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There are many things you can do at the onset of a disaster. Most people panic. But when you panic, it leads to drastic and dangerous decision making. Panic leads to the type of radical actions that get people hurt or killed.
Another thing people do at the onset of disaster is freeze. They haven’t planned or prepared, so they just stare at the television or the radio in disbelief.
“What should I do?”
In most cases, the frozen cannot act quick enough to save themselves or their families.
Somewhere between the drastic and radical decision making of those who panic and the delayed reaction of those who freeze lies a near perfect reaction to a disaster.
Do you want to know exactly what to do immediately after a disaster to increase your chances of survival? There is a very simple yet effective process that I call the Threat Assessment Process (or T.A.P., for short). I will tell you all about it and the 10 easy steps to executing it.
What T.A.P does is give you a structure to lean on when it seems like the very world is crumbling beneath your feet. It’s always better to have process and training to fall back on. Here’s what to do:
1. Calm Yourself
The first step in T.A.P is to look reality in the face. You should take a moment, even if it’s only 60 seconds, to go over what is happening in your head. Speak it out loud to yourself.
“The power is out and it’s never coming back on.”
Or whatever the situation may be. You want to avoid denial with all of your might. Think of nothing but the truth and reality. This will give you the right perspective, no matter how hopeless it may seem. You cannot survive anything if you don’t face the reality you are up against.
Then take some deep breaths and calm yourself. You will not be able to do any of the steps below correctly if you are hyperventilating!
2. Get as Much Intel as Time and Media Allows
One of the most important yet overlooked aspects of preparedness is the gathering of intelligence. Your ability to gather intelligence will depend on the amount of time you have and the access to information. The best possible outcome is one where you have plenty of time and sources of information. This will give you the most options.
From the intel you gather you can formulate a plan that will keep your family as safe as possible.
3. Gather the Family
After you have calmed yourself down and gathered as much intel as possible, you will want to gather your family members. At this point, you may walk them through steps 1 and 2. The calming effect and the intel may make it easier for your family to digest the game plan you have created.
4. Explain the Situation in Detail
Before you dig into the details of your plan to mitigate the threats of the situation, you will want to explain the situation, completely, to your family. Making sure your family understands the threat will help them in the long run. If you are up against a very dangerous situation, you could die, and if your family is unaware of the threats they face, they will die too.
One of the biggest flaws in most preparedness plans is that one person holds all the information and skills. If that person were taken out of the picture, the family could be just as vulnerable as one that had not prepared at all.
5. Explain the Plan in Detail
Make sure you have their full attention and utilize maps, drawings, and other creative materials to explain a more detailed plan. If your plan is complicated, you may even want each member of your family to repeat the plan back to you.
Your family must understand the plan because you will assign them all tasks that are integral to the execution of that plan and the survival of the family. Make sure they all understand the level of severity and the importance of executing the plan as well.
6. Assign Tasks and Get to Work
Your next move is a very important one. As a good leader, you will not shoulder the burden of the entire operation. Now that the family is briefed on the threat and the plan, it’s time to break up the pieces and hand them out to those best able to execute.
These could range from simple grab and carry tasks for kids to weapons checks for older kids or spouses.
7. Plan B and C
Just as we diversify incomes and investments, it’s very important that we diversify our preparedness plans. Be sure that you have at least one subplan if your original goes terribly wrong. These plans do not need to be explained to the family in detail but should be rattling around in your head, just in case.
8. Gather Local Intel, i.e Community and Loved Ones
If time allows, gather some local intel as well. Look to your community members or loved ones in the area. Sometimes bouncing your plan or idea off someone in the local area, outside of your immediate family, can add a new perspective.
This might not always be possible but it’s an option that should be considered.
9. Reassess your Plan
Once you have committed to the plan, continue to reassess either as new threats appear or as you reach various checkpoints along your way. The continuous reassessment and adaptation of your plan will ensure that you do not become too invested in Plan A and follow it to your doom.
You should always be prepared to reassess. After a disaster things will change rapidly.
10. Repeat 7-9
Once you have made it this far, you are going to simply cycle 7-9 until you are completely safe and the disaster is over. The practice of gathering intel, creating contingencies, and reassessing your plan will help you mitigate any new threats that appear through the duration of the disaster and recovery.
I hope you enjoyed learning about T.A.P. In times of disaster, you will need a strong framework to cling to. Leaning on this process will offer you stability and reassurance when everyone else is panicking.