Category Archives: eBook Chapters

Why Communities Need to Plan for Disasters

Introduction – Today’s post is going to focus on communities. It is easier to get corporations to change or develop a 3CFortress but today I’m going to think BIG. Changing a community to have more 3CF qualities may take some time but neighborhood or a section can do it at a time.

Main Essay – Here are a couple of case studies to get you thinking:

Case Study: Joplin, Missouri — Tornado

On May 22, 2011, an EF5 (wind speeds of 200 mph) struck Joplin, Missouri. The path of the tornado was 13 miles long and 1 mile wide. Despite the widespread destruction, Government agencies and responders in Joplin still had to respond to the disaster.

  • 17,000 people were directly affected, including 161 people who lost their lives.
  • 7,500 homes were destroyed or damaged.
  • 553 businesses were destroyed.
  • Ten schools were not functional (six destroyed, four damaged), and 4,200 students were displaced.
  • Two fire stations were destroyed.
  • One of two hospitals was destroyed.
  • Buildings not destroyed were often uninhabitable due to destruction of critical infrastructure.
  • Employees and responders were also personally affected.

The Joplin tornado exemplifies an emergency that required the widespread activation of continuity plans. Localities and Government agencies needed to:

  • Assess and select a course of action to coordinate the re-establishment of supply chain for critical goods and services.
  • Locate suitable structures to support temporary schools, hospitals, and medical facilities.
  • Address impact to public safety (fire protection coverage and EMS response times) and damage to response vehicles.
  • Assess critical infrastructure systems for power restoration, street signage, traffic control lights, outdoor warning, water, sanitation, and communications.

Case Study: Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina is another example of an emergency that required the widespread activation of continuity plans.

As a result of Hurricane Katrina:

  • 83 General Services Administration-owned and -leased buildings were damaged in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.
  • 2,600 Federal employees from 28 agencies had to be relocated.
  • Numerous Federal, State, and local offices were affected.

AND YET, despite this large-scale emergency, The National Finance Center paid half a million Federal workers on time during Hurricane Katrina, without delays.

How was this possible?

Due to continuity plans, The National Finance Center took the following actions which minimized the hurricane’s effects on essential functions:

  • Surged work force before the hurricane’s landfall, allowing completion of payroll processing for Federal employees
  • Shut down operations and deployed to backup locations
  • Backup data was trucked out of the New Orleans facility
  • Advance deployment team moved to backup sites
  • Began catch-up processing within a 50-hour period

However, it’s important to remember that continuity plans are also necessary in emergencies much smaller than Hurricane Katrina (e.g., threat of impending emergency, power failures, water-main break, snow or ice storms).

Both of these, along with Sandy, should inspire any community/town/city to start their risk analysis tomorrow. I’ve mentioned before that response and recovery can’t be planned for after something like this hits. You need to develop a plan ahead of time so that you can execute it rather than react.

Both of these are great examples where some ‘devolution’ is necessary. This means moving to another facility or setting up a temporary facility.

How do you make this happen with the least amount of ‘pain’? Plan ahead for this by looking at other buildings/facilities and knowing how to convert a building into a temporary office, school or hospital. In some cases this could be tents or having transportation ready to move people and equipment to the alternate site.

Many of the 3CF concepts can provide mitigation to many of the impacts listed above. Housing destroyed or inaccessible can go to the long-term stay hotel tower. Tents can be set up on the grounds so they are in a secure area.

The 3CF office tower can accommodate displaced companies in unused space or doubling up in others. Apartments/Condos can be used as temporary office spaces. Executives can live in the back (bedroom area) and work out of the front (living room area). Can RV’s be parked in a secure area and be used for office and living spaces?

Not every 3CFortress will already have an Urgent Care facility but having one to catch hospital overflow or mass casualties would save many lives.

The hotel tower conference or meeting rooms can be used as classrooms. If trailers are available for this then move them close to or within the 3CF facility.

What the case studies don’t say speaks volumes. Think of all the people that went to the Super Dome thinking that they were going to a (viable) shelter. Conditions there became hell on earth. Don’t fall into the thinking that “the box was checked on that”. If you plan for and/or announce that you have a shelter make sure it is viable and staffed to accommodate victims. If it reaches its limit then where do the turn aways go?

Every part of your disaster or continuity plan has to be tested and rehearsed. Why not turn a local event into one that is held at the shelter facility. Don’t say it is a rehearsal for a disaster. Few will come, as most people don’t want to think about it. See if local businesses will provide some free give aways to those attending the event. Give people an incentive to come.

After each exercise or rehearsal make sure you do an after action report. Make sure that there is a corrective action plan on every follow up item shown as “needs improvement”. If you don’t, then plan on dealing with your own Super Dome catastrophe on top over everything else going wrong.

One last point on the two case studies is the Federal government will be impacted by catastrophic disasters just as much as the local government and citizens in the impact area. Look at what the finance center did to keep people getting paid. What would your community do to keep getting people paid, stay in business or continue essential functions?

National response has improved since Katrina and was very good in the Joplin case. But response takes time and recovery takes even longer. This is why I recommend your disaster or continuity plans should be a minimum of thirty days and more like ninety days. Sandy recovery, for many areas, was 120 days or longer.

Do you see the need for communities, of all sizes, to start planning for a disaster or crisis now? If your community leaders have thought ahead and have a plan then when was the last time it was reviewed or tested? Deficiencies in any area will cost lives.

Check It Out – Hopefully your community is one of the ones that were awarded with a Community Preparedness Award. One is from New Orleans. Wonder what made them think to be better prepared?

See the full list at:

There are different categories and honorable mentions. If your community is not listed then ask your leaders and emergency planners where your community stands on disaster or crisis planning. Don’t forget events like Ferguson or man-made disasters.

Quick Tip – September is National Preparedness Month. Go to to learn more. This week is about wildfires but several other disasters are listed. No doubt one affects your area from one of the disasters listed.

Look Who’s Talking – 2015 has already shown to be a year to remember as far as declared disasters affecting many states. Follow any of the links in today’s post to another link and look into what resources are available to get your planning started. Make your community case study one to be copied by other communities as one to follow.

What Do You Think? – Was your community hit? Was it prepared? What can be done to prepare for the next one?

Who needs a 3CFortress?

Who needs a 3CFortress? A fundamental question! A 3CFortress, or 3CF for short, encompasses many things that are key to continuity and making one as self-sufficient as possible. But the fundamentals benefit certain groups more than others. At the micro level the beneficial groups are companies (corporations), retail, hotel, farm and apartment/condo housing residents. That’s a lot of people.


Let’s take a look at each group that benefits from a 3CFortress.

The benefit to a corporation is continuity or simply staying in business during a crisis through the time it takes until it is over. Plenty of web sites and papers are available on Continuity Plans however none of them will come close to how a 3CF pulls together essential players in a way that everyone wins. None of them “Adapt” to what is available in order to survive. A 3CF protects the company’s most precious commodity. No, not the “data”…employees are the commodity I’m talking about. The crisis is any of the risks identified when you started planning.

Since a string of retail stores is on the first floor they will benefit from being in a secure area. Think Ferguson, Missouri and how one business after another was looted and most burned. A 3CFortress would not be fortress unless advanced security measures were built into the facility. Retails stores will provide some of the basics needed during any crisis. They have to be protected and not just with barriers. The retail area should have one restaurant or food court to feed the office, hotel and people living in the 3CF. It is stocked and supplied by the farm and other sources as transportation allows.

One anchor piece to a 3CFortress is the hotel tower. The hotel should not be an “ordinary” hotel. It should be one of the “extended stay” types so that families not living in the 3CFortress can move in and be within the secure perimeter. The hotel staff becomes a logistical operation to keep the 3CFortress going. Getting the employees to the 3CF is one of the top priorities.

Securing the farms (farm families) and enabling transportation from the farm to the 3CF is a key function of sustaining the 3CF. Getting fresh food to the 3CF extends the time of survivability. More on that to follow.

The people living at the 3CFortress will include the key players in the corporation, hotel and other mission essential functions of the 3CF. Already having them in place removes the risk and delay of moving them to this location. The hotel conference center now becomes the command center.

There you have it. Several groups benefit from a 3CFortress but they do this by helping each other survive a crisis. Each group has a part to play in making sure the mission is accomplished. A 3CFortress enables the business to keep producing while protecting the lives of everyone involved.

3CF is a powerful concept. Companies have contingency plans that include devolution or moving to another site during a crisis. But none of them have all the components of a 3CFortress working together. No family, retreat or compound has all the needed components either. Whether it is a survival plan, continuity plan or crisis plan it must be comprehensive and sustainable through a time frame longer than 30 days (minimum) to more like ninety plus days. Take out one part of the 3CF plan and it all falls apart. It will fail early with no change of recovery.


Check it Out – At the time I’m writing this post there are several wildfires out West. Better add that to your risk analysis if you are an area than could have wildfires. Just like the spring and summer flooding, planning for a wildfire should not be discounted if the threat is not for fifty to one hundred years. One area the fire claimed something like 140 homes. There has to be some mitigating factors or ways to reduce the threat. As the fire is approaching is not the time to come up with a plan.


Quick Tip – In any long-term crisis meat can be a problem. To keep the supply from spoiling it is used immediately or in very short order. Keeping a ranch secure from looters could be a problem. One solution is to come up with a “green” diet consisting of vegetables, nuts and fruits. Read up on this but take a look at “Eat to Live” by Joel Furhman. I know it is on my reading list.


Look Who’s Talking – Is Solar coming back as an option? Electric vehicles too? I’ve seen a few companies marketing and advertising that solar is a viable option. Some of them are on Facebook. Can’t hurt to check them out. Once you figure out and verify both Federal and State rebates then forge on. The time for a low interest rate might be gone in the near future.

What do you think? Always need to hear back on whether or not the benefits mentioned will inspire you to make a difference in your organization. Make a difference by thinking and acting on a plan to build a 3CFortress.

Building Urgency for a 3CFortress Plan

Introduction – Bear with me as a I try to build on the urgency for communities and corporations to start a 3CFortress program. Why? Because your very survival depends on it. Simple as that.

I am doing this with a different approach. What you will see is a one-sentence (statement or question) lead in with a short response. I am fascinated with those small books you see in bookstores. This different approach is an attempt to write this post in that style.

Main Essay – Do you have a plan to survive a crisis or disaster? Yes or no?

Yes. Great! When is the last time you updated it? Hmmm…better look into the 3CFortress concept before you do.

No. Rut row! Better get that plan started or your chances of survival are greatly reduced.

What happens to those that do not plan?

Companies go out of business. One out of three on average. Communities put their residence through hell or force them to move on.


Why would any company or community want to put their residents through a Katrina like disaster? Oh, a disaster like that would never hit “here”!

Never is a powerful word. Another powerful word is “Risk”.

Have you looked at the RISKS to your community or corporation? Yes or No?

Yes. Move on to the section on updating your PLAN. No. Rut row, again, as this is something you need to look into ASAP.

Risk Management is a tough subject that I will leave for a larger book. Safe to say that you need to look at everything that could impact your “C” (Company or Community).

Looking at the risks, what impact they can have and the probability of them will end up pushing you to start planning.

Remember the 5 P’s. Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Poor performance = Little chance of Survival.

You do want to Survive don’t you? Keep reading.

3CFortress will make you think about all this in a different way. A different approach. A simpler approach.

Hope your sitting down…here comes a big word. Continuity.

Several definitions do not help make this word easier to understand. It is used in several ways unrelated to crisis or disaster planning.

Using a thesaurus shows another word “stability”. Stability is easy to understand.

A Stability Plan = Great Chance of Survival.

What could cause a plan to fail?

Plans fail for three main reasons. 1) No testing or practice, 2) Too much focus on Rescue/Recovery and 3) Missed the Big Picture.

1) If you don’t test, rehearse or practice you plan then crisis events can put you in a very bad situation. So bad that you can’t recover.

2) Rescue and Recovery is needed in every plan but too much focus has negative consequences. 3CFortress offers a way to minimize the need for these stages.

3) Missing the Big Picture means that you assume that certain parts of your system will always be operational. Assuming that essential needs will met can prove to be a costly mistake. A 3CFortress takes into consideration “sustainability”.

Sustainability, yes another big word, and self-supporting are key concepts in a 3CFortress system.

How does the “Living Triangle” fit into the 3CFortress Big Picture?

A “Living Triangle” is similar to the “working triangle” used in the kitchen. The triangle points are Home-Work-Play.

Home is where you live whether it is a house, apartment or condominium. Work is your place of employment. Play means several things such as: Parks, retail stores, restaurants, etc.

How many of you have to drive to your “Living Triangle” points? Most likely 95% plus of you have to have a vehicle. Vehicle traffic is a real problem during any crisis or disaster.

Getting the number of people able to walk their “Living Triangle” is another key 3CFortress concept. Walking to your “points” increases everyone’s survival during a crisis or disaster.

Side note: Think about how many spaces the residential garage now requires. Dad having a vehicle became dad and mom. Then the kids over 16 need their own car. And we wonder why traffic is an every growing issue?

One solution to walkability issues is public transportation. True, it is not what most people consider an alternative to driving themselves to where they need to go. Public transportation needs to be readily available, safe, clean to the point that everyone feels comfortable while riding.

Another way to look at the Big Picture is AdIOS. Adapt Improvise Overcome Survive.

Adapt deals with changing to fit your local conditions. A plan a desert area will not be the same as a plan near a farming community. How do you need to change to adapt to your environment?

Improvise is what you do when your plan starts to go bad. What if your plan dealt with three days but the crisis goes on into 30 days? After any plan test or rehearsal you update the plan accordingly. Improvise can be contingency plans where you think about, “What if?” You should never be in a reactionary response mode.

Overcome or another word is prevail. Your plan got you through the crisis or disaster. Congratulations! No plan or flawed plans have little chance to overcome the challenges in a crisis.

Survival means your plan got you through an adverse condition, i.e. a crisis or disaster. Survival means you stay in business. You beat the odds by having a solid plan.

Are you starting to see the benefits of a plan…a 3CFortress plan?

If you think that a 3CFortress plan or concept is just renaming a conventional plan then dig deeper. From the very beginning of planning 3CF enables you to take a different approach.

The 3CFortress concept will improve your chances of stability in day-to-day operations and survivability for any crisis or disaster. 3CF does this in a way no other company provides.

I hope that this “one sentence” approach gets you, your family, your community or your company wanting to take a closer look at the 3CFortress concept.


Check It Out – Primarily for my own benefit the Main Essay section has an FK/FRE score of 8.4. I am very happy with this as most continuity articles come out with a score around 12. Average words per sentence: 10.1. All this makes the reading easier to understand.

Quick Tip – See what the Small Business Administration has to say about preparedness.

Look Who’s Talking – Your plan needs to have an appendix or annex to deal with stress and fatigue. Both of these can apply to daily activities or work-related in a crisis or disaster. Read more on the web site and look for brochure TF-008 / October 2009 titled “Work-Related Fatigue”.

What Do You Think? – I always ask this. At some point I will have people opt in. At some point I will put out a once a week newsletter. Stay tuned!

4 Phases of Continuity Operations

Introduction – Time to get back to the basics for a minute and talk about the four phases of continuity operations. Continuity means keeping the community or corporation/business going through a crisis or disaster.

The four phases are “Readiness & Preparedness”, “Activation & Relocation”, “Continuity Operations”, and “Reconstitution”. The reference for this is the website but I have to mention that I don’t rely/agree 100% with everything put out by I do agree that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel so I will use these four phases and specifically point out where I venture into my own 3CFortress ideas.

The Four Phases of Continuity Operations

Readiness & Preparedness

I doubt anyone can argue that being prepared is the first step or phase for any continuity planning. Isn’t that what the Boy Scouts have been saying for years, “Be prepared”? Before you can use my main acronym, AdIOS – Adapt Improvise Overcome Survival, you have to prepare…take steps to start building a plan.

It goes without saying that if you are going to prepare then the crisis hasn’t started yet. If it has then time to prepare has run out. You are now in the reactionary mode. It is always better to prepare and be ready.

In this phase you start to develop the plan or review/revise if one is already started. If you do have a plan in place then now is the time to figure out how to train, test and evaluate that plan.

Another first step in the development of a plan is Risk Management. That deserves a whole chapter so I will only hit the highlights for now. You have to know what you are up against. What are the threats and hazards (natural and man-made) that the community or corporation have to deal with, what impact and probability of their occurrence and how will you deal with them? This is a major step that you can’t rush through.

Activation & Relocation

After you have a plan approved then a key step is activating that plan. Here is where you communication plan becomes a make or break step. Did you test your communications plan? Do you have a team in place that was monitoring the situation? Does everyone understand how to receive the activation and what to do? People going in the wrong direction or not knowing what to do are not what you want at this point.

On the point of relocation I advise any corporation or business to develop your plan so this is not needed. The standard is to relocate within twelve hours to a different facility for a period of thirty days. It is easy to think how communicating and getting people to move is not easily accomplished no matter how many times you have rehearsed it.

My point is to plan for your main facility to become a 3CFortress that is self-sustaining at least for thirty days. If you compare how complex relocating is to planning a shelter in place facility is going to be much better in the long run especially if the crisis or disaster goes beyond thirty days. We’ve seen plenty of disasters go well beyond thirty days before normal operations returned.

Turning your community or corporate facility into a 3CFortress means you are not only planning for key employees but their families as well. In order for essential functions to be performed you have to provide for the entire daily needs that they require. This is another point that most plans don’t consider. As Super Storm Sandy showed us, many of these basic services were interrupted for longer than thirty days. Not only did this create a crisis on a personal level it forced many businesses to close forever.

When the crisis is developing it is a good idea to use a Decision Matrix. The site mentions a good one to use and the military uses a more detailed process for this and much more when developing a plan. It is called the Military Decision Making Process.

Along with identifying the threats and hazards is thinking about what the “triggers” are for these events. It is rare that an event goes from no notice to a full-blown event. Identifying the triggers provides a decision point to up the awareness, alert teams and prepare for the next step or phase.

Alert and Notification

Back to the communications plan for alert and notifications… about the changing situation. Any change in the situation may involve staging of additional supplies and preparing for movement of supplies and personnel. Do employees/citizens need to prepare their drive-away kits now?

Continuity Operations

This is the main event for continuity. It means you have twelve hours to move to another facility or if there is no movement then to remain up and running in the primary facility for the next thirty days or as needed. Up and running means all the essential functions identified in the continuity plan are still operational. The key leaders and employees are performing their tasks without having to worry about their loved ones. In the 3CFortress model this can mean moving families to the main facility hotel, which is now operating in the long-term stay mode. Any vacant housing within safe walking distance (think “living triangle” or Work-Play-Live) of the main facility can be used as overflow housing.

Accountability, strict accountability, is needed at this point to keep personnel, supplies, everything from getting out of line. No plan goes exactly as planned but keeping a close tab on operations will prevent a lot of headaches. Is anyone not working out of the main facility (telework)? They need to be accounted for and taken care of. How are you support partners holding up? If there is a problem in your supply-chain then you better know about it as far in advance as possible.


Once the crisis or disaster has passed then the decision is made to return to normal operations. While this should happen as quickly as possible it should not be done in haste. Reconstitution should have its own phases and have leadership involvement.

If this is a community going through a recovery phase it can mean meeting with FEMA and State emergency management personnel that will advise you on what awards are possible for any damages suffered during the disaster.

As you get deeper into your continuity plan, all these phases will be integrated into the big picture and become clearer.

Check It Out – Since I have mentioned the website, I can recommend you go there for more information on the four phases of continuity operations and more details in other related areas.

Quick Tip – When you are looking at your supply-chain it pays to look at how much debt they carry. Many of the energy industries are heavy into debt banking on future operations to relieve this burden. It is a good idea to have redundant or backup plans to suppliers involved in your plan.

Look Who’s Talking – Responded to one survival web site that had people still claiming that bunkers are a viable option for individuals and families. Not so in my opinion. Think about the phases we just talked about and if they could be fit into using a bunker scenario within twelve hours of activation and for thirty days in duration? Gaps, problems with the bunker scenario start popping up quickly and can’t be resolved.

What Do You Think? – Getting a plan started in your community or business depends on you. It depends on you getting it started and getting leaders involved. Leaders have the ability to designate key personnel to work on the continuity plan and make sure it has enough financial backing. Like all long journeys, this one starts with one step…in the right direction.

Why a 3CFortress Needs to be Secure

Security, in this day and age, needs to be a top priority both in everyday life and even more so during a crisis. If your “living triangle” is not secure then you face the option of leaving…otherwise known as bugging out.

While you are in your home you need to feel safe. Can you get out to grab something at the store? In daylight? After sunset? Can you go for a recreational walk and be safe from attackers? Are you safe at your place of employment?

These are some of the questions that I want to deal with today.


In my acronym AdIOS the “S” stands for Survive. You can’t survive if you are not in a secure environment. Being in a secure environment means that physical security for where you live and the surrounding complex is free from unauthorized access. Corporations, hotels, campuses and apartment/condominiums work to prevent unauthorized access every day. A 3CFortress has to do the same thing to include the whole “living triangle”. This is a tough task that needs a professional evaluation and it has to work 24 x 7.

In addition to physical security the same is true for information security. I won’t speak too much about this in this post.

How do you know when you are in a secure environment? Think of it at the most basic level which is your wallet or purse. When you put your wallet in your back pocket you do that because you know it is safe there. If you move through an area where there may be pickpockets, you might move it to your front pocket for more security. This is “situational awareness”.

At your office, entry to your workspace may normally require some type of ID card to gain access. Someone using a borrowed or stolen card can gain access to that area. Security, if they feel the system has been compromised in some way, can institute checks that match the picture on the card with the person carrying it. Same as moving your wallet to your front pocket, companies take steps to make the area secure.

Both of these security examples fit in with the acronym AdIOS with “Ad” adapting and “I” improvising to fit both the everyday and special situations.

I like the definition for “secure”: 1. Free from danger or attack: a secure fortress.

There you have it.

Free from danger in everyday life is accomplished is several ways. Local law enforcement plays a big part in this. If you feel that local LE can react in a timely manner there is little doubt that you are in a secure neighborhood. If concealed carry is perceived to be common in your area then this too provides an atmosphere of security. You can take a walk and not fear an attack. If this carries over after the sun sets then all the more better.

This feeling of being secure may fade or go away completely in a time of crisis. Look at Katrina, Greece protests and in the USA the city of Ferguson. If there is looting in your local area (living triangle) then normal everyday security has to adapt and improvise hopefully with a contingency plan. One that was approved and practiced long before the crisis started.

You can’t go to a store if looting is taking place or burning of stores is taking place. In a 3CFortress the idea is that you can walk down from your living quarters to the first floor retail stores without fear of attack. Someone owns the store there that lives close by or in the complex, implemented procedures to secure the store but still allow access from the 3CFortress side. Street or outside access may be highly restricted and guarded well enough to meet the threat. An office or corporate site inside the 3CFortress would institute increased security procedures so that residents can get to their workspace.

Increased security measures are meant to keep the facility secure and in business until the crisis subsides and life returns to pre-crisis living conditions. One of the key concepts of a 3CFortress is keeping the business open and running. This can only happen if the people working there can get to their workspace, do their job function and not fear for their family while they are at work. Along with this is the ability to get everyday items such as food and water. Do you have this at your place of employment? For your corporation? Can you do this from where you currently live? Is food and water still available after 72 hours and/or what do you have stored to last at least that long?

Security is one of the points that I stress shows the need to change from the way they are today. Change (adaptation) needs to happen to your “living triangle” for all three points: home/living, work and recreation/retail. If not, then you are faced with bugging out (leaving) to a secure or safe area. Keep in mind you are moving from an unsecure area, through an unsecure area and trying to avoid the congestion that comes when everyone tries to leave at the same time. Bugging out is a tough option to implement and may not be as viable as you think!

If you can’t get to work then your income goes to zero. If you opt to go into your bunker (also not advised) then your income is zero and how in the world do you know when it is safe to come out. If your business is not open, the option to go to work no longer exists. Think of any large-scale natural disaster (Katrina, Sandy) or man-made crisis (terrorism) and how many businesses failed to reopen after the crisis lifted. Many estimates put that failure rate at 30 percent or higher. Which outcome do you want to be a part of?

Start thinking today about a way through a potential crisis or threat. Think about using AdDIOS and 3CFortress. Future articles will address the “How” in greater detail along with resources already out there that are free to use.

Check It Out –

Security is a crisis will always be a concern but what if your everyday security is not so good?

In a 5 Minute Forecast article it talked about how the Miami mayor cut $64 million from the 2014-15 budget. This translated to cutting about 250 police jobs. If you had insecurity issues before then how is 250 less cops going make you feel? Or how about the recommendation from the head of the police union:

“If the mayor’s not going to provide security, then my recommendation, as an experienced law enforcement office for nearly 40 years, is either buy yourself an attack dog, put bars on your windows and doors or get yourself some firearms because you’re going to have to protect yourselves”.

Not exactly what I could call comforting advice.

As a security professional I have to warn you that it takes more than just these measures to feel “secure”. Again referring to Ferguson, bars and security barriers are not enough if that looters/attackers are not stopped while beating down the barriers. They continue to beat the barriers until they gain access.

Arming yourself is frequently put out as a way to deter intruders/attackers but this is true only if you know how to use a firearm in a “legal” manner. Thinking that you are going to shoot all intruders is not an option. If your life is not threatened, or those of your loved ones, it might be interpreted that you acted improperly and/or illegally. If your concealed carry training or firearm instruction didn’t cover this in detail then you were not properly trained for a situation similar to just described. Don’t rely on my statement here, as this is something so important that you need to consult with a pro 2nd Amendment attorney to make sure you have the legal questions correctly answered BEFORE being involved in a shooting incident.

Quick Tip –

The best tip, that doesn’t cost much, is no doubt an air horn. It can be used in your home and carried on your person. I believe the articles that say this is something criminals fear and said so in interviews from prison. Something about loud sounds disrupting your thought process is what I call it. Perhaps there is a more scientific reason for it. The air horn is something your neighbors will hear and not figure you are watching football game reruns at 2 AM. They will call the police and ask them to investigate.

Look Who’s Talking –

I read about Bass Pro Shops considering “various alternatives for raising funds” (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, September 19, 2014, in Corporate News section, “Bass Pro Shops on Hunt for Funds” by Dana Mattioli and Gillian Tan.) My immediate thought, imagine that, was to look at the 3CFortress concept. Some of the 100 stores do have full-service restaurants and possibly a bowling alley. Mr. Morris started out selling from his father’s liquor store. They now own and operate Big Cedar Lodge, a resort close to Branson, MO. My point is that Mr. Morris started out in a diverse retail-selling environment but ended up with stores that are more or less stand alone just like their Cabela competition.

Consider 3CFortress as an “alternative” that can provide “funds” but promote and expand what Bass Pro Shops stand for. If the “lodge” is selling in one location why can’t it be expanded to more locations? A Bass Pro Shop 3CFortress could take care of a “living triangle” for the store employees, the store visitors, the local community and the local farmers as a place to market their goods on a daily basis. Local farms and hunting areas would be close by and directly supporting.

The architectural look that Bass Pro Shops presents could easily be presented in a 3CFortress environment that benefits both corporate and community alike. Many, if not all, current sites including the corporate headquarters fall short of putting this “living triangle” into a 3CFortress complex.

What Do You Think? – Mr. Morris, I would love to hear what you think? Is 3CFortress starting to make more sense to you or your business? Everyone is free to post a response.

Does The Tipping Point = Decision Point?

Introduction. If you are analyzing and assessing where your company or community is at on continuity then at some point you reach a tipping point. A point where you can no longer control the direction that events are headed. Turning to we see that “Tipping Point” the point in a situation at which a minor development precipitates a crisis: Every infected person brings us closer to the tipping point, when the outbreak becomes an epidemic.

You can only hope to realize this point when it “precipitates” or before a crisis. Realizing it well into the crisis is not good as your courses of action may no longer be possible. Realizing there is an epidemic, after it has reached the tipping point, means the epidemic is spreading faster than you can manufacture and distribute the vaccine to stop the epidemic from spreading (pandemic). Tipping point started out in medical terms but obviously has a broader application.

Another part of the tipping point definition is the point at which an issue, idea, product, etc., crosses a certain threshold and gains significant momentum, triggered by some minor factor or change. I hope that the 3CFortress idea hits its own tipping point.

You can find “Tipping Point” used in several ways and by several people. Most recently Malcolm Gladwell wrote a very good book about it sub titled “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”. I have my own copy along with others from Gladwell. Referred to so much that if you look this up on Wikipedia the whole entry is about his book. For him, it started while covering the AIDS epidemic but he saw it could be applied to social policy (nonmedical areas). Social being how ideas spread via word of mouth after reaching a tipping point. One of the points that Gladwell wants readers to take away from the book is, “Our intuitions, as humans, aren’t always very good”.

Some other examples using tipping points is health (when everyday health and diet decisions catch up to you), brewing beer, The End of Oil (, technology (FastCompany), Time magazine (Transgender), a movie (rated on rottentomatoes), Global Climate Change, nuclear waste, renewable energy, poverty (in the San Francisco Bay area) and finally twelve tipping points on one web site (

Tipping point is used many times for business applications. Any business idea that makes it way to a tipping point can only see that idea spreading like wild fire…in a profiting way of speaking. Another more cautious way to look at reaching a tipping point is looking at it like a wave. But we all know what happens to waves. They crash into the beach at some point. Many great businesses have not been what you would call a long-term success. Getting the business or community past the next generation, the next fifty years or two hundred years requires better strategic thinking.

Tipping point, used in military terms, are those times when a gradual accumulation of small changes results in a sudden major shift in a balance; restoration of the prior equilibrium may be very difficult or even impossible ( Difficult as these small changes are hard to put into a recognizable pattern that provides advance warning. Much of this tipping point analysis focuses on Afghanistan but it shows up in general military planning.

The big question from the tipping point and how it relates to 3CFortress is all about urban planning and business continuity. Look at several Internet searches on “tipping point” and I find it disturbing that nothing address the future direction of communities and corporations to survive a crisis. How long have we heard the term “urban sprawl” used? How many more cities/communities do we have to see fail? It is truly a scary thought to think that we have reached the tipping point on communities and corporations being able to do anything to change course. If we have reached this point then just like a pandemic we have to come up with a plan of how to stop the “old” way of regional and local planning.

Check It Out – Found an article on the “Castle In The Clouds”. Thomas G. Plant put this plan into action using architect J. William (John W) Beal (perhaps others). I mention the architect because this is one person that is a key player on the 3CF team. Incorporating so many related concepts is a challenge that you need expert advises on. It jumped out at me but this place started as a “Park”. It was described as a self-sufficient community (Lee farm) albeit a hard life. My take on this point is that improvising (think AdIOS) a farmer’s market into supporting the 3CF is a must have part of the plan.

Taking a quick look at where they may have gone wrong the amount of land in use jumped out at me. It appears that it rose to about 336 acres but for some reason (finance?) it dropped back to 150 acres. This may have been a tipping point leading to an unsupportable amount of land to be self-sufficient. This will vary depending on location but it is another key point in the 3CF plan.

Postive points were: 1) Using a lodge to house visitors and family. Expand this to be a 3CF long-term living hotel. 2) School on site. Haven’t mentioned this much but the 3CFortress has to be adaptable (AdIOS) and scalable. Instead of the office tower make it the school tower. This can be for Elementary, High School or a college. 3) Construction materials and labor were from local resources. This points back to my Detroit (and other dying cities) response that 3CF can help revive an economy and make money for the investors.

I will be talking more about how to come up with a plan to make a 3CFortress happen.

Quick Tip – Reading The Tipping Point by Gladwell brought out an interesting point about the number One Hundred Fifty (150). Gladwell’s research pointed to a tipping point when an organization grew larger than 150 people. At that point the organization of that many people becomes unmanageable. After looking at several companies and religious organizations it did stress the point that crossing the 150 level requires a lot of planning. If you don’t think ahead and adapt then be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Look Who’s Talking – See my recent responses to and posted here on this blog. Another tipping point subject was GMO food. is asking if the tipping point has been reached and whether or not we really have a choice? When you plan your 3CFortress you have a choice!

What Do You Think? – Should I expand and deliver another post on “tipping point”? I do plan one on “decision point” and how they relate. Help me reach the 3CFortress tipping point! Spread the word.

Handling Risk Management

Introduction. Risk management is going to be one of the subjects that will put you on the path to building a 3CFortress. Once you list and analyze the risks for your community and/or corporation the light bulb will come on, lighting the way to surviving the impact. Ignoring the risks means the impact is lurking out there just waiting to rear its ugly head. Can you afford to ignore risks and realistically stay in business when the risk hits? That is the main topic for today.

Risk Management 101

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) is this:

1. Identify/Make a list of the Risk (Hazards).

2. Determine what the Probability and Magnitude the Risk presents.

3. What “Stuff” (Assets) is affected or vulnerable from the Risk?

4. Determine the Impacts (Damage) for each Risk.

5. Finally, determine how to prepare, mitigate or reduce the risk.

Simple huh? Of course not but taking the first step will have you taking the road less taken. The road ends with a 3CFortress. Ignoring the risks puts you on the path to destruction or going out of business.

1. When you create a list of risks don’t get caught up in semantics or spin off on whether or not risks are threats, crisis points, hazards, etc. Pull together a team that can put this list together and not hold back. Don’t worry about if this risk requires further analysis or if it truly does affect your 3C. All that is done in later steps.

Here is a list to get you thinking: Fire, explosion, Natural hazards (see below), Hazardous material spill, Terrorism, Workplace violence, Pandemic disease, Utility (Power Grid) outage, Mechanical breakdown, Supplier delivery failure, Cyber attack, Financial crisis, Economic crisis, Earthquakes, etc.

Many of these break down into other areas such as Natural hazards. This includes floods (water rising and wind driven rain), tornadoes, hurricanes, severe drought, winter storms, and wildfires. Terrorism has many faces and that face can be the same as one of the others listed above (chemical spill or cyber attack). If statistics show that perhaps thirty percent of businesses failed during Super Storm Sandy is there any doubt that natural hazards need to be on your list of risks?

A quick note on the economic crisis risk is that the books about the “Aftershock” predict more than fifty percent of business will fail during that crisis period. It would be prudent to think about what events or risks would cause this amount of failures. Repeated several times but risk like this has a severe impact. If you assess a low probability to it the impact is too high to ignore and must be addressed.

Did I miss any? Bet I did so add any that you come up with and save the assessment and analysis for later. Two not on the list that come to mind are EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) and Solar Radiation. EMP could come from an accident or terrorist attack. It is similar to the Power Grid going down but has its own unique impacts. Solar radiation could come from a solar flare coming from our Sun. Both can involve severe damages to infrastructure but let’s stick with the most common or one’s that have a high probability of happening.

2. Probability and magnitude can be tough to figure out so don’t be afraid to hire a consultant or professional to help on this step. This is not something to settle with a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess). Assigning too high of probability or magnitude can lead to incorrect and/or unnecessary costly plans to mitigate or reduce that risk.

You need to have a realistic idea of whether or not this risk or hazard can occur in your 3C area. Preparing for a hurricane in Missouri might seem like a waste of time or zero probability but what do hurricanes start from and break down into? Tropical storms! These storms can bring unusual amounts of rain that forecasters might not predict. Hurricanes might not have a high probability as you go up the USA East Coast but don’t forget the magnitude and impacts that Super Storm Sandy brought with it. Sandy went farther inland than initially expected, much to the surprise of many communities and businesses. Look at how many businesses folded for good after Sandy and you might decide to keep this on your list.

Several risks can be too general or not specific enough. No problem. This is how it begins. Asking several “What if?” questions are a good start. What if Supplier X was unable to deliver one or more critical supplies to your business or community? The 3CFortress concept looks at the “big picture”, system or holistic approach. Going back to the Sandy example, how was the infrastructure failure and local community supply interruptions affecting business continuity? Careful, remember back that a plan that involves going it alone or with a castle mentality is doomed to fail. If no outside help can be expected then the 3CFortress concept takes this into consideration. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

Before we get too deep into risk analysis I ask you to keep in mind that risks or threats can be opportunities. An economic crisis centered on the food supply could create an opportunity for a Farmer’s Market of local Food CO-OP that may not have been considered before. Creating ways to shorten to shorten the living triangle and length of the supply chain creates more local businesses and jobs.

3. Figuring the assets at risk and vulnerabilities is not going to be an easy task. In order for this to be analyzed it will require a large amount of data gathering. Use the power of the Internet to gather historical data for your area. I am thinking of Galveston, TX and the hurricane that hit there in the year 1900. It was deadly and devastating to say the least. Are the conditions the same today? No, so your work is cut out for you to apply what an Saffir-Simpson Category 4 would do today. What if it is Category 3? How would the loss of oil production and oil refineries affect the state of Texas? The region? This is a prime example of Low Probability with High Impact. The high impact forces you to budget money for this in order to mitigate or reduce the impact.

4. Once you determine the impacts, the total picture of each risk comes into view. As mentioned in the Galveston example, if the impact is very high then you have no choice but to include it on your “to do” list. Impacts can go beyond financial costs. Look over your risk list and you will see that natural hazards can lead to casualties that can overwhelm the local system. Does your plan rely on the local medical facilities or do you have your medical facility on site? Pandemics create casualties from an initial event but linger on for weeks. More on this later but you can see that addressing this risk involves what to do with sick workers and secession plans. While expensive, moving to another location may have to be part of your plan. Last, the Boston Marathon bombing showed that terrorism should be on everyone’s list.

Any business that wants to make it past the impact has a long list to address: Financial loss, Business interruption, Loss of customers (from Supplier failure), Environmental contamination (think BP in Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon), Fines and penalties and Lawsuits (Reference: Have you started to wonder if some of these events are survivable? They are but you have to develop a plan and put it into action.

5. Coming up with a plan to mitigate or reduce the risks is not going to be an easy task. The risk management plan will have to be approved and money budgeted. It is doubtful if any of the risks can be mitigated over night. Any 3C needs to sign on to this plan for the long haul. Part of the plan has to address what to do if the risk happens before your plan is complete? Are there any “trigger events” warning you of a risk about to happen? What actions can you take before the risk event that will reduce the impacts?

Besides the business management team there is another group that needs to be included in this risk management process. Talking about the “Stakeholder” group. Some examples of key stakeholders are creditors, directors, employees, government (and its agencies), owners (shareholders), suppliers, unions, and the community from which the business draws its resources. Read more:


As several people have said, “We’re all in this together”. Looking over the stakeholder examples from shows the 3C’s (corporate, community, city) are, in fact, all in this together. No individual plan for a community or corporation is going to work. Everyone is a stakeholder, which the 3CFortress concept takes into consideration.


Check It Out. IKEA announces commitment to using renewable energy at their stores, when feasible. While this is just one piece of the 3CFortress concept it is a huge step in the right direction. It is clear that IKEA takes the local environment into consideration as some involve solar and others wind turbines. The size of the system at each store mentioned is amazing. Obviously, this scale of investment doesn’t come cheap but they see the savings over the long haul. Little doubt that as the technology improves IKEA will take advantage of that as future stores are built. One can only hope this commitment is seen positively by the local community enough that they want to shop at IKEA even more.

Quick Tip – Credited several times today and it is a good place to start. One note of caution is some web developer or government worker may have added too much information and ended up overwhelming the reader. What I would like to see more of is what “Wisdom” we can gather from this site. Using the DIKW (Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom) information flow I have to wonder if the information is too much and figuring out what is useful for future use (wisdom) is very tough to pull out. Visit the site and see if you agree or not.

Look Who’s Talking. had a post about a disruption in trucking transportation affecting the delivery of food supplies to the local community. Responded that I couldn’t agree more. The only point to make was I don’t think you can grow enough of your food to get past the impact of this risk. Scaling the solution to a 3CFortress is the only way to do that.

What Do You Think? Are you with me so far?


A Look at “It Takes a Village” for Parallels

The book It Takes a Village, written by Hillary Clinton, easily comes to mind and begs the question about similarities and differences between her “village” and a 3CFortress. I wanted to see if her “village” can be compared to my 3CFortress. Ends up, it is worth taking a look to see if any parallels can be seen.

While Hillary is focusing on “raising a child” the book does have several points I can see as fitting in with the 3CFortress concept. The most obvious being a “village” can be considered one of the 3C’s…Community. As pointed out in earlier segments a 3CFortress crosses the line from something too small to being a series of large cities. However you scale it, the 3CFortress has to be self-sustaining.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Book

In the tenth anniversary edition introduction she talks about taking “long walks” with Bill. Hold that thought. Can you take a long walk where you live? Many places are just not set up for this as the original urban planning lost sight of its goal. I still list the challenge of walkability as a high hurdle towards the Walk, Walk, Walk part of your 3CFortress.

Still in the introduction she talks about the “core” of the book being about parents “important influences on the lives of their children”. In the 3CFortress this is true but you have to take it one step forward. No matter how great a parent you are, where you live has a tremendous influence over your ability to raise your child/children. When we moved to the Overland Park, KS/Kansas City, MO area in 1999 we faced several challenges about where to live and where our two children would go to school. When we compared Blue Valley School District and the Kansas City, MO school district the decision was obvious. We accepted living is a more expensive area just so our kids would have a quality education. It still came down to choosing one “living triangle” over another in order to raise our children the way we wanted. Granted, not everyone can afford decisions like this but the 3CFortress brings savings to the “living triangle” so that children can be raised in a better environment.

Let me step away from the village book for a moment to talk about whether or not the 3CFortress can work in a very small town up to a very large city. I’ve written about how a 3CFortress could work in Detroit. It can work, with the proper planning, in any major city. What has to happen is breaking the city down into sustainable units. Generally speaking, the Garden City size of fifty thousand can be a workable number. With that said I’ve lived and travelled through cities just under or over fifty thousand and they suffer from the urban sprawl and lack of urban planning just like a city of over one million. The living triangle is way out of whack and nowhere close to passing a walkability test.

“Children are not rugged individualists”. Couldn’t agree more but my take on this is how far does the children have to move in order to move from home to school and recreation? What is their living triangle? Being able to walk to any of these is a key point in how well the child can relate to their environment and grow into a productive and successful citizen. I don’t see where any “busing” students to school experiment worked and most are being dismantled. How can a student relate with others when they are bused over an hour to school? Just can’t see it. I remember being able to walk down to convenience stores (Ben Franklin) and a local grocery (IGA) and I think this is great. We need more of this, not more parents having to drive their kids to school and recreation.

“Everywhere we look children are under assault” and she goes on to mention several of the threats. Stop and think for a moment about why these threats have “skyrocketed” in current times. Could it be that your living triangle is out of whack? When we had (if we ever did) the Norman Rockwell idyllic family we did know our neighbors. We didn’t need a formal Neighborhood Watch program. You didn’t have to worry about your kids being out late, as you knew their friends and their parents. I submit that as you grow your “living triangle” it starts to present problems. In the security world we call it “situational awareness”. You can’t have that if you are unfamiliar or concerned with your local environment but can have that in a 3CFortress. A lot to be said for morals being lowered if you are not in your hometown (village) and if you wouldn’t want it on a billboard in your local town, would you be doing it?

For the parents raising children their living triangle size means a great deal on how their lives can be listed as successful, less stressful and more meaningful. The nightmare scenario is driving your kids to school (you don’t like or trust the bus), then driving an hour to work and back again in traffic, making sure one spouse (if you are not a single parent) can pick up the children at school and driving to a store or restaurant for the evening meal and/or driving at least one child to sports practice or games. When you are faced with a long living triangle are you really getting to know your co-workers, neighborhoods and those in your support net? Very doubtful!

At one point Hillary talks about teaching a child “to ride a bike”. This reminded me of another thing lost in most of our current environments. What good is it to teach a child to ride a bike if there is nowhere to ride it? If walking is a bit far then ride a bike. When is the last time you say a person riding a three-wheel bike to the local grocery store to pick up some items? If you saw that person today would you think them strange? Would they think they were secure in doing this or subject to someone knocking them off their bike and taking their items? Do bike lanes exist in your community or do you feel safe riding a bike to work or for recreation? If you can’t answer these questions in the positive then I say you need to look at the 3CFortress concept.

“Children…depend on a host of other ‘grown-ups’…who touch their lives directly and indirectly”. No doubt about children needing this but when you think about it don’t the rest of us depend on each other to make our village or 3CFortress environment a great place to grow up, work and play? Sure we do. Just like children needing “Adults police our streets” don’t we too? I can’t pin down when this broke down but “Political Correctness” comes to mind. Not being able to say that something doesn’t fit in should not bring on retribution for making that point. Not everything is good for the whole and we can’t rely on the local police or the rule of law to enforce social norms. Do you feel like you influence other children in your neighborhood? I’ll save how society is headed down the slippery slope for another time.

“For a child, the village must remain personal”. Beautiful. Just try to imagine if the parents could control everything in their village. Is everything in your village at a “personal” level? Can you name people in your village support net by name? What I will bring up at this point is whether or not your support net is personal by asking if you know the name of someone in your local grocery store? The manager? The butcher? Do you know who prepares the fresh fruit and vegetables or the name of the farm/farmer that supplies that store? In summary, going to the “Mall” took away a lot if not all of this “personal” level of doing business. The “Mall” concept is lacking on the personal level, not set up they way they were originally intended and is not part of a 3CFortress.

Let Us Build a Village Worthy of Our Children chapter. My translation would be, Let Us Build a Sustainable 3CFortress. Several great thoughts pop up in this chapter. She starts off talking about a trip to Northern Ireland, which I too have visited recently. After talking with a cab driver that grew up in West Belfast there is no doubt that living anywhere in Belfast is better since the peace treaty was signed. Yet some things seem like they will never change. She didn’t mention the “Peace Walls” put up by the British for ten months still up after many years. If you do make the trip to Belfast take the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour and while only a glimpse of the issues and times past it will leave you with a sense that some things can’t change. Let me be clear that a 3CFortress set up with a peace wall between another 3CFortress is not what I envision. Not even close as a village or any community behind any walls is really a castle. We know castles failed and any 3C built as a walled complex is not sustainable. The peace wall communities had gates but they shut down at night for security reasons. Does this sound like the village that Hillary is talking about or one that fits the 3CFortress concept? Walls don’t allow the community to thrive and grow together and ignores the base problems of what created a war zone environment in the first place.

“The village we build with them in mind will be a better place for us all.” Very true and the 3CFortress can be the “village” mentioned here. Besides focusing on how the child is raised the focus needs to be on a larger scale in order to benefit “us all”. Looking at all the risks and building a 3CFortress incorporating the benefits and strengths into a sustainable and successful environment into a workable plan is the way to go. Think about the acronym AdIOS.

“Whether or not you agree with me, I hope it promotes an honest conversation among us.” Exactly my point in writing this section is I hope to get a conversation going. I argue that it not only takes a village but to overcome the challenges of raising our children by making a 3CFortress plan and putting it into action. You are not able to do this by yourself. It will take the whole 3C, community, city or corporation united in the effort of building a 3CFortress.

Quick Tip on Hurricane season (June through November) preparation. Whenever you are looking at a risk you have to think about the probability that it will happen and what damage (impact) it could do. In the article, “HURRICANE LUCK WILL RUN OUT”, Protect America with structural security, by Roger Pielke, Jr. in USA TODAY, June 10, 2014 he points out that “the 1926 Miami storm would result in more than $180 billion in damage …almost twice the damage of Hurricane Katrina and nearly four times that of Sandy” were it to hit in 2014. Does this sound like something your 3C better prepare for…NOW? Will the state and Federal recovery be spot on or more like Katrina? Why would you want to wait and find out? Creating a 3CFortress plan will mitigate those risks by following your plan save the day. A proper plan will not only save the day but weeks and months afterwards as sustainability, continuity and survival are integral parts of that plan.

“When it does (hit), we will have no excuse not to be prepared”. Questions about “strong buildings” go back to 1933 so why haven’t we headed such warnings? There are cases where we have. I heard of a building (in Mississippi?) built to withstand 180 mph winds and it did survive Katrina. Forcing residents on the East Coast post-Sandy to raise their homes above the flood/storm surge levels drew many protests. Seems to emphasize that if we don’t learn from history we are bound to repeat it. Insurance companies and State/Federal governments are not going to be able to repeatedly pay out after disasters when hazard mitigation and preparing for the next one is possible. We need to take this beyond the individual building/residence level and make the 3CFortress a working concept.

Look Who’s Talking – Machiavelli. Well, in 1513 he was talking <smile>. Here is what he said:

  There is nothing more difficult to plan, more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old system, and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new one. – Machiavelli, 1513

The new system is the 3CFortress. The old system is retreats, urban planning and corporations, as we know them today. Should I count you as a “lukewarm defender” or advocate that can be counted on when the going gets dangerous?

Running a little long today but take a look at this article:

What Do You Think? Do any of the ten people seem to be advocating anything like a 3CFortress approach? Could the 3CFortress concept rebuild Detroit from the ashes (current situation)?

What’s Wrong con’t SIZE

Why small doesn’t work for bunkers, castles (manor houses) and retreats


Staying with the thought of what’s wrong with the way things are, I want to talk about why “size” matters. Retreats, bunkers and for that matter castles are too small to sustain a 3CFortress even on its smallest scale.

What you are building has to be large enough to sustain a true community through a long-term crisis. I will get in to why anything on an individual or small site scale is not able to support itself. Sustainability and continuity, in terms of the long run, is what you have to plan for.

A Bunker Will Not Work

Several problems present themselves when the bunker option is selected. The first question you have to ask yourself is, “When do you enter the bunker?” Keeping this a simple question, when a tornado is approaching you head to the shelter. The tornado or severe storm is the trigger. Conditions in your house or place of business are threatened to where you need to move to a protected area.

When to enter the bunker decision gets a little tougher when you think about periods of economic turmoil. Your “living triangle” is about to be interrupted enough that you need to move to a protected area. Chances are this means leaving work so income goes to zero in this scenario. Problem is economic turmoil will last much longer than any storm. You listen on the radio and know that the storm has passed. What if you listen on the radio and the turmoil is ongoing. Only decision is, “Stay in the bunker”.

No problem, you say, as I have my bunker outfitted for one or two years with water, food and other survival items. Great, except for one thing. Have you thought about what it is like to be in a small space for a month, a year or more? Doesn’t sound like anything a reasonable man could endure let alone a family.

Being cooped up brings up more problems. Psychological issues come to mind. You might think you have a plan to deal with this but I can only ask you to rethink this. Think about prison solitary confinement, kidnap victims and Prisoner of War (POW) camps. Very few individuals make it through something like this without mental scars that stay with you for a lifetime.

The worst outcome in a bunker scenario is that you reach a point you can’t stay in the bunker another minute let alone another day. You emerge from the bunker at the worst possible time as the chaos is in full swing. Chances are that someone will now know you have supplies and will attempt to storm your bunker to take them.

Still think the bunker option is right for you, your family or your business?

A Castle or Large Manor House Will Not Work

Scaling up from the bunker the next step could be a large house, small neighborhood or something approaching a old-style castle. Historically, castles failed to change with the times and many fell into ruins. Some were converted into large manor houses but many of those failed to support themselves and/or the surrounding community.

Some of you might be thinking that when times get tough…the neighborhood will come together and support each other. How that is going to happen, long-term, for food and security means these are doomed if the crisis lasts more than 72 hours. Anyone that has been in the military knows how tough the night watch is. Do you have enough qualified watch standers that can take the stress of standing post and dealing with the rest of their life? What are your “Rules of Engagement”? Any security expert will tell you that even if you live in a gated community, security is going to be a very tough risk to manage for any length of time. Getting people you barely know to understand “deadly force” is not going to be easy if possible at all. It only takes one incident of a breach (allowing individuals onto the property) and not only is your security blown but your supplies will be compromised now placing your group at peril.

Let’s go back to the issue of supplies. I don’t see any house, castle or small neighborhood that planned for any pooling of supplies before the crisis. Most will be just like the local grocery store and have about three days of supplies on hand when the crisis starts. How are you going to handle those who didn’t plan ahead and are now at your door asking for help? This rates as one of the toughest questions of all time. Once the local populace is looking for supplies, in a growing desperate manner, and they figure out you have “it” then they will try to get what you have by violence. To those that think they have enough weapons and ammunition to hold off this horde I have to wonder if mentally you or anyone can really say they will pull the trigger when the situation gets deadly. After the first time, what about the next? Does your plan show how to deal with dead bodies on your property?

The place of business or where you work issue is still staring you in the face. Neighborhoods are set up for living but where you work is a place you need a vehicle to get to (now not possible) and to get groceries/food. The drawbridge example is a great visual as no one going to work means no income and no “Victory” gardens in the backyard means no food or water resupply is possible.

I see castles (or structures like them) as large bunkers. When the castle was attacked the response was get everyone in the castle and pull up the drawbridge. Everyone that is “in” is saved…for a while. If the castle was strong enough, and they did evolve to resist breaching, then they went into the siege scenario. Food rationing starts as what you have when the drawbridge comes up is what you have. These sieges, just like modern day crisis, can drag on as the invaders have the local environment available to their advantage. If the food could hold out then medical and disease becomes an even greater concern with not much positive to help solve the problem. Anyone getting sick, getting wounded or dealing with age (birth and death) will not have the best resources available to get them to the time of the drawbridge going back down (crisis over).

Shocking But So-called Survival Retreats Will Not Work

If you look at the survival retreats being built it is clear that they have not become big enough to overcome the castle or large manor homes problems discussed above. The scale has to get to the 3CFortress level or it will not be sustainable.

The main problem I have with “retreats” is the word just shows that you are heading in the wrong direction. Retreat, in military terms, is what happens when you are losing the battle. In order to live and fight another day you and others are moving away from the battle. Taking yourself out of the battle is a short-term solution. You may not be able to run away from it or the battle will keep coming to you where you decide to make your stand. If you are not living on the retreat compound then you have to get there with few gas stations (if any) open and checkpoints/obstacles along the way.

Several infrastructure concerns will keep the retreat from getting to the level that is needed for long-term continuity. Put another way, the group needs to have basic security, water, food, medical and supplies met and a reserve (contingency) in place. Who is the leader of the retreat? How does he/she handle all these needs? I don’t think any leader or one person can accomplish all this without a staff. The staff is a group that supports the leader in meeting all the demands placed on him/her.

Are you starting to see the problem of how big is big enough? The answer is to build it from the 3CFortress size and scale it up from there. Not being big enough, sustainable, makes any crisis more profound, perhaps deadly. You can’t hire more security. Getting a resupply may be problematic. If you are going to allow more in, what is the criteria? How do you enforce this? What if you need to remove someone from the property?

Here is a short list of “size” or scaling issues that have to be met for long-term continuity:

Security…Armed/Unarmed, Watch schedule with relief and time off, availability of weapons and ammunition (individual or group). No security plan, firmly in place, means all that you have is at risk of loss.

Water…enough for all members and more (if you plan to allow more in) to meet the sanitary and drinking (cooking) needs. Remember, you can’t live without water for more than three days.

Food…enough for all members but this need goes beyond having the supplies on paper. If the food is the freeze-dried variety do you have the water to reconstitute these meals? Many of the “dry” food are lacking in nutrients and can’t be 100% of the food. You have to have a variety if you are talking about the crisis lasting months. How is perishable food obtained and stored? Is the food grown nearby and able to be transported to the group? What is not grown locally has to be made up in supplies on hand. How is this all going to be prepared/cooked?

A place of work or way to generate income…as the situation drags on the barter system is one suggested solution and one that many retreats list as a way to “pay” for things you need. Take a hard look at the barter systems, manuals and articles on how this can work. It can work on an individual to individual level but what happens when you have larger needs/jobs that will require say ten of something in the barter “bank” or owe sheet that may takes months or years to earn/pay back? The list of who owes whom what just gets too complicated. It can’t be handled on an individual level.

I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg on problems with bunkers, castles and small retreats. Those problems are compounded when a crisis comes along that lasts more than 72 hours. If you don’t Adapt Improvise Overcome you won’t Survive and it is AdIOS my friend.

AdIOS – Adapt Improvise Overcome Survive

Talked about this in the book The Winning Way but it is an acronym that shows what you have to do or start doing so that you can continue to be in business after the crisis is finally over. Look for the specific section on AdIOS to read more.

Look Who’s Talking

Is anyone else concerned about size? I found an article in the Wall Street Journal by Marc Levinson BOOKSHELF “When Size Does Matter” A Bigger Prize by Margaret Heffernan, Friday, April 18, 2014. This taps in to exactly what I am presenting in the 3CFortress concept. She asked, “Question: Was the world better off before chain stores…?” If you wanted to be the local grocer you opened a shop and lived above the shop. This example is exactly what I see as the “face” of a 3CFortress. Imagine what the living triangle is for the person running this local grocery. It is dependent on the goods being grown locally but that is part of the 3CFortress as well.

When you compare a local grocer to Big Food they are not going to work on the same economies of scale. But the local grocer is not dependent on transportation and other costs that Big Food has to deal with. A medical needs issue does present itself when you think “snake oil” versus Big Pharma. Wisdom on how to manage all this is available yet needs to be a part of our daily lives before the crisis.

The real question is are we better off after Big Food saving us on our grocery bill and forcing most local grocers to make it with razor thin profit margins? I don’t think so and when a crisis hits all the Big Food issues come home to roost.

I haven’t touched on it much but finance and banking has to be local in the 3CFortress. She points out that the Savings and Loan crisis in 1980 created many local problems for individuals and businesses. More to come on this point, as you can’t talk about continuity or sustainability without a solid financial plan in place.

The point of this article was about the book “A Bigger Prize” and the need to do better than the competition. Looks like an interesting read that I will add to my reading list.

What Do You Think? Let me know and thanks for following along.

What is Wrong With The Way Things Are?

This is not only an introduction for this segment of the blog but really an intro to the whole 3CFortress concept and why we need to move forward with implementing a plan to get there.

My approach is to warn everyone that keeping the status quo and not preparing for a disaster or crisis can have fatal consequences. This is no exaggeration. Compounding the problem is the fact that complacency is rampant. Haven’t you heard it a million times lately? It can’t happen here. It can’t be that bad. Things are not so bad…and getting better all the time. Really? Deep down do you believe that? Are you able to separate the positivism from the negative information into wisdom about what to do?

If anything in your life demands some soul searching, then this is it. You’ve got to change the game plan. You need to take the path less taken. Time is wasting away and waiting for no one. The time to act is now to the point of being called urgent.

One thing I want to make very clear is the risks go beyond disasters and pandemics to include economic crisis where food, water or the supply system is disrupted for months. Super Storm Sandy, the Japanese tsunami and nuclear reactor disaster and Hurricane Katrina proved how close we are to the edge. Earthquakes and black/brown outs from the past are destined to repeat at some point. Think of the lives lost at the start but think more of the lives and businesses lost as the disruption went on and on.

Perhaps you have heard of the “working triangle” in the kitchen. This is the distance from the sink to the refrigerator to the stove (cook top). How long the distance is makes working in the kitchen a little tougher and longer to complete basic tasks.

What is the working triangle for your 3C’s (city, community, corporation)? How far does food have to move before it is in your local store or home? How far does the energy that makes the stove work have to come from? How far does it take for water to get to you and the wastewater to go when it leaves your place? Are there any points of weakness or vulnerability at any point on this route of movement? I bet there are several points that can or have been interrupted in a past disaster or crisis.

Obviously a disruption in the energy supply means not only does the stove not work, it means the refrigerator doesn’t either. Think about how long the food in your house will last if you don’t have refrigeration and a way to cook food that can’t be eaten raw. You might not have much at all in the way of raw or no cook food. The first priority is water but after a few days food is going to be a survival priority.

Think you can just run down to the store and stock up? Think again. Remember what is like just before a snowstorm or disaster. The shelves go bare very fast on key items and as many as 30 to 50 must have items. Most stores might have a three-day supply on hand. A run on the stores supplies means that goes to zero very fast. A disruption in the supply chain means the stores are not going to be replenished.

What happens next is not a pretty picture. Desperate people do desperate things. This sums up what is wrong with the way things are. If the local law enforcement can’t control the situation then martial law is not far from being implemented. But there is more…much more.

Back to the working triangle in the kitchen, let’s look at your “living triangle”. How far do you go in a day from home to work and recreation? Can you walk to all of these? Being able to walk is very doubtful to even one of these three locations. It is a fair assumption that the 3C’s of today require a personal vehicle to get to work and play. Public transportation has been on the decline for many years. Housing demanded a one bay then two bay garage. Upscale housing is now a minimum of three. Almost every hour of the day you see vehicles on the roads and highways. Contrast this with how many people you see walking in your community.

Thoreau said Simplify, Simplify, Simplify but I says Walk, Walk, Walk. Walk to work. Walk to recreation. Walk to the store. Recreation can be several different things such as the quick food restaurant or recreation/park. Any plan that doesn’t include walking to work or play is going to run into problems. This is not an easy task to overcome.

Beef is just one example of how the current supply chain is showing signs of trouble. Drought conditions forced the sale of stock, which flooded the market for a short time. But the drought continues, herd counts are lower and now beef prices are going up. Yet according to a USA TODAY article (June 6, 2014) the United States still exported 1.17 million metric tons in 2013.

If beef is in short supply then why are we still exporting it? Brazil exported 1.85 million metric tons (same reference) but I wonder how much was to the U.S. Are we importing beef from other countries? My only question would be why? What if we raised the beef (and pork and chickens) closer to the city or community? This would shorten the living triangle and make the supply chain less vulnerable.

We seem to be doing the same thing with oil. The shale oil fields are producing a bumper crop yet unleaded gas is currently $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon. Do you still remember one dollar a gallon? If the local gas stations were to run dry how long will it be until the next resupply? Longer than you think. The so-called experts would say there are not enough refineries. Sure but how much of the oil is exported and how much are we still importing? I don’t think I want to know. The bottom line is the price of gas is not going down any time soon. Availability, during a disaster or crisis is not going to be good for weeks if not longer. Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina proved this and a hurricane that hits refineries in the Gulf of Mexico would have nation wide consequences.

Converting more vehicles and systems to natural gas is projected to take years. Why we didn’t convert earlier is a good question especially since we have the largest supply of it in the world. The infrastructure build out has begun but is in its infancy. At times it seems like we are no better off than Ukraine in waiting for the supply to get to the community.

The United States has long been the breadbasket to the world. We export several different grains but a disturbing trend started in 2013. Coarse grain exports were down and imports up causing prices to go up. This trend is not expected to reverse and could grow worse. The number of U.S. agriculture dependent on irrigation is staggering. Major aquifers and water sources are being depleted. Is another Dust Bowl on the way?

Back to the living triangle is it more apparent that the length or distance that goods/supplies need to move to a local market is easily disrupted. Any regional disruption or shut down of the supply chain can become a national crisis. True we have never had to deal with a large nationwide crisis since the Oil Embargo of the 1970’s but the probability for this is increasing. Look at how long the Great Recession is taking to be resolved. Think back or look at the Spanish Influenza pandemic. No region, let along any community or corporation is set up to survive a months or years long crisis. In order to survive that long it will take a movement to a 3CFortress environment in order to preserve a way of life that everyone can live with.

What if no action is taken? Then you reap the whirlwind. You are at the mercy of what the government can provide. If you think about what the government has to offer I doubt you believe it is that they are “here to help”.

Several writers write on so-called FEMA camps being prepared for some future large-scale crisis. Whether or not these stories are true they bear some discussion. Imagine you are the President of the United States or some high-level government official. You’ve just been told that the National Grid is down. Estimated time to repair could be months for some regions. The food supply chain is in disarray and looting is overwhelming the local police and security forces. Water is not being moved through the system and the sewers are backed up. There is not enough fuel for people to relocate, even if they could find another place to go. Highways and roads are blocked with vehicles due to wrecks or running out of fuel.

The infamous question…What would you do if you were this government official? Do you have any choice but to relocate everyone to some centralized camp? Call it a FEMA camp or whatever but leaving people in their homes will mean several dead and injured putting more stress on critical systems. They have no way to fend for themselves if the regular living triangle of services is not available.

The normal response today is to request assistance when the state can’t handle the disaster. This process goes from the state governor to the President (and FEMA). This Public Assistance/Disaster Recovery process works and has worked for storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes affecting several counties in a state. Power can be restored and supplies brought in from other regions. Federal grants flow to the states and on to the counties or applicants. But what happens when the states are trying to handle their own issues or the Federal grant money is not available, as we know it today.

The 3CFortress is set up to support the city, community or corporation for the duration of the crisis. With the proper plan and set up it can enable everyone to continue living and working until the crisis is over. This is true continuity, survival. Stay tuned for a deeper discussion on how to do this.

Check It Out and Look Who’s Talking

I receive several financial and survival newsletters and they all include some dire predictions for the near future. Granted, some of the predictions, like food riots, seem to be a yearly guess since 2009. Keep in mind that the probability is high enough that at some point the risk(s) could happen.

Either way that this all plays out, it is clear the future for the 3C’s (city, community, corporate) is going to be a challenge at some point. A failure to plan is a plan to fail.

Quick Tip – Generators

Stuck trying to figure out how to fill the generator gap for your home or business? Several sites and articles cover the solar (expensive with long pay back), natural gas/propane, and diesel fuel options. If you want to run a few key appliances then a portable generator is a good option. Something to keep in mind is what are you willing to cut back on from your present day life. Most disasters include reduced availability of power and fuel options. Plan now or have plenty of no cook food ready with plenty of water.

The blog is growing and I thank those who are viewing and following the blog.

What Do You Think? Leave a comment below.