Preparedness

Every month I like to write a blog/article about something that has happened in the world and with it being January I mean to continue to write as I have within the sphere of risk management and security but this month I have decided to mix things up a little. I would firstly like to apologise for the lack of Ares Q&A but as I am an operator and a business owner that must always come first. This month I returned from my second overseas trip of the month and was watching the news and catching up on world affairs when a very interesting report came on the BBC.  The story was that the British Army has started to stockpile food, ammo, and petrol and that the NHS has also started to build up on medical supplies.

With Brexit on the horizon, the story in my view was not to worry people or become a scaremongering piece… (Well that was not how I understood it) but, rather give an insight into the preparations the government is making in preparation for Brexit. Clearly, these preparations are being made as a contingency in the eventuality that there is some disruption in the supply chain in the immediate days and week’s post-Brexit. With around 60 days remaining till Brexit takes effect, we’re still in the dark as to whether we’ll leave “with a deal, no deal or maybe even be forced to remain”.

In this blog, I’m not going to dwell on any of what if’s or the pro’s or con’s of any possible outcomes, and I’m certainly not going to try to predict what’s going to happen. Yes, I have my own personal thoughts on the subject, but would rather focus on why as individuals and families we need to start thinking in terms of “being prepared” rather than living with the expectation that government, business, and the civil service will provide and take care of us.

In my view and the way I work to live my life, I take steps to prepare for any outcome at any time.

To highlight my point, of the need to be prepared, the USA has also been in the few due to the Federal Government Shutdown, which started on the 22 December 2018 and finally came to an end a few days ago on the 25th January 2019. As a result, nine executive departments with around 800,000 employees had to shut down partially or in full, affecting about one-fourth of government activities and causing employee furloughs or employees being required to work without being paid.

This was the longest shutdown in US history to date and its estimated that it has cost the US economy $11 Billion directly and excludes indirect costs which have been difficult to quantify.

For those 800 000 people that had to work or were forced to take unpaid time off, they still had to pay mortgages and rent, utility bills still had to be paid, food and transport had to be covered along with the cost of health care and education for those who have children.

After weeks of not being paid citizens where starting to first run out of money and then the basics of life… food.

Government shut-downs and the potential disruption caused by Brexit to supply chains is not the only time that the lives of some in the UK are disrupted, last year’s “Beast from the East” storm put pressures on people, their ability to get to and from work, shop for food etc. Every winter the AA and other motoring organizations publish and broadcast the need to prepare our vehicles for bad weather, especially in the event that we might get trapped in blizzard conditions.

As a risk manager, I look at the risks in everything and take steps to plan for the “what if’s”. My regimental motto regiment Utrinque Paratus) “Ready for anything!” is always in the background of my thoughts.

In the west, we have seen people are losing their jobs as well as major shifts in the employment market and Brexit certainly adds to this looming uncertainty.

What are our options?

In my view – the only way to be sure that you and I are “ready for anything” is to plan and prepare, so I will give a few tips of the things that I implement for myself…  Then it is for you to decide your own level of risk tolerance and the measures you would employ to make sure you are safe and have your basic needs covered, within your own home and borders.

How can I be ready in this unknown situation?

Firstly if the government is letting the army know that they need to put some fat on the bones of their supplies then it’s something most households should also consider doing in the run-up to Brexit.

  • Have some disposable cash in your home so you can go out and get supply’s if needed.
  • I personally within the paras use to carry up to 3 day’s food and water on my person; so having a little extra food stockpiled in your home will not hurt. If nothing happens great you have extra food. If supply chains to and from the EU are delayed no problem you have enough food to see you through. The length of time you plan to prepare for is up to you, as is what sort of food will make up your stock pile is also your provocative. I would have the WW2 mindset and get some dried, tinned and long life food.
  • Make sure you Like and Know how to cook, what's in the stockpile.
  • Anyone that knows me knows I also have green fingers. I like to plant and grow my own fruit and vegetable. Over the years, the growing of fruit and veg has become a bit of a family project – our growing projects have become a family bonding experience where we grow different things and share produce. Obviously what you can grow and how much you can grow depends on your space but you would be surprised what you can grow if you try.
  • While any disruption to the food supply is not likely to be long-term, in the post-Brexit scenario, you wouldn’t have to have as much food in as you might in a prolonged food crisis. The beauty of having a food stockpile is that food can be used as a currency for trading.
  • With food and cash covered, I am also looking at my petrol and diesel supply… after all, I still have to drive to get around for work and be able to see people, so a few jerry cans of fuel spare will not hurt. If like me you think that your fuel supply might get disrupted, having a small stockpile of fuel is not a bad idea, just make sure you store them properly and safely.
  • Medical and First Aid supplies – I’ll be checking to make sure I have what I need. In my area, it can take up to 20-minutes for an ambulance to arrive at the scene of an accident so being able to take care of myself and those around me is important!

Lists like this could be endless but I feel the list above is enough for the basics of life in the short term.

Now I know what you’re thinking this is going to cost a fortune!  It doesn’t have too in reality, just putting an extra £10 to £20 pounds towards your food and fuel needs every week on weekly basis is all it takes. You'd be surprised by the amount of supply’s you could develop to keep you going through the hard times and if supply chains get disrupted.

All the things I have mentioned above are not only for Brexit, but it’s a basic responsibility to yourself to look after and protect yourself and family.

Gone are the days where we can place all our trust in governments, emergency services and civil services to take care of us in a crisis, irrespective of the underlying cause. We live in a world full of uncertainty, so taking responsibility for ourselves to become more self-sufficient in my view is a must – After all, some preparation never harmed to anyone.

Till the next time

Stay Safe

Damien Heim

 

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