PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency) Survival Planning

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”                    – Robert Burns

Failing to plan, is planning to fail. Having a “simple” plan that provides a single course action is only one step removed from having no plan at all.  With the onset of a single piece of bad luck, the wheels may come off of a simple plan. What if “X” does not work? What if conditions change? What if something goes wrong? In military circles, it is widely recognized that “most plans never survive the first contact with the enemy”.

Better survival plans incorporate a “Plan B” in case something goes wrong and “Plan A” is no longer a viable option. This is a much more robust plan. It recognizes that “bad things happen”. In most cases a “Plan B” will be sufficient.

However, if we are discussing planning to survive through some sort of catastrophe (a LOT of bad things will be happening over an extended period), we will need VERY robust plans.
PACE planning makes an extremely robust plan. PACE provides four alternative parallel solutions that can be applied effectively as circumstances change:

  • Primary: The normal or expected method or means used to achieve the objective. (e.g. “I will use my disposable butane lighter to start a fire.”)





  • Alternate: A fully satisfactory means or method of achieving the objective with can be used with minimal impact. (e.g. “If my butane lighter does not work, I will use my peanut lighter to start a fire.”)




  • Contingency: A workable means or method of achieving the objective. This method may not be as fast or easy as the first two methods but this method is capable of achieving the objective with an acceptable amount of time and effort. (e.g. “If none of my lighters work, I will use my magnesium – ferrocerrium bar to start a fire.”)





  • Emergency: A brute force means or method of achieving the objective. This is a last resort and typically may involve significantly more time an effort than any of the other means or methods. (e.g. “If my lighters and magnesium – ferrocerrium bar do not work, I will use a “fire drill” to start a fire.”)






The survivor that thinks through all the alternatives in advance will be better prepared for the unexpected.

About Swamp Yankee

I have been living off the grid deep in the Northern New England forest for over ten years.
I am a: Christian; Libertarian; Husband; Father; Friend; Neighbor; Engineer; MBA; Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Inventor.
My interests include: Wilderness Survival; Primitive Survival; Tracking; SERE; CQB; Asymetric Warfare; Organic Gardening; Cooking; Homesteading; Self Sufficiency; Sustainability; Appropriate Technology; Alternative Energy; Emergency Medicine; Ecology; Economics and History.

Category(s): Survival Planning
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