Mindset is critical before, during, and after a disaster. We will categorize disaster preparedness mindset into three timelines. Pre-Event, Event, and Post Event. A wise preparedness mindset will balance all 3 in correct proportion with a primary focus on pre-event.

Pre-Event Mindset

The pre-event disaster preparedness mindset should not be one of fear. Rather, we must consider possibilities with wisdom, reality, and care. Our primary goal during the pre-event mindset is to remove the D step from the OODA loop. The OODA loop consists of 4 steps, Observe, Orientate, Act, Decide.

  1. Observe surroundings and situation
  2. Orientate to the observations (process them)
  3. Decide how to act (this is the step we can eliminate almost completely)
  4. Act
OODA Loop Diagram, Observe, Orientate, Act, Decide

By using our imagination to place ourselves in a situation before it has ever happened, we are able to make a decision ahead of time. You wake up, your home is on fire. Do you know exactly what you will do and the exact order that you will do it in? Do you need to get your kids? Papers? Photos? Computer? By using our disaster preparedness mindset pre-event, we’ve already made the decision, and now only have to carry out the action.

Event Mindset

During a disaster event our senses will likely be overwhelmed. This is where pre-event disaster preparedness mindset shows. As many decisions as possible should have already been made, and now we are simply carrying them out. Have you yourself been in, or observed anyone else encounter an accident, be attacked, or otherwise be put into a high stress situation? What was the reaction? Many will freeze, unable to complete the OODA loop fast enough or at all. Even the most timid/indecisive person, typically incapable of dealing with life-threatening events will be able to react quickly and properly if they have already prepared themselves for the given situation.

Keeping a positive and hopeful attitude will likely save your life. It will keep you going when the odds may be stacked against you. That attitude will be even more important if you have others around you – family, friends, especially children. We often look to others to determine our emotions during times of trouble. Be the person that keeps everyone else moving towards the goal.

Post-Event Mindset

The post event disaster preparedness mindset is probably the least talked about part of preparedness. Many fantasize the end of the world, so there is no post event. Others only worry about surviving the immediate dangers. Consider a hurricane that comes through a coastal town. Houses are destroyed, electricity will be out for 3 weeks, and local businesses are unable to supply for your needs for 4-16 weeks. Despite only losing your roof, contractors are limited due to the sheer amount of destruction. It will be approximately 18 months before you have a livable home again. How will you make it through the next 18 months?

In the United States we idolize “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps”. What if you don’t even have boots anymore? Having a support system of family, friends, a community, or a church can only help. Don’t worry, plenty of hard work will still be required from your side! Create relationships now that will be there when they are needed most. It goes both ways, others will help you, and you’ll help others. Be the person who creates a community that can provide support during disaster.

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