By Bernie Kelley
As the Command Sergeant Major for the California State Militia (CSM), arguably the largest militia in number of members and area covered, I frequently have been asked my opinion regarding all manner of preparation for natural and man made disasters in California. Essentially, there are four standing orders for weathering natural disasters - Secure, support, scout, and influence.
Surviving Disasters in California
California has been rated as the most biologically diverse state in United States. Biological diversity is dependent on weather and terrain, of which California has nearly every biome known to man. California ranks top in cultural diversity, resulting from varied political and social environments. If we could lay California over the east coast states, it would cover from New York City to Charleston, South Carolina. With these facts in mind, a simple answer to a question regarding a disaster is complicated from the start.
I have read many blogs, heard many interviews, and watched many shows that give seemingly simple answers; but to be simple, in reality, you can only talk about very specific situations which will apply only to a few individuals, in a few places. Most answers appeared to be geared for people with the skill set of Bear Grylls or military special forces. What about house wives, children, grandparents, and out-of-shape middle-age men?
The Four Standing orders
CSM realized that we needed standing orders that would help any member of our militia. Standing orders were necessary because waiting for a central command to communicate with you during a disaster is simply not going to happen. You need to be able to problem solve for yourself. Also, our standing orders had to be scalable. They should work for large and small problems. Think Hurricane Harry or forest fires down to car accident or pool drowning; the response to disaster is the same.
First, establish security , for you the individual and your unit.
Next, establish support services such as food, shelter, medical services and communications.
Then, scout for potential threats, allies and supplies.
Finally, increase influence by connecting with other groups, individuals and local authorities to create a cooperative network.
These are the Four Standing Orders of the California State Militia. No matter where you are, no matter what the political, social or ecological terrain is, you can apply these orders so you can survive; and, if you have prepared, save your family and friends.
In the popular television series, Game of Thrones, the Stark family motto is “Winter is Coming.” The Boy Scouts of America say, “Be Prepared.” Walking Dead is popular, but awaking unprepared, like Rick Grimes- no thanks.
In order to plan for any disaster you need a plan that is flexible, scalable and places the power to make life saving decisions into your hands. A thick manual of plans for every situation conceivable is not practical. Rather, a simple plan that you can remember in the moment of your greatest stress is necessary and sufficient.
My plan is to Secure, Support, Scout and Influence. In the next segments I will explain each so that you can employ them to prepare yourself, your family and your friends.