Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Preparedness Alert Levels

Now I had an idea that might prove to be of some worth to groups of preppers and their families. See, the problem was how to develop patterns of behavior to suit the different levels of threats we prep for. For example you would have one pattern of behavior during a snowstorm, and a completely different pattern of behavior if you were in the midst of a mutant ninja zombie attack.

Now the government has a few, namely the DEFCON (DEFensive readiness CONdition) from the cold war. And we cannot pass up the much maligned HSAS (Homeland Security Advisory System). US military units use the REDCON (REaDiness CONition) to set up unit security details and such.

Although the NSAS is pretty much pointless because of the politics involved with the raising and lowering of the levels, I find a color system is much better to use than a numerical one. It's much easier to slip into messages to your group or your family than a number. If your part of a group the answering machine message could be changed to "You have reached blah blah blah leave a message after the tone." In the background play he appropriate music for that level. Black is Metallica or AC/DC, green and/or blue for Weezer, red for the Cure, purple for Prince, white for The Beatles. Etc. Good security and very subtle.

The colors can be used out in the open with little possibility of alerting the sheople. simply putting a red ribbon on the mailbox would be enough to let your kid know to come home right off the bus because bad things are happening. Or a text message of "red front of bldg 5 min" is very evident to the recipient of the message.

An issue I have with all the systems mentioned above is there are only five steps in all of them. I think having a slightly wider range of levels gives your group and family the ability to tailor their preps to different situations. One thing I figured out when cooking up this idea is that the levels should be linear. So each level adds more and more protection and awareness to the levels below it.

These levels are not intended to replace Cooper's States of Awareness. You could still be murdered in level Violet, for example. These levels are for group and family level security, not individual per se.

Here is an example of some of these ideas assembled into a crude plan. Feel free to use this as the foundation of your own thinking. The levels are arranged from lowest threat to highest amount of danger. All the previous security measures are in effect when moving to a higher security level.

White - no threats - All asteroids and comets have been removed from local space. Politicians, priests, and lawyers have all taken up gardening, leaving their former jobs to men of spotless virtue. Don't hold your breath, it's never going to happen.
Violet - minimal threats - Solid economy, record lows of unemployment, no nukes missing from Russia. Food is in abundant supply, and social-politically things are fairly stable. The years of 1990 - 1995 would probably fit this criteria.
Purple (indigo) - Peacetime - Keep prepping, things are bound to get worse.
Blue - Cautious - Avoid "bad areas of town." Never let your fuel tank drop below 1/2 full. Concealed carry is optional, determined by circumstances. Keep additional supplies in your car in case of emergency.
Green - alert - Keep in close contact with the group for escalated levels and keep everyone updated with your location at all times. Be ready to render assistance if needed. Verify power generation systems are fully functional & tested. Also check chainsaws and/or plows or snowblowers, etc. The good news is you can still go on vacation. This would be an appropriate level for a snowstorm, or during tornado season.
Yellow - imminent danger - Everyone allowed to legally carry a concealed sidearm will do so. If concealable body armor is available, it is always worn outside the home. All stocks of food, water, fuel, and medical supplies will be double-checked and re-inventoried ASAP. Every day a complete security walk though of the home will be done. High-use consumables like fuel will be checked daily. BOB's are re-checked and placed at the home's main entrance for easy access. Don't go to work unless you will lose your job if you bang in sick. Bathtubs are filled in case power is lost. Vacation plans are most likely canceled. This would be an appropriate level for a Cat 3 hurricane or a blizzard.
Orange - danger - Bathtubs and every pot, bucket, etc. are filled with water in anticipation of water/power going out for a long time. People are not lawless, but it can be touch and go if you have something they want (i.e. fuel, food). No one leaves the house alone, a buddy system is used to keep track of everyone. The home's security will be beefed up as best as possible. One area of the home would be designated a trauma center, with pre-staged medical supplies. Fuck work, your life is worth more than your job. This would be an appropriate level during hurricane Katrina.
Red - imminent disaster - Everyone is armed with a pistol on their body unless they are washing up or fucking. Long arms are always within arms reach. All magazines are loaded, and combat webbing is loaded and ready. Body armor, if available, is worn. Full security measures about the home, such as boarding up windows, 24x7 security patrols/fire watch are set up.
Black - TEOTWAWKI - Weapons free, i.e. longarms are carried openly in public. When moving as a group, full military spacing with pointman. Only leave your retreat only if absolutely necessary. You are your own law - deal with thieves as you see fit. Assume everyone outside your group wants to kill/rape you. Anyone who approaches your home is searched thoroughly at gunpoint.

I hope this gets you thinking, and acts as a catalyst to archive another level of preparedness and security for your family and group. If you develop a full plan for your group, please e-mail it to me for posting for everyones benefit!


American Survivalist said...

good, I like it. I think we're blue about to tip into green

DaveP said...

I really like this scale! I've come up with a scale as well, and I think that they are complimentary.

I'll post a short version below, see the rest at:

For instance, an ice storm that takes out power for 4 weeks like in Kentucky but is otherwise civil would be a Level 1X -Blue event. A Hurricane Katrina event with civil breakdown would be a Level 1X - Red event.

Disaster Scale of Levels 1 through 5X (X being Extreme or Extended)

Level 1 Natural - Fire Flood Tornado Drought: Temporary (2-4 weeks) disruption of normal services and/or trade

* Need 2-4 weeks of food (rice, beans, sugar, flour), heat source (propane camping stove + fuel), water (stored or Berkey filter), Entertainment (Cards, games, RV charger-battery-DVD/Laptop)

Level 1X Persistent natural disasters 4 weeks +

* Electricity gone, all else normal - batteries might only last a few days...need a solar charger, deep cycle battery, and an inverter. Cold climates might need a bank of batteries and a larger inverter to run a heater.
* Water gone, all else normal - can use gas or electricity to boil water, Big Berkey filter a plus
* Drought - water barrels

Level 2 Economic - Stock crash, recession

* Save on costs, food: dehydration, canning, gardening; Energy: insulation, efficient bulbs
* Invest in Yourself: training and schooling since jobs are scarce anyway
* Precious metals: sometimes a good investment, sometimes not, if accumulated over time much less chance of getting burned.

Level 2X - Depression - little to no economic activity - All Black Market, energy very expensive

* Get out of Debt because old debts are in inflated dollars, but earning power is reduced - sell everything not nailed down.
* Save Money - as above, perhaps with Solar panels + deep cell battery and inverter to save on electric bills

Level 3 Political - constitutional crisis, election unrest

* Home and personal defense (ie: sit in your house/business with a shotgun)

Level 3X - Police State

* Exit areas of urban unrest - prepare to defend in rural isolation
* Secure communications

Level 4 Currency - massive deflation, hyperinflation, debt default - limited to nation or region

* Food stocks - prepare for 200-300% increase in food costs, prepare as level 2 above but for 1-2 years
* Trade: Utilize gold, silver, and tangibles (food, ammo, booze). Get small amounts too (not all big gold coins, get silver dimes and quarters, perhaps links of a 24K chain to break apart)
* Wealth - can own other currencies that have not collapsed, and precious metals or other commodities

Level 4X - Global currency or debt default

* Wealth - no suitable alternate currencies exist, convert wealth to precious metals and tangibles/trade-ables.

Level 5 Devastation - Tornado Swarm, Volcano, Asteroid strike, Dustbowl - Some regions become uninhabitable, others may be OK

* Transportation - make sure it's rugged, reliable, and ensure that all of your gear will actually fit in the car with passengers
* Only real goods matter, food fuel, water

Level 5X Total Devastation - Total TEOTAWKI - Nuclear War, Multiple asteroid strikes, Ice Age, War of Worlds/Independence day attack of superior aliens (hey, you can't *prove* it WON'T happen), Supervolcano, SuperTsunami

* Total bunker mentality - do the best you can, hunker down or run like crazy (depending on situation), prepare to kiss your a** goodbye?
* Communication - radio - link up with others

I hope people will help me flesh this out - input is very welcome, and that with this framework in mind, we can have more useful discussions targeting specific types of disaster preparation, and the cost/benefit ratio of each.