Macro versus micro events: How to prepare

Macro versus micro events: How to prepare

In terms of what we have to tackle on a daily basis, events can vary a great deal. If you throw in factors such as being with your family, travel, foreign destinations, austere environments, etc., things can really get interesting. One thing that helps me is looking at these events and classifying them as either micro or macro in terms of scale, frequency, and so on. I can then categorize them in a fashion which allows me to be better prepared in terms of my everyday carry (EDC).

First, let's define what we are talking about in terms of macro events and micro events.


Macro Events

Macro events are going to be something large-scale, significant, uncommon, or long-term when compared to the norm. When you think of macro events, think of something big in terms of severity. Examples could be:

  • Auto accident
  • Deadly force situation
  • Terrorist attack
  • Natural disaster


Micro Events

Micro events are going to be the small, petty, trivial, or common things that pop up during the course of a normal day or every so often. The severity and complexity of these are very low. Examples could be:

  • Minor cut on a finger
  • Note taking
  • Navigating in the dark
  • Opening packages


When talking about preparedness related to the two definitions above, your approach vary quite a bit. Keep in mind, we don’t talk about these subjects to live in a state of paranoia and fear. We talk about them in order to be prepared in a way that allows us to walk in confidence.

Some folks use a risk matrix to work through all kinds of risks and to help them better plan risk mitigation. It can be used for anything from private business to personal preparedness planning. Like them or not, these matrixes are a way for people to determine the frequency and severity of various types of risks. Some are pretty basic (see graphic below), while others may be very detailed and more complex.



Whether you agree with the use of these types of matrixes or not isn't the point. The point is every one of us has to have a way to evaluate what we need to be prepared for. In order for them to have value, our preparations should be based on something more than what new gear looks cool or what the newest fad is. I’m guilty in both of these areas.

When evaluating how to plan and prepare for micro events, we have more margin for error because the implications are small to non-existent. The impact of these events is low in terms of severity. In other words, if you are not adequately prepared to deal with the small issues that pop up on a daily basis, you will be fine. A worst-case scenario would be you go the whole day with a headache because you didn't carry pain medication. Or, maybe your phone dies and you have no way to communicate, check social media, or order a pizza. Oh, the humanity!

These types of things are inconveniences and can be annoying. For some folks, something small like this will dictate their mood and attitude for the entire day. It doesn’t take too many days of having a dead phone for someone to start carrying a charger. Fortunately, these types of things can typically be handled fairly easily with your Tier 1 or Tier 2 EDC. 

The good thing is people tend to develop some form of EDC naturally over time based on these daily occurrences. You may be someone who has never heard of the term everyday carry or EDC, but I guarantee you are “participating”  in everyday carrry in one way or another. Your EDC may not be very effective or efficient, but odds are there are certain things you are carrying on a daily basis.

When I look at putting some thought into planning for micro events, I’m typically looking at low severity incidents. My most basic EDC items are carried to deal with the high frequency, low severity issues I run into. It may be cutting open boxes, writing notes, or using a flashlight for one reason or another. These are all types of things I do pretty much every single day. I want to be able to handle then as efficiently and effectively as possible; therefore, I am intentional about carrying the right gear to do so.

If it is something that is low frequency and low severity I’m probably not going to put much effort into preparing or planning for it on the front end. If I do, it is way down on my priority list. If it is an issue that pops up once a year and it’s not big deal, I don’t see any reason to waste time or resources planning for it. That energy and effort can be better used elsewhere.

When it comes to macro events, the consequences they carry can be profound. I’m talking about events where the severity of the risk is great if not planned for accordingly. It can get tricky when planning on how to mitigate these types of things. It is very subjective and is based on lots of variables that may influence your preparations. Things like:

  • Weather considerations (hurricane area vs. tornado area)
  • Where you live geographically within a city (high crime vs. low crime)
  • Where you are traveling to
  • Medical considerations (deathly allergic to bee stings) 

If you are deathly allergic to bee stings you probably carry something like an EpiPen. If you get stung and you do not have one, the implications could be severe. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have one handy to treat an anaphylactic reaction.

High-risk events require training in addition to planning. If you carry a firearm for self-defense, it’s not enough to get your license to carry, buy a handgun, and start carrying it. You need to seek out qualified training and learn how to use that weapon effectively. Ideally, you will be able to walk away with enough knowledge to plan your own practice sessions and diagnose the mistakes you are making. If you aren’t able to do it on your own, seek out more training. The same thing goes for medical considerations. Medical training is one of those areas you can’t afford to skimp on. Do yourself a favor and get yourself trained.

Keep in mind, there is no way to prepare for every high-risk scenario. You will drive yourself crazy and you can let it rob your joy. Do your best to prepare for the types of things that have a higher potential to happen. Some things can be handled by avoiding the risk altogether. If there is a high risk of something bad happening by traveling to a certain foreign country...don’t go there. Some things can’t be avoided...plan accordingly.

So, in summary you should plan for little stuff to make your days better overall and plan/train for the big stuff to so you can walk in confidence knowing things are in order to the best of your ability.