Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I checked a book out from the library called 'The Checklist Manifesto'. This book isn't about getting organized like I thought it was.  However...

The author is a surgeon and came up with the pre-operative checklist for operating room personnel that's cut post-operative complications and deaths by at least 30% wherever it's been put to use. Even operating room staff who didn't like using the checklist because they felt it took too much time said if they were being operated on, they'd want the checklist used.

The checklist is 19 steps, including a round-robin introduction of staff to one another, plus a check on 'did we stock enough antibiotics/blood/anesthesia' and 'what part are we working on' kinds of things. Most useful part of the book is the last three or four chapters, IMHO; again, they don't talk about getting organized, but rather the concept of a checklist as a process tool.

Author got his idea mostly from aviation AFAIK, drawing on the idea of the pre-flight checklist. Turns out, checklists were a major part of the 'miracle on the Hudson' plane ditching a while back; it was a team effort, not the efforts of one person, and checklists were at the heart of the successful landing of the plane.

So what does this have to do with prepping? Using a checklist would relieve you of the need to remember all the steps for securing your house, loading your BOV, etc., etc. and consequently reduce your stress when push comes to shove and you have to bug out. Same for a warning in advance of a tornado or hurricane, for example; knowing you've codified the steps to respond to warnings of floods, tornadoes, etc., means you don't have to worry about forgetting important steps in becoming secure and safe.

The process for making a checklist for an emergency situation or SHTF involves not only making a list of steps, but also testing out the results. Every checklist will be a bit different; those implemented in hospitals around the world were tweaked to reflect local conditions and methods of operation, but focusing on what to do before you have to do it means once you have to do it, you can focus on the important things rather than details like 'did we turn off the water' or 'did we bring food for the dog'.

If, from your perusal of the numerous preparedness sites on the Internet, you can customize the steps needed to get you from your comfortable reading-the-newspaper-in-your-smoking-jacket state to fully prepared to be on the road to your BOL without much difficulty, you will be in much better shape than the person who leaves this organizational detail to chance or memory. 

Some ideas on a rough framework are here and here.