide Area Communications Network Implemented.
  • Advance Elements move towards critical over-watch areas.
  • Security Group moves toward Rally Point to secure it, and await arrival of group members.
  • Team Leaders insure that group members are moving towards the Rally Point. Communicates with Command Group.
  • Over-Watch elements communicate route delays, obstructions, and other critical information as team members move through their respective positions. Communicates continuous updates with Command Group.
  • Over-Watch position moves to Rally Point when all members have moved through the check-point / over-watch area.
  • Command Group and Members conduct roll-call, determine missing member’s status; and weigh the risk involved in sending a rescue team to extract/evacuate missing members.
  • Entire Group maintains defensive perimeter to secure Rally Point.

 

Phase Two Of Execution:

  • Scout deployed forward of team prior to departure from Rally Point.
  • Stay-Behind Guard maintains perimeter after group departs the Rally Point, then deploys as Rear Guard during movement to Safe Area.
  • Movement/Departure from Rally Point to Safe Area initiated.
  • security Protocols established and executed while in route to Safe Area.
  • Command Group receives continuous updates from scouts and rear guard, as well as Shelter-In-Place elements within the affected areas.
  • Advance group arrives at Safe Area’ conducts reconnaissance, and communicates same with Command Group; then secures the Safe Area for our arrival.

Survivability Phase:

Each person within the group has several duties. They are expected to perform their primary duty such as Medic, Construction, Cooks, etc.; and then also serve as rotating guard throughout the deployment at the Safe Area. They may also be called upon to conduct security patrols within the areas around the Safe Area; or execute foraging or reconnaissance operations when necessary.

Sustainability Phase:

Once the crisis or event has progressed to more reasonable levels of accepted risk; then all efforts are turned towards Long Term sustainment of the group and its members. This could included establishing alternative power, sanitation, water filtration, communications, and other factors necessary for the continuity of the group.

Primitive survival skills, agricultural skills, and other skills and duties that provide for the groups ability to sustain ourselves are then implemented.

 

SURVIVAL_STAR

The Survival Star is a easy tool that almost anyone can use in order to make their own survival plans. Each point of the star represent a critical area that cannot be discounted or overcome. All six points of the star work together in order to insure that the plan works.

Consider each point of the star, and what it means to your own survival plan, as well as the execution of the plan.

The Survival Star can be used for both the Evacuation (Bug Out) Phase, or upon arrival at the Safe Area when some of the risk has diminished to acceptable levels.

 

I will not give away our operational plans and strategies, but what you are seeing is a condensed version of “one of many” of our tactical plans. These plans have been rehearsed over and over until it becomes an automatic and conditioned response.

I formulated these plans, worked out the details, and then approach the group with these plans. Each detail was discussed and argued, until we ALL reached the consensus that we were comfortable with our plans. It’s not based on what I want, or what I demand—it’s based on the simple premise that everyone within our group has a part to play in these plans, and thus; a say in how they go down when SHTF. Anything less would be tyrannical and dictatorial—and that just doesn’t work for me…