S.I.P. G.O.O.D. I.N.C.H. - Three Parts of a Family Emergency Plan
Disasters and emergency situations are becoming a more frequent occurrence these days. You are hard pressed to go more than three months without some kind of natural disaster or man-made crisis to strike somewhere on planet Earth. And, the rest period between these events seems to be getting shorter & shorter, while the level of destruction is ever increasing. Nowhere is truly safe from man or nature. Every man, woman & child on this planet needs to have some sort of plan to help them get through what life may throw at them.
The Family Emergency Plan is an all encompassing set of plans to get a family through all hazards, all risks and recover to a pre-event level with the least amount of distress, worry or harm. A Family Emergency Plan can be divided into three parts:
- Shelter-In-Place – The S.I.P. Plan. Any event where staying where you are is the safest choice.
- Get Out Of Dodge – The G.O.O.D. Plan. An event where moving/evacuating to a safer location is the best choice.
- I'm Never Coming Home – The I.N.C.H. Plan. An event that occurs when you are away from home and you have no home to return to.
All of these plans are different and all of these plans are the same. You need all of these plans to be completed to the fullest detail to be of the most value to you and your family's survival during a crisis or natural disaster. SIP GOOD INCH is the path to success.
First, let's look at how all of these plans are similar. What are our priorities in any situation?? What is generally the order we want to solve any problems or challenges that may get in our way to safety or survival??
Following the Rules of 3's:
- 3 Seconds without hope
- 3 Minutes without air
- 3 Hours without shelter
- 3 Days without water
- 3 Weeks without food
- 3 Months without contact/communication/companionship
By creating a plan or plans, you have created hope. So, long as your will to survive does not get impeded, the mere act of making a plan provides you and your family a foundation for hope to be built on.
Your medical situation is the next priority. Are you hurt?? Are you breathing?? And everyone else in your family group?? Hurt?? Breathing?? Unless the area you are in is unsafe – burning building, burning vehicle or collapsing structure, provide immediate life saving first aid/medical aid. Stabilize serious medical conditions. If safe, stay put. If the conditions change move to a safer location.
Establish shelter from the elements – proper clothing for the season, climate, altitude or weather; portable shelter – tents, RV's or tarp-shelter; or get inside – mall, evacuation centre or hard-shelter. Without adequate shelter, being wet, cold and exposed to the wind you could be lifeless in as little as three hours!! Get out of the wind. Get protection from precipitation – rain, mist, snow, sleet, etc. Get warm in cold climates or get cool in hot climates. If you are dry & cold, you can survive a lot longer than you can when wet & cold. Remember, insulation works to protect you from the cold or the heat. If a structure is waterproof, windproof and insulated you will require very little heat to survive in cold conditions.
Hydration is next on your list. Do you have bottled water?? Pots or buckets to collect rain water?? A method or two for purifying the water?? Water filter?? If you have no means to make the water clean you will have to decide which is worse – dying of thirst or getting sick from a waterborne pathogen?? Both can kill you, one is just a bit quicker. You need a safe source of fluids. 4 litres per day per person is a safe number for surviving in Canada. Other regions of the world may need double that. Can you get by on less.....yes, for a while. But as you create a chronic dehydration state in your body you will start to loss key survival tools – higher thinking and decision making processes, kidney function and loss of digestion functions. Water in helps to regulate body temperature, move nutrients to the blood stream, enable digestion of food into energy, keeps the brain operating and helps excrete toxins from the cells of the body.
To power your body & mind you will need food. Your body can survive a long time without food. No, you will not like to go without food. The feeling of hunger is a quiet nudge to put more fuel in your bio-chemical engine. The good news is most North Americans have enough calories saved up that three days without any calories coming in would do them very little harm. In a survival or emergency situation you will have no choice but to endure it but in preparation for such an event it would be okay to practice a fluids only weekend. Of course, have your family doctor give you the thumbs up before if you are concerned this may be unsafe for you. Remember, different types of food provide different types of energy to your body. Sugary food/carbohydrates provide fast energy but it does not last long. Too much carbohydrates in your diet will cause you to “crash” when the energy is used. Also, unused energy from carbohydrates gets converted to body fat. Fibre is a part of veggies and whole grains that help scrub toxins out of the intestines. Protein which comes from the eating of meat, dairy and some plant products(TVP) provides energy for a longer period than carbohydrates but it also takes more time to digest. Protein is also the only type of calories consumed that can be converted into muscle. The most calorie dense food type is the family of fats. They are very slow to digest but provide the most calories per cubic centimetre than any other type. In a survival situation you want to have fats as part of your calorie intake. Because of the uncertain conditions you are likely burning more calories than you would in your normal life. To keep from “crashing” or “burning out” you want fat in you diet to give you the energy to keep going. One caveat on food.....if you do not have fluids/water DO NOT EAT!! Eating without drink will kill you faster as fluids are drawn out of all your cells to digest that food. You can go weeks without food but only days without water.
Lack of contact/communication/companionship can be endured by most for about 3 months. Humans are social animals after all. Loss of social contact can be crippling to many. On the otherhand some folks can avoid human contact for years and be the better for it.
So, the rules of three identify these items to be the ones that need to be addressed and in the correct order to ensure survival. Thus, no matter whether you are making your SIP Plan, GOOD Plan or your INCH Plan they will all need to have the rules of three satisfied.
Now, that we have an understanding on how the SIP GOOD INCH plans are similar let's take a look at how they differ.....
The SIP Plan:
- Medical supplies can be stockpiled enmasse and their location can be well known to all members of the family. Being at home during a natural disaster or crisis can be calming due to the familiarity of the location.
- Shelter is your home and your clothes. You know it, because you live it...everyday. You have all your clothes here – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. You may even have all your specialty clothing here, too. Like your camping, hiking and/or hunting gear.
- In your home you can store as much water as you can fit. You can also fill all the bath tubs, water bottles, jerry cans or water bags at the outset of the emergency. You are not limited to what you can carry. Having methods of purifying and/or filtering would be wise if the event drags on beyond your supply of clean water. Remember 4 litre per person per day. Showers and washing clothes will require more water. Maybe setup a rain barrel or two to collect rain water for other tasks like watering veggie gardens, herb gardens and the washing of bodies and clothes. Remember, your hot water tank will hold water, too. Learn how to drain that supply in the event that you need it.
- Your kitchen, pantry, freezer and fridge will hold a supply of food you are use to eating. In an emergency eat the fresh food first, you do not know how long electrical power will last to keep that food fresh. IF, you lose electrical power and do not have a backup generator, cook the fresh food and have a feast. Share with your neighbours. Eat it before it spoils. Try to achieve the following food holdings for sheltering in place, first 72 hours worth of food, then one month, three months, and one year being a reasonable goal for long term planning. Remember, this food is not just their for when a meteor hits your neighbourhood. A year's supply of food can also help you weather a loss of employment or an injury that prevents you from going to work. This is a personal safety net. Remember to have the means necessary to prepare and cook this food in the event of the loss of public utilities – no electricity or no natural gas.
- Staying in contact can start at the neighbourhood level. Build a neighbourhood watch. Share ideas, concerns and solutions with each other. Get a battery powered AM/FM radio to listen to local news and alerts. Or better yet, get a shortwave (SW) radio so you can listen to the world radio stations. Best of all is to become a HAM Radio Operator and get your radio license so you can listen & talk to the world via your HAM Radio. These radios can be base units located in your home or portable units mounted in your vehicle or even hand-held units! Plan ahead, so you can be ready when the time comes.
The GOOD Plan:
- During an evacuation you will be limited in your medical resources that you can carry in your method of transportation. You will have to manage your resources carefully unless you have an unlimited resupply nearby. Avoid injury is the best advice for when you are on the move.
- While on the move, your method of transportation will be your shelter, but as soon as you stop you will need a fast shelter – tent, rooftop tent, RV, cabin, tarp, etc to protect you until you reach your end goal or have had time to build a new home. The carrying capacity of your vehicle will limit what you can take and thus limit your options. Try to chose something that can be used for multiple purposes.
- Fluids on the go, will be severely limited. Water is heavy – 1 kg per litre. Be sure to have containers to hold water AND a portable water filter to make water safe to drink. Refill as and where you can. Do not become dehydrated.
- Food will also be limited to what will fit in your vehicle. Try at the very least to transport your 72 hour kit. Three days worth of food will hopefully get you to your end goal. Select foods that transport well and require minimal preparation or cooking. At least one hot meal a day will help keep morale high. Cooking over an open fire may not always be an option.
- Thankfully, most vehicles come equipped with an AM/FM radio so you can keep informed of local condition while enroute to your safe zone. Consider, upgrading to at least one method of two-way communications in your vehicle: CB radio, GMRS/FRS handheld units or better yet, a vehicle mounted HAM Radio. As stated earlier you need a license to operate a HAM Radio but it is worth it. HAM Radios give you the world. CB's & GMRS/FRS allow for inter-vehicle communications while traveling.
The INCH Plan:
- There are too many variables to interfere with a black & white set of answers for an INCH plan. Depending on where you are and what caused the loss of your home and how wide spread the damage is would all influence the basic answers to the Rules of Threes.
- The INCH Plan is a psychological plan. Getting a mindset to accept what is and move on. This is where mental toughness comes into play. You may find that you only have your family and the clothes on your backs. And that is enough to start over.
In the future, I will write another couple books to cover in detail both a SIP Plan and an INCH Plan. Until then, I hope this short article gives you some valuable ideas of where to start your Family Emergency Plan.
I would suggest creating an emergency preparedness binder to hold your Family Emergency Plan – SIP Plan, GOOD Plan, INCH Plan; as well as, copies of legal papers & documents, banking info, utility accounts, insurance papers, birth certificates, passports and credit cards. This binder would like to be stored near your 72 hour kit and/or bugout bags, so you can grab-n-go in the event of an emergency requires you to leave home. Remember to have an old fashion address book with names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of your family & friends. In some emergency events your cell phone will not work.
Plan, Prepare and Be Ready!
Yours in Preparedness,
V. Andrew McMILLAN