Some “way out” thinking is in order.
Basics first: Do you have, every moment of every day, an “instant escape plan” in mind? If not, it may be time to at least begin mapping a personal remediation plan for this deficiency.
Classes of Escape Plans: At one level, you need such plans for land, air, and sea exposures. On land, what are your escape plans when shopping? In the event of an accident, or more like, a crazy road rage perpetrator? How about the less likely event of a nuclear war, earthquake, or city-wide terrorism event?
At sea the basics include things like having a life-preserver for everyone on a vessel. Then comes a radio or waterproof cell so help can be summoned. It’s useful to have some “hypothermia basics stored in memory, knowledge of weather, tides, currents, and a get-home plan in the event of engine failure.
In the air, pilots in command are taught to be ready for anything to fail at all times. You can plan for such emergencies mainly by keeping a “landable runway” in view at all times. Having flown across the country in our own plan several times, I can assure you that from 8,500 or 9,500 feet, you can continuously have a landing spot in sight. Never needed one, but there’s something reassuring about seeing a long golf course hole that could become a grass strip in an emergency.
Small plane exit plans aren’t the only ones: When you sit on a commercial plane, do you habitually pick the seat over the wings where the emergency exits are located? One row behind works for us because some emergency row seats don’t recline. Depends on equipment.
See how your mindset changes? It’s a constant state akin to “combat thinking” – until proven otherwise, everything is a threat.
Even with the idyllic life here on the ranch, I find myself looking at the road edges and drainage into culverts; they provide some protection from threats.
Have an escape plan for lightning? Seems absurd, but if you’re outdoors and hear thunder, start to pay attention to those “hairs on the back of your neck…” There is oftentimes a reported charging of the air – like static electricity build-up – just before nearby lightning. Since it will take the path of least resistance (i.e. greatest conductance), hitting the dirt (better, a ditch) will keep you from being a “target of opportunity.”
It goes without saying (so we will) that continuous escape plans can be a bit involved. They may also be staged.
Let’s take a radiation event in a city. Explosion of medical waste, terrorists with a man-pack bomb, or tensions between the US and a nuclear power are at an extreme. How do you pre-plan those kinds of things?
- Prepare to be mobile: Habitually run your car with 3/4’s of a tankful of gas. You mileage will be minimally impacted. Your “escape plan primary zone” is 250-miles for most cars.
- Know Weather: Many events (terror of all sorts) are designed to use the forces of nature, like wind, to great advantage. Sure, you may know the surface winds, but what about winds aloft at 3, 6, or 9-thousand feet?
- Avoid Plumes of Doom: Keep a “mental plume monitor” going. Imagine you are under constant threat. Never move into the wind – that will just make the source stronger. Never move away from the wind, either. That will keep you in the plume a very long time. Instead, remember to move across the plume. That will be the shortest route to safe air. This works whether it’s a forest fire, pollution from an industrial accident, terrorism, or warfare of the global type.
- Pre-Plan Your LZ: Landing zones are important. If there was a massive breakdown of infrastructure, ask “What are the odds my bug-out destination will be better-off than sheltering in place?”
- Move First: Faced with a chance to move, be first. Nothing is worse than being in line for…well, anything. To avoid the rush, see threats before anyone else and take decisive action. If that means packing up and heading out of town based on knowledge of a specific threat, don’t waste valuable time reconsidering. Start moving. You can always turn back if information changes. In the meantime, in the event of an actual emergency, bein g first out means lots of benefits. Stores will still have food, there won’t be lines at the gas station, water is still available. And when you get to your LZ, you might still get a good hotel room to stay in until danger passes. Late-comers and slow thinkers won’t be so fortunate.
Outliers kill. Still, they deserve thinking about.
27-people have been killed in the U.S. by lightning in the past decade. The riskiest activities include fishing, boating, camping, and golf.
The World Health Organization figured in 2015 that 360,000 people worldwide died in a single year from drowning. If you don’t know how to swim, that’s a definable risk with a simple answer. Yet, how many people can’t even stay afloat for 15-minutes?
Earthquakes aren’t as dangerous: Unless you lived in 1556 A.D. when 830,000 people died in earthquakes. Still, having a plan and lots of bottled water makes sense.
Don’t mean to make you gun-shy about getting on with life. It all comes with risks. But, to some extent these can be reduced if you always have an alternative course of action.
Everyone, seems, has been exposed to the dangers of driving and it’s why defensive driving is widely taught. But, what about defensive living?
If, for everything you do, you have a back-up plan, or an “escape plan” you may not be invincible, but something close.
Go have what remains of a weekend…and write when you get rich,