*Layering, Redundancy & Alternatives*
30 January 2010
Sometimes it's what you know, sometimes it's what you have and in other situations it's a combination of the two. One of the things you'll noticed about professionals in any field is that they have the right tools to do the job as well as the knowledge AND experience to know when and how to best use those tools. Three very important tools that we have are available to us are Layering, Redundancy and Alternatives. Odds are you've already incorporated these things into your activities but sometimes it is beneficial to take a look at things from a little different perspective.
Layers are essentially backups. You already have layers and just may not be looking at it as such. Let's use your food supplies as an example:
- The 2 weeks supply that's currently in the kitchen cupboard and in the fridge
- The 3 month supply that's in the pantry
- The 9 month supply that you have stored for resupply of the pantry and/or packed for bug out
- The sustainable supply that's planted in the garden/roaming around the pasture/swimming in the pond
- The stuff that you know you can reliably obtain by purchasing, bartering or foraging
Ok, you're layered, now let's look at some redundancy - it can also be called overlapping capability. This is an incremental approach to selecting a tool or technique to perform a task. I'll use bladed tools as the example:
- You can perform many of the same tasks with your pocket folder that you can with your large fixed blade knife
- If you have a decent sized & quality fix blade then you can use it not only to accomplish the chores that push the limits of your pocket folder but also some of the tasks in the light work range of your hatchet
- Your hatchet overlaps with the light work of your axe
- Your axe is pretty much just as capable as your chainsaw but there are times when you really want the efficiency of the chainsaw
We all know that one is none, two is one and three is a back-up but I think it's important to try to apply that not just to gear but to our abilities in as many areas as possible. It's not enough to have something to do the job but you should strive to have the ability to accomplish your task by an alternative means.
- Although you always have access to matches, lighter and a ferrocerium rod, how confident are you of your ability to get a fire started with an improvised method using other material on hand (bow or hand drill, battery & steel wool, etc)
- Do you I have the knowledge, skill and equipment to secure the airway of a trauma victim either manually, mechanically, or surgically?
- Having a supply of diesel fuel on hand is good but do you have a plan for procuring more? How about knowing how to make more yourself?
So exactly how do you employ these 3 concepts? That's going to vary for everybody based on different individual situations and needs but you can start by taking a look at how you might apply them to various areas of your overall plan (these are just a few random examples for illustration purposes):
- Layered - pepper spray, pistol, shotgun, rifle (sometimes layers also represent escalating capability)
- Redundant - if you've got more than one of each then you have achieved redundancy
- Alternatives - unarmed techniques, knives, improvised weapons, guard dog, etc...
- Layered - Got a steady source of potable water? Got some stored? Do you have a plan & the equipment you need to make more?
- Redundant - Do you have multiple sources? How about multiple storage sites? More than one filter?
- Alternatives - Can you drill/dig a new well? How about rainwater catchment?
- Layered - Your home, your BOL, your temporary shelter plan
- Redundant - Repair/replacement supplies (like standard roofing fencing material), emergency material for temporary fixes (tarps, plastic sheeting), camper, tents
- Alternatives - family/friends, campground, hotel, Bed & Breakfast...
- Layered - Motor vehicle, bicycle, afoot
- Redundant - Multiple vehicles, a group travel plan, emergency repair capability
- Alternatives - various routes depending on various modes (which roads if by car/truck, which water route if by boat, which trails on horseback or bike, what airstrips are within range of your aircraft...)
Again, most people already incorporate these concepts into their plans but sometimes you can identify gaps by listing out things deliberately. Taking the "one is none, two is one and three is a backup" approach with each of the aspects will help keep you from putting all your eggs in one basket - at least 3 layers with triple redundancy and 3 ways to execute should give you more than enough options to choose from in order to ensure your plan works.
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