December 18, 2017

When Would You Say It Has Hit The Fan?

the fan

The phrase “hitting the fan” is used by many to indicate when things get bad.  We make plans and buy preparations to mitigate future events, but what would need to occur for you to say that “it has hit the fan” and put your plans in motion to start using your preparations?


Defining the Severity of the Event

I think we first need to understand that there are different levels of events and that the severity of them can be somewhat subjective, based on the level of our individual preparedness.  There are large scale events that could affect a large portion of the population, but there are also smaller events that might only impact a single family.  For example an EMP attack over the United States could affect most of America and possibly Canada or Mexico as well.  Conversely a fire that completely destroys your neighbor’s home, while horrible, really only impacts them.

I believe that the large scale events will be easier to tell when “it’s hitting the fan” because multiple news sources will probably be reporting about it.  Other “slow boil” events might not be as easy to tell if there is a problem, or how bad it might actually be.

There is a metaphor about a frog in a boiling pot; I have heard the metaphor is true and false.  Frogs are cold blooded and their body temperature is regulated by their surroundings.  If you place a frog in a boiling pot of water, they’ll immediately jump out.  But if you put a frog in a pot of cool water and turn the heat up very slowly, the frog’s body temperature will rise slowly with it.  The water can slowly be turned up until it reaches a boiling point and the frog will not jump out.  Like I said, I don’t know if this is true or not, but it’s a great metaphor to explain the slow boil event.

Slow boil events could happen over days, weeks or even months; the danger occurs when we become acclimated to it and don’t realize how bad things really are.  An example of it could be a seemingly natural seasonal flu season turning into a pandemic.  It could take weeks before it is full blown.  At what point would you implement a self-quarantine of your family?

The economy is another example; how many of us lost money from our 401k or other investments in the last five years?  When do we decide things are too risky and it’s time to cash out or move to something safer?


Where Do You Draw The Line?

I have written before on Drawing a line in the sand, but how do you know when that line has been reached and you consider it to be hitting the fan?  For example the roads during a Minnesota snow storm can be very unforgiving, made worse by the average Minnesotan driver.  When I had to go into the office, I had a physical line in the sand so-to-speak.  There was an overpass that was the last easy place to turn around for quite a few miles.  If the roads gave me trouble before that spot, it was sufficiently hitting the fan bad enough for me to turn around and work from home.

I wish all events were that cut and dry, but there is no standard answer.  However this is something we all must think about.  Since there are no standard answers, I’ll just provide some topics and give some ideas.



At what point are there enough people sick for you to implement a self-quarantine for your family?  Do you keep your kids home and still go into work or does everyone stay put?


Gun Control

There have been some suggested measures to implement stricter gun control, but I don’t think the Overton Window has moved enough to really go after guns.  Maybe it won’t and maybe we’ll just see tighter restrictions going forward.  If there are more mass shootings, and the cry is made to stop gun violence at any cost, where do you draw the line?  Will you register your firearms?  Will you turn them in?  I don’t know if it will ever come to this, but I think it is something we need to think about now.


Battening Down

I think, in the vast majority of events, battening down is a better solution.  There are scenarios besides a pandemic when implementing a self-quarantine of sorts might be a good idea; civil unrest, grid down events, severe weather and others.  When are those events bad enough for you to say it has hit the fan and you’re staying put?


Bugging Out

While most events are better weathered from home, there are times when you must bug out.  For those with a BOL (Bug Out Location), this might be an easy decision to make.  If you don’t have a BOL, bugging out is far less pleasant, so the pull to leave might be less strong but ignoring it could be costly.  Event’s that could cause you to bug out are wildfire, severe weather, terrorist attacks, chemical leaks and others.  When is it bad enough to force you to flee to safety?


Closing Thoughts

The thought that sparked this article was contemplating how life would be different if we faced a true widespread survival situation, say an EMP.  There must be a point in any type of event when it is bad enough to change your daily life, which is possibly the point when things have “hit the fan”.


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