I have an advantage over a normal family


My husband was military for many years; his mantra was “two is one and one is none” My family would be self-sufficient in a time when most of the population would depend on the local and federal governments. We have made our lives in an area with lots of land and few people. My intentions with this research paper are to explain the process my family has in place when we are directly affected by a disaster. Using the National Response Framework (NRF) and Incident Command System (ICS), as a basis, I hope to show how we would scale them to fit our needs during most disasters.

My Family Disaster

McEntire (2013) defines disasters as “deadly destructive and disruptive events that occur when a hazard interacts with human vulnerablity (p. 3).” Disasters kill, destroy, and disrupt the societial norms we have grown accustomed in our lives. Disasters destroy infrastructure and provate property making it difficult to continue with a normal routine. McEntire (2013) defines a hazard as a trigger to a disaster (p.

3). There are natural hazards, technological hazards,and man-made hazards (McEntire, 2013).


Anderson County, South Carolina has several hazards that would affect my family. Anderson County sits outside the fifty (50) mile emergency planning zone (EPZ) of the Oconee Nuclear Station (ONS). It is designated as an evacuation county in the event of a radiological disaster. The greatest risk of exposure would come from an accident. Terror is a possibility but it is a very low possibility because the security at ONS is so high (n.

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d., Disasters We Face, 2018). As a side note, forty-one (41) of the forty-six (46) counties in South Carolina are in 10-50 mile radius of a nuclear plant. Communities that are within ten (10) miles of a nuclear station receive emergency planning information, mailed to all addresses, annually (n.d., Nuclear Plants, 2018).

South Carolina states that some hazards such as earthquakes, terrorism, and dam failure are labeled as “possible”, but not “likely”. Hurricanes and tropical storms are hazards labeled by South Carolina as “likely” to happen. Hazardous materials accident during transport based on the many interstates and highways are labeled by South Carolina “highly likely” to happen. Hazards such as tornados, floods, and structural fire is labeled as a “critical” hazard that is “highly likely” to happen. Civil disorder, winter storms, and wildfire are labeled as “highly likely” to happen. A drought is labeled as a “negligible” hazard that is “likely” to happen (n.d., SCEOP 1247/05 – Basic Plan, 2018).


McEntire (2013) describes the four (4) phases of emergency management as preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery (p. 4). The preparedness phase allows your family to plan for the disasters that your family could face living in Anderson County, South Carolina. The mitigation phase is where homeowners, flood, and auto insurance are used to protect your property when a disaster strikes. The response phase is where you have to deal with the disaster as it happens. This is where you discover if your plans were good, are not. The priorities of life, property and environment are put into action during this phase (McEntire, 2013).

  1.  Life Safety (Pull the people from the burning building)
  2.  Incident Stabilization (Keep the fire from getting worse and spreading)
  3.  Property Conservation (Put the fire out and save as much of the building as possible)
  4. Environmental Conservation (Keep the runoff of water from polluting the creek) (Pennington, 2011)

The recovery phase is when society gets back to normal (McEntire, 2013).

Family planning is different from Emergency Management planning. The basics are the same, but family planning is on a smaller scale. The phases may blend into each other when you are planning with your family. Some of the phases do blend into each other when you are planning with your family. The very act of planning helps with the response to a disaster. The more you think about what you would do when a certain disaster happens, the better prepared you are to react. The plans your family will depend on have to be ‘tested’ to ensure they will work. Each disaster that your family experiences, allows your family to learn for the next disaster (Pennington, 2011).

My Learning Curve

Unfortunately, when you watch the news during a disaster you hear of the deaths that occur because the people thought material things were too important to leave behind. How can you explain to a child that they do not have a parent any longer because their parent had to save some baby photos? The materialistic society in which we live causes people to think with their hearts and bank account, and not with their brains. I am certain there is a family member that has a copy of many of the photos people are literally dying to save. My family understands that material things can be replaced. This line of thinking may also help me understand why my family reacts to situations.

South Carolina may not seem like a place that has catastrophic hazards, but looks can be deceiving. In 2018, South Carolina has suffered from floods, tornados, ice storms, hurricanes, etc. While all of these can be devastating to the communities that are affected, in my opinion, ice storms are the most dangerous hazard. The ice storms can last from a few hours to several days. The actual remnants of the storm can last for several days to a couple of weeks.

My family has lived in the upstate of South Carolina since 2001. While I cannot remember how many tornadoes, tornado warnings, hurricanes, and thunderstorms we have endured, I can absolutely remember every ice storm we have survived. The south does not do well with ice and snow. My husband is from Kansas City, Missouri where it snows all winter long. He has always found it amusing how people in the south panic at the thought of an ice event or snowstorm. He could never understand why every grocery store sells out of milk and bread at the mention of an ice event or snowstorm. He had this opinion until we moved to the upstate of South Carolina.

On Thursday, December 15, 2005, a severe ice storm occurred. Ice up to ¾’ accumulated in the upstate of South Carolina. More than five hundred twenty-seven thousand (527,000) power outages were reported in the upstate of South Carolina alone. My family lived in a subdivision surrounded by houses and people. You would imagine that if there are more people and homes around, things might be easier, not true. My family had no power from December 15th to December 22nd, 7 days after the storm. Electricity is something that is needed to live comfortably; it is not needed to survive. Yes, it was miserable, but we survived (n.d., REVIEW OF DUKE ENERGY CAROLINAS DECEMBER 2005 ICE STORM RECOVERY , 2007).

My family was lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace. We had wood delivered to our home approximately one (1) week before the ice storm. My family used the fire to stay warm. We used a campfire grate (placing it inside the fireplace) to cook and make coffee. My son jokes that he ate better during that storm than he ever has. With the power being out for so long the meat in the freezer started to thaw. I cooked every item in the freezer. I cooked extra food for my neighbors to eat. We used the fire for light once the sun went down. It was difficult but survivable one because my family was able to use the fireplace.

The storm caught that everyone by surprise happened on February 13, 2014. This storm caused interstate 85 to become a parking lot. This storm also blocked us in our driveway. There was approximately one (1”) inch of ice at the end of my driveway, on the roadway. No one could drive down the road. We could not leave our house. This ice lasted for approximately three (3) days. Our neighbors actually had to bring their dozer down to break up the ice so we could leave our area. This ice storm would have created a major problem had it not been for the pre-planning my family does.

My Disaster

My family has learned a lot from these storms and others. Should a situation arise, such as, an ice ‘stormaggedon’, we are better prepared. Learning from our past mistakes will make the next storm easier to manage. We, my family and my neighbors, have decided to go into together to purchase salt for the road that froze over in 2014. This minor prep idea will allow the roads to stay clear for emergency vehicles and our vehicles to be on the road.

My family is lucky to live in an area surrounded by land and a few homes. We have a natural underground spring, which never freezes, located in front area of our home. It is covered by dirt, but could easily be uncovered should the need ever rise. We have wildlife everywhere.

We have approximately thirty (30) chickens that can be used for food via the eggs or the chicken itself. We plant a garden every spring. I am very careful to harvest this garden for canning and freezing for the winter months. Canning these items allow them to last a very long time should we need to use them if grocery stores are not available. With this type of planning, food would not be an issue.

Electricity is the only item we cannot really control. While we use the summer to stock up on wood for heating purposes, this will not give us electricity when it fails due to the ice on the lines. Ice storms are notorious for taking down our power lines. We live in an older, rural area, our power lines are all above ground. Ice on the lines is not our only worry. The ice forming on the very old trees is another concern. Most of our trees are fifty (50) to eighty (80) feet tall. One of those starts coming down; anything in its path is destroyed. We have a small gas generator that will allow us to charge our phones, play a radio, plug a lamp, etc. This will be enough to allow us to survive until the power is restored.


Incident Command System (ICS) was adopted as the national standard (Roulo, 2014). The organization of ICS allows for the application of parts of ICS structure instead of the application of the whole system every time. There are several levels of ICS that may not be need during a small-scale situation (Pennington, 2011). There are four (4) organizational sections within ICS: planning, operations, logistics, and finance (McEntire, 2013). ICS was developed with the idea and ability that not all levels would be needed yet the system will work successfully no matter how many levels are in play. However, if during the disaster, the system needs to expand on the fly, ICS has that functional ability. This flexibility enables the ICS to benefit any situation (Pennington, 2011).

ICS’ management structure changes based on the size, scope, and nature of the incident. Having no absolute standard allows ICS to be used by individuals, businesses, law enforcement, first responders, and the government (local and federal). A small-scale incident could allow one person to do more than one job using ICS. Large-scales situations usually require each section to be set up separately, with different staff members managing each section.

The Incident Commander and Planning Section Chief usually establish a plan. The Planning Section Chief develops an Incident Action Plan (IAP). The Incident Commander needs to approve the plan (Incident Command System, 2016). In my family, I am the Incident Commander. My husband is the Planning Section Chief. My husband’s background in the military makes him a great planner. The mantra of ‘two is one and one is none’ is my husband. We work really well as a team so coming up with a plan to handle an ice storm is one of the first things we would do. Having a plan will not work if we do not attempt to put the plan into action when there is no disaster. It is imperative that we are familiar with the plan, or it will not work.

The operations section would be a whole family situation. My family would split the jobs needed to help my family survive. We know the plan, now we have to make the plan a reality. The logistics section would also be a family event. My husband and son gathered the fuel, wood, etc. for the home. I gathered the food from canning. We all gather the fresh food i.e. meat. My son and husband would be able to hunt deer, squirrel, rabbit, etc. The chickens would fall on me.

The finance section would be me. I am the budget master. I am able to secure the money for any fuel and barter for anything else. Trading my can goods for items I may not need is as good as heading to the atm. Our rural living would make bartering a necessary commodity. The need to procure wood, fuel, food would be an ongoing effort well before the rain starts. This is the part where you put your pre-planning into play. It does not matter if you are the federal or state government, a preparedness group, or a family these concepts are timeless and reduce confusion when the stress of a disaster is at the highest (Pennington, 2011).


Having an understanding of national emergency plans can assist families in a disaster. The National Response Framework (NRF) is a scalable, flexible, and adaptable structure. It is the key to aligning the roles and responsibilities, giving it the ability to deliver its core capabilities. There are 15 core capabilities in the mission area. The capabilities are planning; public information; critical transportation; operational coordination; environmental response; fire management and suppression; infrastructure systems; logistics and supply chain management; fatality management services; mass care services; mass search and rescue operations, on-scene security, protection; operational communication; public health; and situational assessment (National Response Framework – Third Edition, 2016).

Not all of these capabilities would be used when my family experiences a disaster such as an ice storm. The NRF is easily molded to all it to work for all disasters. The planning, operational, infrastructure, logistics, and supply chain would help us survive an ice storm. I hope not to have to use the on-scene security but if others did not plan, they may believe it is all right to take what we have planned for my family. We hope to never use force, but when things hit the fan, people are different.

The NRF is a guide that describes the basis of the national response to the disaster. The NRF was developed from a long line of response guidance plans. The NRF is comprised of four (4) sections. These are the foundation document, the Emergency Support Functions (ESF) Annexes, the Support Annexes, and the Incident Annexes. The annexes describe how the NRF is implemented (National Response Framework – Third Edition, 2016). The NRF is based on several guiding principles: engaged partnership, tiered response, scalable, flexible, and adaptable operations, unity of effort/unified command, and readiness to act (McEntire, 2013).

My family can easily follow the four (4) guiding principles. We as a family are obviously an engaged partnership. The neighborhood would also be considered an engaged partnership when we work together to keep the road clear of ice with the salt and any equipment used. We understand that we have to work slowly to ensure the response is tailored to fit the problem. We would not throw all of our food in the freezer away if the power were to go out. We would monitor how the food is thawing and slowly cook the food based on which items thaw first.

As far as ‘scalable, flexible, and adaptable operations’ we would tackle one obstacle at a time. We would not invite every neighbor into our home to protect the masses. This would cause us to be unable to control the operation. We understand that our plan would need to be flexible to handle if a neighbor did need help from us to survive.

We have to be unified for any of the plan to work. If my husband wants to kill half of the chickens instead of hunting, we would have to discuss how this would affect us in the future. Making a decision without working the plan will only make the situation worse. The others may not trust your decisions after that reaction. Knowing when to act is very important. If a neighbor asks for a chicken or eggs, do not assume he is going to take all of your chickens. If the whole neighborhood comes to my home and starts ransacking our food supply this is a time to act in security of your family. If it starts to rain, do not enact our ice plan if the temperature outside is fifty (50) degrees.

The NRF is intended to guide the entire national community’s response efforts. The inclusion of the whole community is necessary to promote national preparedness for the disaster. While the NRF states that families are not ‘formal’ operators, the public can increase national resilience, preparedness, and response by satisfying their role. The goal is to include the whole community with actions such as household hazard reduction. Another way the whole community can get involved is by volunteering with some organizations or programs. The whole community includes individuals, governments (local, state, and federal), organizations, etc.


Information is the key to being ready for any disaster. Understanding that not all disasters can be handled by yourself, with your family, is important. Having a plan and sticking to the plan is the best way to know when you are in over your head. When a family plans for a disaster they must take into consideration their family needs. Thinking ahead and realizing there may be no water or electricity. Communication systems might be down for a while, leaving you to fend for your family (Roulo, 2014).

It is critical that every person, who is affected by the plan, is involved with the plan. The preparedness, response and recovery will be worthless if only the person writing the plan is knowledgeable of the plan. One must remember the plan is only as good as its weakest member. Rehearsing the plans is just as important as having a plan (National Response Framework – Third Edition, 2016).

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I have an advantage over a normal family. (2021, Dec 04). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/i-have-an-advantage-over-a-normal-family/

I have an advantage over a normal family
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