The Six Ps of Readiness: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

We developed the Phoenix Kit to help people be prepared for the unexpected, and carefully selected each item in the kit to address key elements of safety and survival for a 72-hour period. Beyond basic survival, however, we wanted to create a kit that would make people feel confident and assured in the event of an emergency—this means items that are simple to use, have a long shelf life and are more than the bare minimum (the kit includes double the amount of recommended water, for example). 

Sound household emergency preparedness, however, means much more than just buying a survival kit and forgetting about it. 

We follow the six Ps of thorough readiness: Prior proper planning prevents poor performance. What does this look like in the context of preparedness for your household? Let’s explore. 

Prior - This may sound obvious, but it should not be overlooked. Readiness is something you should address with your family and be educated about before you find yourself in an emergency situation. Make your readiness preparation clear and to the point for all members of the household. Find a time to sit down with your family to talk about key information you all need to know, such as: Where is the survival kit located? Where can I find emergency numbers? Do we know those emergency numbers? What is the name of the closest hospital? Have we designated a specific place in the house to congregate and shelter if need be?


Proper - Have a clear outcome for your state of readiness, tailored to your family’s living situation. Think specifically about what this means and what you will need, and make sure you have the right things, not just any things. For example, if I live in an area prone to wildfires and earthquakes my household readiness needs to be contemplated a bit differently than someone who lives on the coast in a region affected by hurricanes. 


Planning - Apart from educating your family on key information, schedule dry run scenarios (fire drills). Rehearse enough for your response to be automatic, so that you’ll all be able to work through the emotion and anxiety in a real situation.


Prevents - Running enthusiastically in the wrong direction helps no one. Everything you do to prepare will benefit you and your loved ones when you most need it. Prevention is a choice. It requires clear intentions, focus, effort and continual review.


Poor - The wrong form of “ready” is dangerous and creates a false sense of security. And while being scared in an emergency situation is an understandable reaction, not being prepared can result in excessive anxiety in a stressful moment and the inability to react well for your safety. Ready is not about being comprehensive as much as being specific, and arguably simple. The Scouting BSA teaches “the 10 essentials” which are 10 items every Scout should have with them. Do these items cover every scenario? No. But they will address the most common. Don’t plan for the wrong things, or the right things in the wrong way.


Performance - Your response should be automatic, fast, efficient and thorough. Part of your “performance” is also in being able to remain calm and help others in your family remain calm. Everything you have done to prepare will help you do so. When we designed the Phoenix Kit, the goal was quick and immediate safety: To be ready in 5 minutes for the next 72-hours. This is not just a tagline; it’s a mantra, a reminder time is one of the most limited resources in an emergency, and we must stay focused on that limitation.


Planning is a huge part of being prepared for responding to an emergency. Going through the process of thinking about the six Ps with your family will not only ensure you are all educated and ready, but will also give you the confidence to know you are prepared to face the unexpected in the best possible way, with a calm and clear head.

Photo credit airfocus