March 2024 newsletter

Hazard Vulnerability Assessment, or HVA

8/7/20233 min read

Welcome back to this informational series about planting seeds in your mind regarding preparing for a situation where ‘Just-in-time’ resupply can’t happen. In short words: Prepping. Last month we reviewed what the very first steps are which you should take (your personal HVA) so that your energies are properly focused: identifying what challenges you are most likely to face in Grid-Down AND economic failure and then address those directly. This month we’ll take the items from your list of what you can offer in a dire situation and work them into an ‘economic’ strategy.

Just as canning will leave you with a limited and finite band-aid to a food shortage, when you consider bartering, those limited items will also be of the most value to you. So expend them very judiciously. Ideally you should work and trade with items (or services) that you can replicate. EG if you have means to dehydrate food stuffs in the absence of electricity (those kind of dehydrators do exist), then you have both a service to offer in trade with others AND you have product as well.

But who are you going to commerce with? Can a Farmers Market exist or even be trusted as a place to do ‘business’? Will looters and the have-nots will be able to disrupt? It’s an environment I’d be exceptionally hesitant to enter. Do you know who your neighbor is? A better question is; how well do you know your neighbor/s? An Army officer friend of mine has done this with his neighbors on the block where they live in NE Portland. Between a few of them there exists a loose alliance if the lights go out or if antifa/BLM come to their neighborhood. They have a plan. You need to network in your locale and build a plan of your own.

If you’re wondering why your neighbors and your relationship with them is relevant, the answer is that they will be your first ‘customers’. And vice-versa. Just like with my Army friend; as your efforts of networking expand, more people will find you and you them. Whatever the exchange is based on (barter, service, money, information, etc.) is totally up to you! But if you don’t know your neighbors and they don’t know you, you will quickly find that life on an island isn’t exactly coconuts and rum!

Right now the lights are on and thus the ‘season’ to get your house in order. Yesterday we bought a freeze dryer with two goals in mind: cheaply create a 25yr food storage for ourselves AND build a surplus for trading with others when times get hard. We’re also going to offer our freeze dryer services to our neighbors in exchange for other commodities or services EG grading our gravel driveway or helping build chicken coops, etc. This is a perfect example of what I’m talking about in the 2nd paragraph.

What you can do is limitless-unless you place limits on yourself, but why would you do that? Get your HVA done; take a hard look at your situation and address your strengths (things you can produce/reproduce/trade, etc.) and areas you need to get remedied ASAP (shelter, heat, food, protection, etc.). My Army friend lives in the suburbs on 1/8th of an acre so he can’t run chickens and only has a small garden, he knows his ability to remain on-site is limited. But while he’s there, he’s created a mutually beneficial network within his community of folks helping each other.

When he has to bug-out, he’s already got his survival trailer and mostly EMP/CME proof vehicle ready. Whether you decide to Bug-in, or Bug-out like my Army friend will have to do; You Will Still End Up Someplace…and in that someplace is where you’re going to have to make a new life. A new life that will require ‘commerce’ and an ability on your part to be self-reliant and able to trade for the things you need to maintain your existence. You will be both Consumer and Producer (if you’ve done your homework and practiced ahead of time), and you need to be ready. Put another way, I would rather have the ability and knowledge to live like folks in the 1700’s and never use it, than to find myself up that proverbial creek without paddle and sans canoe. The time to start is today.


Joshua Van Dyke is a Concordia University graduate in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He has escaped Oregon to Southern Idaho where he and his wife are in the process of building their self-sufficient (as much as possible) homestead.