I know, now you’re thinking … I know WHY I should prepare. It’s blatantly obvious! But what I DON’T know is what on earth I’m preparing for! The answer to that question should also be pretty obvious. We’re preparing for the invasion of the Zombie Horde!
Yes, I have a soft spot for zombies and zombie movies and zombie action figures and and and…. In any case, my wife puts up with more than she should! I’ll try to restrain myself here as best I can.
In my mind, too many people are focused on the equivalent of a zombie invasion. Whether it’s the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, or an asteroid ala Armageddon striking the planet, too many folks are focused on the huge planetary scale events that toss us back to living in caves and hunting food with pointy sticks. Don’t even get me started on the ‘Day After Tomorrow’ global warming crowd.
Don’t get me wrong, I love disaster movies just as much as I love zombie movies, or at least almost as much. But I do think that preparation is a more serious issue and is something worth being a bit more realistic about than the latest Hollywood blockbuster movie.
I approach scenario planning a little more differently than some. I try to categorize scenarios based on Scope and Duration. This allows me to prepare along two different paths at the same time, as opposed to just trying to put away a year’s worth of food and water or whatever. Scope and duration both get worse the farther along you get. It’ll make more sense if you look at what these classifications are. I should also note that these are MY classifications, and you should feel free to adapt them based on your personal bias and opinion.
Scope is really the reach of the zombie invasion. How broad is the impact? Who is affected by it? For scope, I use the following classifications:
- Personal – Something that affects you and your immediate family. Generally not something that touches people outside your family.
- Vicinity – I define vicinity as your neighborhood, town and, like the word implies, your immediate vicinity. Note that your vicinity can migrate with you if you’re travelling, or you’re at work, etc.
- Region – This would be a metro area, county, state, etc
- Country – We all know what this is
- World – Hope you enjoyed Armageddon, though Deep Impact was more entertaining…
Duration is pretty straight forward. I classify Days, Weeks, Months, Years, and Generations. I don’t think this requires all THAT much explanation.
Taking a few examples, a power outage due to a storm would probably be a Vicinity scoped event that last a few days at most. On the flip side, your house burning down would be a Personally scoped event that would take weeks or months to recover from.
Before you can categorize scenarios, you need to actually HAVE scenarios to categorize. For your reading pleasure and convenience, I’ve listed a few at the end of this post. However, scenarios are an intensely personal thing, and you really need to take a look at what could go wrong in your life and plan for those scenarios accordingly. While many things are fairly universal, there’s always a few potential disasters that are unique to your own circumstances.
So now you have a list of scenarios with potential scope and duration defined. Congratulations, this is your first list out of many. Now what? How do we decide what to prepare for first?
Well, the good news is that if you approach preparedness in an intelligent fashion, you’ll find that by preparing for a couple of disasters, you end up increasing your overall preparedness level which sets you up better for those other disasters that you didn’t prepare for specifically. I know, seems pretty self evident, but it’s worth repeating because chances are that list you have is pretty daunting and you might be wondering how on earth you can plan for all of that.
In a nutshell, you want to order your list by the likelihood of the scenario occurring. So go back to your spreadsheet, add a column for likelihood, and sort by it! Voila, there’s the order that you prepare in! No, it’s not quite that easy, but you get the point. The bottom line is that you want to be prepared for losing your job, or being out of power for a week, or being quarantined for a month because of the latest Swine-Monkey-Bird Uncommon Cold before you prepare for Halley’s Comet striking the planet. Besides, you have until 2061 to prepare for that. The zombie apocalypse is next month. Art Bell said so!
I also think it’s better to focus on shorter duration preparations first, and build up to longer duration events. It would be rather daunting to try to put away two years worth of food and water all at once, but it’s not at all that bad to go from two weeks worth to a month, or one month to three, etc. Back to the whole ‘preparing for one thing prepares you for others as a fortunate side effect’ concept. Similarly, focus on the basics first, then expand. Be patient but persistent, you’ll get there before you know it.
Finally, and most important of all, you need to figure out where your personal “good enough” point is. This is another intensely personal issue and you need to decide for yourself. Some people will want to prepare for the next Ice Age, but I think they’re few and far between. Be realistic, be honest with yourself, and decide how far you want to go. And never forget that while you’re preparing to survive the zombie apocalypse, it’s not here yet and you need to live in the here and now, not always in the What Ifs.