Monday, September 7, 2020



Royal Army Medical Corps, by F. Matania Wellcome

Triage was originally a concept used to maximize the effect of limited medical resources on the battlefield.

Some wounded were capable of fending for themselves and could walk to rear-areas on their own.

Some wounded were in dire need but timely intervention could save their lives.

Other wounded were so severely wounded that they would die regardless of the care they received. The resources used to care for them would inevitably reduce resources available to wounded who could survive...if they got timely care.

Life has ebbs-and-flows, even in times that are not sporty.

We have children who need our attention. We have parents who are getting older. More demands are made on our time than we have hours of the day. Usually, we have time to ponder and can make considered, well-reasoned decisions. We decide what efforts to support and what efforts to let-go.

However, sometimes life comes at us very quickly. That is when it is difficult to make good decisions. Planning is best done before the bullets are whizzing overhead


One of my internet friends lives in the hot, arid southwest. We were talking about the sporty times that might be ahead of us. He made various preparations but realizes that it might be impossible for him to keep all of his initiatives alive.

An acre of land somewhere near my friend's place. There is enough moisture for about 20% vegetation cover.

His long-term plan is that the trees-and-shrubs should eventually be self-sustaining. He looks out from his deck and sees alligator juniper, piñon and, off in the distance sagebrush, creosote brush and the like. They might be hundreds of years old. They germinated at the beginning of a wet period and drove roots down deeply enough to sustain them when the weather returned to normal.

His "operation" is a grab-bag of drought tolerant, food producing woody and perennial plants and a smattering of fast maturing annuals. If the grid goes down for a month (or longer) then many of his younger and some of his middle-aged plants are not going to make it. 

Since he is not near an "important" urban center his area is likely to be among the last to get back on the grid.

He is formalizing a plan. Maybe he cannot save every perennial sunflower, but he can save a couple of them. Maybe he cannot save every young fig tree but young trees are small and don't need a lot of water. He can save one of each variety and have them widely spaced so they are not competing with each other.

His triage plan is unique to his land, his resources, his history, his goals and his expectations of what might happen. If things get unpredictable, his plan will undoubtedly change but he HAS a plan and he has already thought through his priorities. Those changes will be incremental rather than catastrophic.

Making a plan

What can you give up with very little pain? Those are the easy ones. Maybe you watch your grand-daughter play sports in a travel-league. How hard is it going to be to not travel to Ohio on the weekend?

Others might be tougher. Are you going to stop using the snow-blower to clear snow from your driveway? That might sound like a stupid question but if you don't have much gas in the can and the county is not plowing the roads then it is a legitimate question.

It is good to have a plan on-the-shelf, even if it is just the skeleton of a plan. Humans are far better at being critical than being creative. If you have the plan then you have something you can cut-to-fit as the situation evolves. That is much easier than pooping out a plan on the fly. 


  1. "....even if it is just the skeleton of a plan". This.

    There is a human tendency to never start a plan if it cannot he fleshed out completely. I know because I see it in myself and others. A bare bones plan carried out, for all its incompleteness, is way better than a complete and detailed plan not carried out.

  2. Plan. Something from which you deviate.

    No plan = pure reaction, a recipe for poor decisions.

    "Stick to the Plan" is not a good strategy in changing times.
    It implies that the plan is perfect and took into consideration all the factors since the formation of the plan. Highly unlikely.

  3. One of the reasons FMJ were used instead of hollow point/dum dum cartridges. One wounded = three out of the fight, as two were required to carry the litter back to the rear.

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    2. That's a workable plan assuming your foe is willing to care for his comrades. Did you happen to see how many ran to the assistance of the rioter that set his feet on fire? I'm betting there are other foes that might be more intent on slicing and dicing you than getting their friend to medical care.

  4. I ran as an EMT in the 80s and they taught triage of accident scenes. Fortunately I never hit one where I had to make a choice. Look at the land use map on today's Old NFO's blog. I read in an alternate farm mag back in the seventies that four fifths of the world's agricultural land is for only for grazing. Remember that no plan survived first contact with the enemy! Maybe the enemy of the Anasazi was a 400 year drought or maybe it was the first of the current Indian tribes coming from Asia. In the western US how you use potential water resources may make the difference between surviving in place or hitting the road!

  5. I am a rock
    I am an island
    I've built walls
    A fortress deep and mighty
    That none may penetrate
    I am a rock
    I am an island


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