PACE Plans

⁃ Every time you leave the house…
⁃ Every time you go into the woods…
⁃ Every time you contemplate a natural or man-made emergency…
⁃ Every time you lock the door behind you in your home.


In military circles we are taught to habitually develop PACE Plans for every operation and exercise. These are often written down as part of a formal operations order or articulated verbally for routine actions on contact (let’s face it though, there is nothing “routine” about indirect fire, is there?).

P - Primary
A - Alternate
C - Contingency
E - Emergency

P.A.C.E. Planning is about mitigating risk by developing 3 back up plans. If the Primary plan doesn’t work, go to the Alternate. The alternate is usually almost as good as the primary and achieves the same end state, but may require a little more effort. If the Alternate doesn’t work, do the Contingency Plan. If that fails, then accomplish you mission with the Emergency plan. A P.A.C.E. Plan isn’t rocket science, but is a simple and effective tool you can use to ensure that you accomplish your mission and get the job done.

These USUALLY migrate from complex/easy to execute to more simple and difficult/risky tasks. For example, if you have a blow out in a road trip, your PACE plan may look like this.

P - Call roadside assistance.
A - Use the spare and change it yourself (make sure you know where your spare tire and jack are located, as well as how to use it).
C - Flag down a passerby for assistance.
E - Leave your vehicle and walkout (or remain in place and ask for assistance).

PACE Plans apply to most things you do, especially during emergency situations. It’s important to think through these events, write down your plan and articulate it to the members of your family or team.

For practice, try a couple of easy examples:

⁃ The stove goes out at the house or on a camping trip? What is your PACE Plan to eat?
⁃ There is a flood that prevents you from getting home on your direct route? What are your routes to get home (or if you cannot, where do you go?)?
⁃ You’ve booked a BNB for a weekend get away, but you’re unsure if the cell phone coverage in the area and you need to stay in touch with the family at home.

NOW, what about a bigger situation where your family is spread out over several work locations, school and other locations.  How do you get everyone in contact, moving to a safe area and ready to deal with whatever issue is at hand?  It can get complicated quickly, but that is why you need to do it ahead of time, on a drive or around the supper table.

Start thinking PACE on your daily routine and make it an integral part of your emergency preparedness planning.


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