By Henry Fu
In prepping, learn from real-life failures disasters planning and develop for yourself what I call the Flexible Prepping Approach (FPA). My work in risk management for corporations has exposed how one-dimensional disaster planning results in catastrophic failure. Here are some examples of one-dimensional planning at some of the most sophisticated organizations and how that led to spectacular failure when the disaster plans were called into action. Also, taking these lessons to heart and developing an FPA in your planning.
First and foremost example is that of the Fukushima nuclear power plant run by Tokyo Electric in Japan. The region is known for earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis. Tokyo Electric took each one of these natural disaster scenarios and built robust structures designed to withstand each individual disaster. The plant was built to withstand extremely strong earthquakes and typhoons. In case of power issues at the plant, backup generators were built to support the plant and its systems should the nuclear reactor become damaged. A sea wall was also built to protect the plant from tsunamis as it was located next to the sea. On the surface, every disaster seemed to be covered in their planning and incorporated into plant construction. When the big earthquake hit Japan, the plant survived the tremors as designed and backup generators kicked in to support the plant as the reactors were being shut down. Unfortunately, a tsunami of immense proportions was also generated by the earthquake and though the plant survived the tsunami itself, the water flooded the generators and the reactors went into meltdown when control systems were lost. The final result was plant explosions in the reactor buildings, massive radiation leaks and untold damage to the environment that will last for generations.
Closer to home, when Hurricane Sandy hit the New York City area it caused widespread damage and business disruptions despite disaster backup planning and backup power in most modern buildings. What wasn’t anticipated was in many cases, generators were located on ground or basement elevations and became flooded. Even those generators that survived the flooding unscathed, generator fuel ran out quickly within hours and there was no easy way to get more with local infrastructure damaged. Normal business operations in many cases could not be restored for months. Corporations learned the hard way that one dimensional disaster planning will not survive the actual disaster.
During Sandy, we relocated key personnel to our company’s backup site located 18 miles away from our headquarters. The headquarters building is located in a vulnerable spot on the Baltimore waterfront. Lucky for us, Baltimore did not get the direct hit. However, if it had the offsite location would not likely have been an effective location to operate from as its generator runs on diesel and fuel supplies would be disrupted in an area-wide disaster. We would lose power in a day making the backup site ineffective.
The point here is having a one-dimensional plan for emergencies and disasters is shortsighted and creates an unfounded sense of confidence. Transferring this idea to prepping, let’s say you spent all your effort and money on a bug-out location with food, water, and enough supplies to last you and your family a couple of years. However, when an emergency unfolds it becomes impossible to get to your bug-out location or perhaps the event will engulf your home as well as your backup site. All the effort and money spent on the site has been wasted and you are no more prepared than the guy next door.
Using an flexible approach to prepping means preparing for multiple scenarios and avoiding a one-solution approach for all situations. Each prepping solution you rely upon should each have the ability to address multiple scenarios. This also means not concentrating all your preps in one basket. What is the point of preparing for one type of event when you get hit with some other disaster. Be flexible in your approach, have multiple preps based upon a risk assessment of all the scenarios that may be applicable to your situation. I other words, I wouldn’t necessarily prepare of a tsunami in Arizona but there are plenty of survival scenarios you may run into in a desert.
This is an archive of: http://americanpreppersnetwork.com/2014/11/flexible-prepping.html