The easiest way to explain contingency planning as a concept is to point to the common umbrella. You probably carry one in your car, keep one at your workplace for a rainy day, or you might have a slightly broken one in a closet at home.
Not many people know that it’s against military regulations for certain U.S. service members to carry umbrellas, even when in dress military uniforms. Which again points to ways to plan for contingencies: Service members who can’t carry umbrellas usually opt for raincoats when it’s pouring outside.
A flashlight placed in your car for emergencies, or a fire extinguisher mounted on the wall at your home are also examples. A survival kit filled with items normally kept in the house that you may need on the road if you break down is always smart. Just a small knapsack filled with a fresh thermos of cold water, toilet paper, a cigarette lighter, and so forth could go a long way toward being useful if necessary.
Along similar lines, a back-up plan for not running out of gas is to prioritize and top off more often than usual when you’re travelling. In other words, maybe it’s not a good idea to pass up that gas station on the Interstate while your gas tank still reads above half, because your next contingency plan may involve a small gas can and your feet.
One of rule of thumb for developing contingency plans is to – if possible – acquire two each for items that may cause problems if they break. Soldiers often carry two compasses on their persons, for example, or they ensure that they carry two navigation devices within a small tactical military unit for the off chance that device ceases to function properly.
Remember Y2K? Some communities stockpiled generators, portable light sets, food, and water – just in case. It actually might be something to spend some time thinking about. Progressing even further down the supply-chain, thought-process power curve – you may contemplate purchasing small sacks of garden seeds and some sort of water filtration system.
A simple way to establish contingency plans is to examine your daily situations to determine where you need to improve. Having an umbrella around when you need one is common sense. Conducting a comprehensive contingency plan study around your house or apartment makes even more sense.
At the end of the day, you save time because you’re not wasting time exercising poor planning and even worse judgement at the last minute.