There are a lot of different ways that you can make a threat assessment. Some are very complicated, but they don’t need to be. A basic assessment of the threats that are in your area can be as simple as figuring out which of possible events are more likely to happen and which would affect you more if they did.
The first thing to do is make a list of all the things that have a potential for occurring. Don’t worry about how likely or realistic the event is, just get it written down. Back in December of 2009 I wrote a blog post that was a list on some of the things you should consider when making your potential list. Use this as a place to get your mind in gear.
Often, it helps to drive, walk or ride a bike around the area your analyzing, as this can clue you into hazards that you might not have previously noticed. Here’s a general outline of making your assessment.
Steps in making a threat Assessment:
- List of all the potential things that can happen to you, it doesn’t matter how small the event might be, list it anyway. Make sure to do this for every place you spend time: home, work, retreat, etc. Split them into the following areas, based on how close the event would be to you:
- Personally (person, house, family)
- Locally (neighborhood, city/town)
- Regionally (county, state)
- Nationally (country)
- Separate each of your listed events into whether they happen suddenly or there is a prediction/warning period:
- Rapid Onset – these are the events that happen with little to no warning, like tornadoes, car accidents, bombings. Rapid Onset events need special attention because you have less time to react to them, which means you’ll need to be more prepared for these events.
- Slow Onset – these are events that can be predicted to occur at a certain time and have a warning period, which sometimes allows you more time to get ready.
- Next step is to create your scale, like 0 – 4, with 0 being zero chance or impact and 4 being high chance or impact. This isn’t an arbitrary scale, the numbers need to mean something, like 0 for none and 4 for maximum. I like using a 5 number scale, which allows me to using ratings like: zero, slight, medium, likely, definitely. However, use what makes sense to you.
- Go through the list and rank each event using the scale you created for:
- Likelihood of occurrence
- Severity of impact to you
- Once you have scored each event for occurrence and impact, add these scores up.
- Those events in Rapid Onset categories that scored high are the things you need to plan for first.
Typically, it helps to make a chart on paper or on a computer spreadsheet.
I would think that you would have found that the personal disaster events like health and injury issues, car accidents, property crime and home fires would be some of the more likely to happen. A lot of these types of events can be mitigated with the proper insurance.
You can group your response to these events into common things to do; you don’t need a separate plan for each and every potential event. This makes your preparedness plan more efficient and flexible.
In general, you’re going to want to plan for the events that have less warning, are more likely it is to happen and have a greater the impact to you.