Sunday, November 22, 2015

We're Bugging Out!

A bug-out bag is a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive for seventy-two hours, when evacuating from a disaster, however some kits are designed to last longer periods of time than just 72 hours. The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, distinguishing the bug-out bag from a survival kit, a boating or aviation emergency kit, or a fixed-site disaster supplies kit. The kits are also popular in the survivalism and prepper subcultures.

The term "bug-out bag" is related to, and possibly derived from, the "bail-out bag" emergency kit many military aviators carry. In the United States, the term refers to the Korean War practice of the U.S. Army designating alternate defensive positions, in the event that the units had to displace. They were directed to "bug out" when being overrun was imminent. The concept passed into wide usage among other military and law enforcement personnel, though the "bail-out bag" is as likely to include emergency gear for going into an emergency situation as for escaping an emergency.

The primary purpose of a bug-out bag is to allow one to evacuate quickly if a disaster should strike. It is therefore prudent to gather all of the materials and supplies that might be required to do this into a single place, such as a bag or a few storage containers. The recommendation that a bug-out bag contain enough supplies for seventy-two hours arises from advice from organizations responsible for disaster relief and management that it may take them up to seventy-two hours to reach people affected by a disaster and offer help.  The bag's contents may vary according to the region of the user, as someone evacuating from the path of a hurricane may have different supplies from someone who lives in an area prone to tornadoes or wildfires.

Where you going with this, Tom?

In today’s “living in the cloud” workplace, we are all connected. We all have email. We all have social media, smartphones, Facebook pages, LinkedIn, voicemail, Skype, VoIP. We have laptops, iPads, portable WiFi and the ability to be connected anytime, anywhere.

Scenario A: Bad Weather is Coming Soon!
If you KNOW that a (snow storm, hurricane, typhoon, etc.) is on its way, did you prepare your “Go Bag” in the cloud? Did you pre-record an updated voicemail message? Do you have a storm related autoresponder email vacation/away message all set and ready to go, at the click of a mouse? Can you re-route or forward your business phone lines, or change your phone tree greeting in seconds? Do you have a social media strategy all set and ready to go? Can you alert clients, vendors, suppliers and staff “via the cloud” and via your perfected “checklist” that you can activate in seconds?  If not, you have work to do. With today’s cloud technology, what is your excuse to NOT have such a strategy in place, ready to go with a click of a mouse?

Scenario B: Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Not everything comes with an advanced warning - but very few things in life are truly a surprise. Sadly, family members will have accidents. Sometimes minor, sometimes serious. Our children will cut their finger bad enough to need stitches - without any warning. In today’s always on, globally connected world, at any moment there can be an event that we “did not see coming.” But, were we really so completely and totally surprised? When it happens “to us” should we be so shocked that SOMETHING happened that caused us to change our plans for the day (or our plans for the week or the month)? If you never saw it coming, you were not looking very hard.

“Common sense is not very common.” We hear this saying all too often. Earthquakes have a way of sneaking up on us. Hurricanes, not so much. A young puppy who gets into the holiday candy might need an emergency trip to the vet. If you have “kids” (human or otherwise) you know that at any moment, your Monday Morning plans can change. If you are the primary caregiver to an elderly family member, and you are still trying to manage a career, a job, a life - did you take the necessary steps to prepare for the inevitable “Boss, I need to take a few days off” conversation? 

Did you properly prepare your “Bug-Out bag” out of respect for your boss, your clients, your vendors, your co-workers?  

I tell my global remote staff to think: how does a hospital, airport or even busy restaurant run? How does a grade school teacher “call in sick” without causing total chaos? They prepared for the inevitable. Teachers, waiters and even air traffic controllers can all get the flu. Everyone has parents, many of us have children. We all need to prepare to be prepared. It is our DUTY as responsible adults - it is our duty as global citizens to be prepared. Very few things in life are truly unforeseen. When we say that something hit us “out of the blue” it makes us look foolish for not being prepared for the inevitable. It’s called life people. Blaming it on being surprised, while knowing what we know about life on planet earth is never going to cut it.

Having our “bug-out bags” ready to go at all times is our responsibility. Technology can certainly help us to be more responsible citizens, but it starts with us. The tools (both physical and virtual) are there, but we need to pick them up and use them - before and during the storm.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.


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