Preparedness……you often hear the term, but what does it means, why should one care about it and how does one achieve it? Well, in very general terms, preparedness is simply having as many “Mental Map Sheets” (…remember last week’s discussion?) as possible to deal with not only the expected, but more importantly, the unexpected events of life. If you are training in Self Defense (Krav Maga), BJJ, Muay Thai, Kali/Silat, Mix Martial Arts, Firearms or Survival Skills at Elite Training Center, I have some good news for you. You are already preparing yourself.
Now let’s focus our discussion specifically to disaster/survival preparedness. Why should we prepare for disaster and survival situations? Well, when we are properly prepared, we are able to minimize the impact of significant deviations from the norms of everyday life. To put it more bluntly, so we’re ready when the sh*t hits the fan! What types of “significant deviations” should we consider when discussing preparedness? In general, we must always be ready for natural disasters or the long term disruptions of utilities. Additionally, if you reside in a large metropolitan area, you should be prepared to respond to events of civil unrest or riots. Unfortunately, given the age we live in, we must also be prepared to cope with the effects of terrorism or other acts of war. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you will also want to be able to handle basic survival scenarios that may occur in a rural or wilderness setting.
Once you have made the decision to become better prepared to handle disaster and survival situations, you need a place to start. Often, people fail to prepare themselves simply because they become overwhelmed with the concept of preparation and don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, we can begin our preparations by following “The 5 Principles of Survival”. These principles (Planning, Rehearsal, Security, Composure, and Common Sense) help us focus our efforts when preparing to meet the challenges of significant deviations from the norms of everyday life. Let’s take a closer look at each of these basic principles:
Planning: This is where to start your preparations. It is during the planning phase that you should select the disaster/survival situation for which you are preparing and to identify the necessary skills, equipment and materials that you will need to successfully cope with that situation. Start with just one situation, but eventually as you consider and plan for more and more disaster/survival situations, you will find that your preparation efforts are becoming redundant. This simply means that many of your plans and equipment are useful for multiple situations and that your general level of preparedness is greatly improving.
Rehearsal: Once you have made your plans, learned new skills and bought new equipment you can’t just sit back and wait for the disaster to come. You must regularly execute you plans, practice your skills and train with your gear. If you can’t perform a particular task on a nice, calm sunny day, the likelihood of you being successful while under life or death stress is at best……extremely low. Rehearsals also allow you to discover the faults in your plans, the weaknesses in your skill sets and the limitations of your gear & equipment. Lastly, it is through regular rehearsals, practice, and drills that we build those “Mental Map Sheets” that enable us to respond properly to a sudden disaster/survival situation.
Security: All sound operational planning considers and makes provisions for security. Without properly considering and providing for security needs, most endeavors are doomed to fail. Take a look at the crime rate on any given day in our society. Now imagine what crime could be like during a natural disaster or period of civil unrest. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it, just look at New Orleans in the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina or look at the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Let’s face it, in a disaster/survival situation, if you have resources and others do not, they will try to take them away from you. Your security preparations can take the form of arming yourself (…my personal favorite), defensive structural measures (if you plan to shelter in place) or simply hiding yourself & your resources during the disaster/survival situation. A well balance security plan will incorporate each of these measures.
Composure: I think the British said it best with the World War II propaganda poster “Stay Calm and Carry On”. You must remain calm if you wish function properly under the high stress of a disaster/survival situation. Additionally, there may be others in your group (friends or family), depending on your skills and/or relying on your leadership. The single best way to improve your composure during a high stress disaster/survival situation is to rehearse your plans and to drill you skills often. These actions build those ever so important “Mental Map Sheets” (…there’s that term again!) which allow us to react as opposed to freezing during an unexpected emergency situation. Now that I think about it, I’m going to change that old British saying……….“Stay Calm and Survive”
Common Sense: It may not be all that common, but during a disaster/survival situation, it’s an absolute necessity. Never do anything that risks personal injury, jeopardizes your security or weakens your current position. Always assess your current abilities and situation in an honest, objective manner. Know your personal limitations and be able to properly assess the limitations of those that might be in your group. It is these honest assessments that will provide you with the information that you need to make sound decisions and take appropriate Courses of Actions (COA). Additionally, using common sense can often help you overcome initial failures when attempting to apply your skill sets. Common sense is an integral part of your problem solving skills, and if you ever find yourself in a disaster/survival situation…….brother you got a problem!
So are you prepared? Don’t worry if you are not……you still have time. How much time? Now that is the real question….so better get on it!
Instructor William Green
Elite Training Center
1628 South Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach, CA 90277