Caching: Are multiple supply pools right for lazy readiness?

8 August, 2011

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Sam Beebe / Ecotrust

Short version: Probably not.

Slightly longer version: Maybe, but only in specific ways.

Real answer:
First, let’s answer the question “what is caching?”, at least in this context. The idea is that one might distribute multiple, redundant ‘caches’ of supplies in strategically valuable locations. From our standpoint, this would be the idea of building your emergency kit and then building several additional kits and putting them places (outside of the home) where they might be useful to you. Many people already do some variation of this; for example, keeping a spare, clean shirt at the office for emergencies. This is just taking that idea to its next logical extreme.

Where might it make sense to apply some kind of distributed model for your disaster recovery plan? Most of us won’t always be at home when trouble strikes, and more importantly, we may not be able to get home easily. So there is some value in keep some supplies in those places you do spend a lot of time. For many of us this might include work (or school) and in the car, but might also include a close relatives home. Any place you spend a significant amount of time is a valid candidate. The car, if you drive regularly, is an excellent candidate if it is unlikely you’ll be away from home without it. Cache some items in your car’s trunk and you’re setup wherever you go.

a slightly silly species
Squirrels – masters of caching (Creative Commons License photo credit: Tomi Tapio)

There are some good reasons this isn’t necessarily a good idea for you. The magic word is right there in the definition: Redundant. Additional supply caches require you to purchase/acquire extra components that you otherwise wouldn’t need to buy, driving the cost of setting up higher. Likewise, you’ll have to spend more effort on maintaining these multiple kit bundles, making sure the perishables are still fresh enough to be useful. Additional bundles mean more of your life, time, money, etc are being taken up with disaster readiness work and this is counter to the “lazy principle” – that we can be ready for trouble without negatively affecting our day-to-day life.

There is a reasonable middle ground I think, but first, “get your house in order”. That is, get your home readiness kit solid before you start spending any time thinking about secondary kits. Then look only at the places that really make the most sense to setup additional caches. Consider ways, like the trunk of the car, which would let you be ready in multiple places at once.

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2 Responses to Caching: Are multiple supply pools right for lazy readiness?

  1. 9 August, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Personally, I plan to engage in some caching of the sort you describe (Home, Vehicle, Office). The duplication of effort and costs are a concern. Perhaps some unnecessary redundancy can be avoided by implementing “on person” items or keeping caches outside those three limited to items that are likely to be expended quickly or that you might not need until you reach that particular area or setting.

  2. 9 August, 2011 at 10:08 am

    My personal distribution is to have a large shelter-in-place box at home, a smaller “go bag” pack in my car with just the basics, and then a few more work-specific items in work (since I drive).

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