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Either You've Faced Crisis, or You Will...

The Oxford dictionary defines "crisis" as a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger -- or, alternatively -- a time when a difficult or important decision must be made (which may also create opportunity). Generally speaking, everyone has either faced crisis, or will. The degree or scale of a crisis situation may vary widely -- it may range from being very personal and private to affecting many people -- perhaps even an entire geographic area, or the whole planet.

[enough said, for now...]

Avoiding Crisis or Reducing its Severity

In general, it is better to anticipate and avoid a crisis than to endure it, and better to mitigate the effects of crisis than to deal with unmitigated consequences. Of course, both are easier said than done -- some sort of effort is required. In most cases, effective crisis anticipation, avoidance, and mitigation will all require appropriate preparation and response. Nonetheless, we all eventually face crisis, and usually more than once. Our ability to prepare in advance greatly affects our ability to respond appropriately. Even simple, inexpensive steps, thoughtfully taken in advance, can make a huge difference in likely outcomes.

[enough said, for now...]

The Importance of Preparation, Including Understanding Who or What is Vulnerable and at Risk

Preparation is paramount to avoid paralyzing panic and fear.

When crisis occurs or is imminent, someone or something (or some future outcome) is at risk of being damaged, destroyed, or taken from us. Crisis anticipation, avoidance, and mitigation are often about protecting (or minimizing risk to) someone or something we care about. In risk terminology, that someone or something is an asset. Thus, assets are whomever and whatever we want to protect. These assets may be very general or quite specific, since we cannot protect everyone and everything all the time, it is important to zero in on the assets needing extra focus and attention.

While it may seem like protecting assets is a matter of arbitrarily or selfishly picking and choosing whomever or whatever is most important to us ("key" assets) , that's really not how it works (fortunately!). Identifying and/or prioritizing assets is important to some degree (e.g., people are more important than things), but there's a lot more to it.

[enough said, for now...]

Reducing Vulnerabilities of People and Infrastructure

Preparation is required both for people (e.g., knowledge, situational awareness, training, skills, etc.) and infrastructure (e.g., technology such as communications, power, shelter, water, food, transport, etc.).

On the technology side, there should be minimal bias toward "high-tech" vs. "low-tech" -- the general focus should be on on having what you need when you need it, having it work reliably, and knowing how to use it. It may be analogous to a parachute -- "If you need it and don't have it, it may be the last time you need it. " Rather than go it alone, it may be much easier for any group of people to cooperate, such that collectively, they are better prepared than they would be otherwise.

[enough said, for now...]

The Importance of Mutual Aid

However a crisis is dealt with, it is almost always better to have help. Our vision of "Helping people help each other" starts with enabling and encouraging mutual aid. The concept of mutual aid begins with cooperation within and among families, and extends to cooperation within and among neighborhoods and communities. Communities may be physical (e.g., within a geographical area) or logical (e.g., people who work or play together, or frequent or belong to the same church, school, recreational facility, etc.).

[enough said, for now...]

Sustainable Infrastructure Systems vs. Survivable Infrastructure Services

Until this year, we've used the phrase "Survivable Infrastructure Services" to refer to such things as the ongoing availability of the means to provide for physiological needs. Thus, for example, the previous emphasis on survivability and services might tend to address the survivability of the service of providing clean water to drink rather than the sustainability of the infrastructure system that to provide the water. In other words, the focus was on providing access to clean water service that would survive the cause of crisis. However, that access to clean water might be very temporary, rather than being sustainable for as long as you need it. It could be the difference between having enough drinking water for a day or two, or perhaps a week, versus having a continuous supply that may be modest, but ongoing.

Moving forward, we'll be using the phrase "Sustainable Infrastructure Systems" to refer to these same concepts. The notion of "survivability" has not gone away, but has been subsumed into our notion of "sustainability" (which also subsumes, and goes well beyond, the notion of environmental sustainability that is ever-present in the current media). Nonetheless, since our technology concepts have always been good for the planet (environmentally sustainable), and we now have new technologies that provide leading-edge advances in environment sustainability, we've decided to directly incorporate a focus on sustainability into our CRISIS-FORCE acronym. Note that the logo image below reflects the previous "Survivable Infrastructure Services" phrasing (now deprecated).

[enough said, for now...]

Contact Information

If you would like to help out, or learn more, please reach out to one of our founders via email:

Dave Duchesneau (pronounced doo-SHAY-no)
Email: ddd@crisis-force.org