Your communications. The way that we communicate with the outside world. Think for a moment how you do that and how important that is. How robust are your communications? What would your life look like, if it was all taken from you? Once you realize that, you can look at your own situation and plan for the loss of some or most of your communications.
The PACE acronym is a great way to remember your communications plan. Let me explain: PACE is an acronym for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency. Whenever communications between two parties are important, that line of communications will progress through those four stages until communications are reestablished. PACE is how we designate the order in which the parties move through available communications systems until contact can be established between the two parties.
Just how critical the line of communications is between those two parties will dictate how many steps are used. Ideally each method will be completely separate and independent of the other systems of communication. As an example, let’s look at a sample of communications between two parties:
- Primary: This is the primary means that contact is made. It is monitored continuously. In our example, we know that the two parties constantly carry cell phones, so they have chosen to primarily communicate using cell phones to send text messages and/or phone calls.
- Alternate: This is a secondary means of communication that is monitored nearly continuously. It uses, but does not require, cell phones. In this case, our two parties use email sent over the Internet.
- Contingency: This method will not be as fast, easy, or convenient as the first two methods, but is capable of accomplishing the task. The parties rarely monitor this method. In this case, our two parties have agreed that they will reach each other by using radios. They have also agreed upon a channel/frequency plan that will be used to communicate.
- Emergency: This is a method of reestablishing contact of last resort and typically has significant delays, costs, and/or impacts. Often only monitored when the other means fail. In the case of our two individuals, they have agreed to communicate by means of messages that will be left with at known trusted location (think geo caching, or a dead drop) A message might read: “Hey Skunk: I’m doing well. I will be at drop 6 in three days. Meet me in three days by arriving at point Chevy and calling on Channel Green. Booger sends”
Make sure that you have a way to reach those important to you. Make sure those communication paths are redundant. Make sure that they are secure. The time to plan is now. Hat tip to Aesop for the post idea.