How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Two is One and One is None! Will You be Up a Creek?

upacreek-robbiesphotoart@flickrI just wanted to throw a quick post out there in addition to my normal morning post to address something I’ve touched on a bit in most of my gear related posts but deserves a post of it’s own.

Every Prepper needs to understand the art of redundancy and how to apply it to your planning process.  You don’t want to end up being up a creek without a paddle when something breaks and you have no spare!

Yo Murph! Here I am!

All too often we add something to our prep room but don’t think about redundancy. I have a bit of a leg up on most folks in that my profession doesn’t even consider things as single instances and anything worth buying is worth buying a backup unit for. The same thing goes for preps.

We can’t even imagine the ways in which something can break or fail. And according to Murphy, that failure will happen at the worst possible time. So we need to prepare for that as well.

In real terms this means that you never ever only buy one of something. If you are forced to break that rule for some reason, financially or space wise for example, then you absolutely must have a contingency plan.

Redundancy models

I would go so far as to advocate that one extra isn’t even enough. In my profession we have the concept of N, N+1, N+2, and so on. It basically represents the number of a given item we require based on our needs (N) and the desired backup level. N+1 is one backup unit, N+2 is two backup units, and so forth.

Using the above model, N+1 is really the bare minimum, and in many cases I would recommend going to N+2 or N+3 levels of redundancy if possible. You may not be in a position to replace something that fails or breaks, and that extra stockpile may be the only thing between you and not having a valuable tool.

Rudy’s Tip: In many cases it’s worth adding a percentage based buffer in addition to a standard N+ model. I always do this for consumables. For example I take my N+3 redundancy and add 50% or even double the amount and plan to store that much of whatever I’m looking at. I’d rather have too much than not enough.

A practical example

Let’s try out a quick practical example here using fizbang widgets. You know that every adult needs to have two fizbang widgets in storage. You are planning on having your in-laws with you in case of emergency, so you need to account for four adults, or eight fizbang widgets.

After discussion with your wife you decide that N+2 redundancy is reasonable here, so you now need a total of ten fizbang widgets. Finally, since you read my tip above this paragraph you decide to add a safety buffer of 50% for a final fizbang widget count of 15.

Rudy’s Confession: I have absolutely no idea what a fizbang widget is. Or if it even exists.

As an alternative way of calculating redundancy you might want to add adults instead of widgets. So in this example N+2 redundancy would mean calculating widget needs for a total of six adults instead of four adults.

Quick math results in: Six adults (N+2) X 2 widgets per adult = 12 widgets, buffered for a total of 18 widgets. I usually use this model if I am accounting for extra bodies instead of just loss/theft/breakage of the item in question.

Wrapping it up

I hope this helps. I’ll probably just point out this post in the future instead of always telling you to stock extras! Always remember: Two is One and One is None!

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