Pivoting off our last post in the series, let’s talk today about assessing your required capabilities. Jim Rawles, who puts the style in the preparedness lifestyle, has had many articles that touch on specific capabilities assessments, such as this one and this one. What we’ll be talking about today is the general theory and practice of how to assess a given situation and determine, based on conditions, what your required capabilities are.
First things first, identify your particular situation. For example, a person living in a rural area will have vastly different needs that someone living in an urban environment, while a suburban person will have different needs than either a rural farmer or an urbanite. I highly recommend including climate, terrain, population density, demographics (population age distribution, etc), unemployment statistics, local fabrication capabilities, water and sewer infrastructure, transportation infrastructure and other pertinent data.
Now that you know what your local physical and human terrain looks like, assess the most likely threats and scenarios that could impact you and your area. There are two broad categories, natural (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes) and human (riots, civil unrest, infrastructure collapse) and that affect and interact with each other. A localized “grid down” scenario driven by a hurricane can influence secondary, human driven scenarios. For each scenario,I recommend analyzing it by comparing “Probability of Occurrence vs Impact if Risk is Incurred”. Please see the following graphic for an example of how to do this:
For a particular potential event, determine the probability of occurrence, for example, if you live on the east coast, a hurricane is a “likely” event. Next determine the impact. If the event occurs, how bad will things get?
Once you’ve determined your risk for a potential event and its attendant impact, now you know what to prepare for. If your X for a Hurricane lands in a red or orange zone, that is the event you need to plan and prepare for first. The scenarios that are in yellow deserve attention once the most critical occurrences have been addressed.
Now that you know the probability and occurrence of your particular situation, the “how to prepare” should be framed in terms of “capabilities” and not “widgets” or “gear”. We will address this next step in Part II.