M4S 117: What is Preparedness?

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Featured image of the official website post on what is readiness. What is preparedness? What are the goals of preparedness? How does preparedness apply to individuals, families, and communities? What’s a disaster? These are all crucial questions, which I will answer using my perspective and the Mind4Suvrival philosophy.

How Do You Define Preparedness?

I’ve done a deep dive into the definition of preparedness, and here’s my definition:

  • “All the efforts taken to minimize unwanted struggle and ensure survival.”

In other words, we all need to work to survive and experience less unwanted struggle.

Definition of readiness


It only makes sense that survival is part of the definition of preparedness. That’s because once you stop surviving, you’re dead. And, when you’re dead, getting prepared isn’t a concern.


Struggle is both wanted and unwanted.

Wanted struggle is doing something that, while possibly rewarding, causes us to struggle. Wanted struggle includes attending a class, going to the gym, taking on additional responsibility, etc.

Unwanted struggle is the adversity that we don’t want. This includes losing a job, experiencing an illness, a car breakdown, etc.

While we can avoid wanted struggles, we cannot avoid unwanted struggles. Instead, all we can do is to do our best to minimize our unwanted struggle.

What Are the Goals of Preparedness?

Now that I’ve defined preparing, let’s talk about the preparedness goals.

Goals of Preparedness

With that, the goals of preparedness are:

  1. to survive
  2. to minimize unwanted struggle

What Are Examples of Preparedness?

When it comes to an example of preparedness, the definition of preparedness states. Preparedness is:

  • “All the efforts taken to minimize unwanted struggle and ensure survival.”

Those efforts happen at the individual, family, and community levels.

Individual (Controllable)

Individuals prepare for risks, hazards, and personal response.

Individual preparedness is everything you do to survive and minimize unwanted struggle. Individual prepping is the basic building block of all preparedness.

The fact is, if EVERYONE prepares at the individual level, the need for external resources during times of adversity would be limited.

Preparing at the individual level includes your efforts to be better prepared. Perhaps that’s a course in hazard and risk mitigation, assembling an emergency kit, or training with first responders.

As you control yourself, your preparedness is controllable. The only time you have 100% control of your prepping efforts is at the individual level.

Family (Semi-Controllable)

Family emergencies, disaster risk reduction, and response.

Family preparedness consists of two or more close individuals who can rely on one another during difficult times.

I define family as any person you have enough regard for that you are willing to come to their aid and sacrifice for, and they you. While many consider family to be blood relatives, family, for the sake of those you can depend on and likewise feel dependable for, does not have to include blood relatives.

Family doesn’t help just during natural disasters. Families respond during anything that tests you and your family’s resilience. Perhaps you’re a mechanic and need help to recover from the theft of your tools. Your family brings resources to bear, and you have a new toolset.

Preparing for difficult times within a family unit is only semi-controllable. Even as the head of a family, you do not have 100% control over the people within your family. Therefore, you are limited in your control.

Community (No Controllability)

Whole community prevention, response, and recovery

Community preparedness includes all disaster prep efforts outside of individual and family preparedness. These efforts include group, local, state, regional, national, and international efforts.

When it comes to community preparation, even disaster agency leaders have little to no control over this level of prepping as it applies to individuals.

This lack of control to respond effectively by helping every person in need has shown itself in disaster events such as Hurricane Katrina and others.

So, the fact is that disaster risk reduction efforts, contingency planning, and effective response efforts by local communities, national authorities such as FEMA, and world organizations have repeatedly come up short.

How do I Define Disaster?

There are two types of disasters:

  1. Micro Disasters: Any disaster event that the individual and family unit can address effectively.
  2. Macro Disasters: Any disaster event which exceeds the ability of the individual or family unit to address effectively.

Early warning systems help combat macro level terrorism

The Bottom Line of Disaster Preparedness

As governments and local communities repeatedly come up short during disasters and other emergencies, the ability to prepare for disasters is, by its nature, the personal responsibility of every individual.

In the end, hanging your emergency preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery efforts on FEMA and others is, at best, taking a chance.

After all, does placing the fate of yourself and your loved ones in the hands of people and organizations, who have a track record of failure helping people when they need it, make any sense?

So, what do you think about individual responsibility? Tell us in the comments below.


Stay safe,

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1 Comment

  1. Michelle C. on December 18, 2021 at 5:53 am

    Nice article, really enjoy reading and listening to what you have to say. Thanks for sharing. 😊

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