by: Donald Byrne, CBCP, CDCP, CBRO-M, Lead Auditor, Adjunct Professor, Boston University

Given the media excitement surrounding a possible global cataclysm on December 21, 2012, the writing team at felt an obligation to put together The Definitive Readiness Checklist to better prepare you for this pending world-changing event. 

Even if the largely Mayan-based prophesied catastrophe doesn’t occur, following this checklist’s recommendations will help you be better prepared for virtually any crisis. 

Before preparing for the END, let’s return to the beginning and start with some background on how we all learned of the 2012 danger.

Genesis of the 2012 Prophesies

Much of the concern over the date December 21, 2012 can be traced to Dr. Jose Arguelles’ popular “new age” book entitled Mayan Factor. In this 1987 work, Dr. Arguelles detailed his understanding of the Mayan people’s cosmology and their calendaring system (mostly using a base-20 numbering scheme which sometimes changes to base-18). 

Originally intended to bring attention to the Quetzalcoatl’s Prophecy of the 13 Heavens and 9 Hells, the Mayan Factor became the text of record for those interested in the forecasted 1987 Harmonic Convergence which was to usher in the prophecy. Of particular interest was his discussion of the Mayan Long-Count Calendar which chronicled the beginning of the Final Chapter of the 5,125 year-long Great Cycle. This final section of the Chapter period began in 1987 and ends with the Winter Solstice at 11:11 PM on December 21, 2012. Since this is the last recorded period in the Mayan calendar some have interpreted this date to signal the end of the world while others look forward to a rebirth and reawakening of the human spirit. 

Seeking further evidence of the importance of this 2012 date, some people point to other more arcane predictions attributed to the various sources including the Hopi tribe of North America, Nostradamus, numerological formulae, the author Zecharia Sitchen, and various 20th century sensitive’s. 

It is a fact that the Sun (and the Earth) will transit the ecliptic of the Milky Way galaxy on that day, just as it does twice a year (summer and winter solstice). Some people point to the fact that the alignment with the center of the Milky Way galaxy will be more precise in 2012 than it has been for the past 26,000 years but noted astronomers, as well as experts at NASA, dispute this claim. 

Regardless, the writers and editors of this ContinuityCompliance website want you to be prepared, and, so we have assembled the following readiness checklist. Follow it assiduously and you will be prepared for both the bad (should it occur) and the good (what we at are hoping for!).

The Definitive Readiness Checklist!

This checklist is organized into five sections:

  1. What to do if you are at work?
  2. What to do if you are at home?
  3. What to do if you are at a party?
  4. General advice on how to prepare for the worst, regardless of where you are on December 21, 2012.
  5. What to do if the worst happens. 

All of these scenarios share a common three-part strategy.  In fact the following strategies can be followed no matter the nature of the disaster you are facing:

  • First – Have a Plan of Action. This means knowing what you should do, where you should go, who you should take with you, and when you should initiate your plan.
  • Second – Have a Readiness Kit. Look at the list of recommended supplies shown below and make sure that they are assembled and secured in an easy-to-grab package. Many people keep such “grab and go” kits in a backpack or in hand luggage. In all cases, keep your collection of vital records and memories to a minimum! This portion of the “grab and go” kit should weigh no more than 5 lbs. Regardless of how you pack the material, know where the kit is and make sure you can access it quickly in an emergency. Since weather conditions can be unpredictable and severe at any time of the year take some steps to ensure that the kit is protected against moisture.
  • Third – Stay Informed. During any type of crisis, good communication saves lives! Know how to monitor official announcements, how to reach family members, and how to let others know how to reach you.  

Good luck and let’s hope that the predictions of disaster turn out to have no more credence than the last century’s forecasted Y2K catastrophe.

Where Will You Be?

Knowing where you will be and what you will be doing are important considerations when preparing to cope with the challenges of 2012. Consider the following scenarios.

If You Are At Work:

Work environments can pose a special difficulty at the end-of-the-world since many of the supplies and materials you would want may be stored at your home, in a bank vault, or with friends and relatives. Given this situation, if you are seriously concerned that 2012 represents a possible end to civilization as we know it, and you have to go to work; we suggest taking critical items with you. You certainly want to have multiple forms of identification as well as various keepsakes such as family photographs and other memorabilia. Birth records, insurance policies, and passports (if you have them) are a must. If you don’t have a passport – apply for one no later than March of 2012. If you drive a vehicle of any type, be prepared to abandon it and set out on foot. (Editor’s note: A comfortable pair of shoes is required.)  If the worst happens at the predicted time, we are confident that hellacious traffic will begin to occur shortly after 11:11 PM on December 21st as everyone takes to the road to escape the end! Think about where you will be at 11:11 PM and have an escape route in mind. This way, if you need to make you’re way over the Rocky Mountains by foot, at least you will have an idea where the mountain passes are located. (Personal Recommendation – avoid the Donner Pass!). Now check the list of supplies shown below.

If You Are At Home:

In many ways, being at home gives you the greatest amount of flexibility since you can more easily make a “flight or fight” decision. Some people may decide that their best option is to leave their home for a secure, undisclosed location. Others might choose to “harden” their homestead and face the unknown on familiar ground. In either case, do have an escape plan in mind in case natural disasters render your abode unlivable. Specifically, think about multiple ways of exiting your premises and be sure to have a rendezvous spot picked out where you can meet up with others. If at all possible, make sure that the meeting place is sheltered against the elements since no one wants to wait in an empty parking lot in the middle of a snow or rain storm for you! 

As pointed out above, have your vital records and family treasures assembled and packed in your “grab and go” kit along with the supplies shown below. Pay particular attention to needed medications since it might be a long time before you can find refills!

If you are planning on fleeing your neighborhood, then have a plan that outlines more than one way to your target destination. Roads may be blocked and you should not count on being able to use a car or public transportation – traffic of all types will likely be deadlocked! 

If you plan to stay at home, then securely lock up the perimeter, turn off or block from view any lights that could be seen from the outside. Since the Mayan’s have provided us with plenty of warning, fill buckets with water as well as any bathtubs – you may need it for sanitation or washing. If you have some funds, invest in night vision goggles. No telling who or what may show up at 11:12 PM and being able to see them/it will give you an excellent advantage!  A radio that functions without batteries also would be helpful.  There is no guarantee that electricity will be available.

If You Are At A Party:

Much of the advice given above in the section on “If You Are at Work” applies here as well. 

While at the party, avoid the temptation to tell people that you have a plan of escape and certainly don’t disclose you’re secure – undisclosed (at least to some others) location. What you don’t need is to have others follow you and begin using up your resources. Of course, there is safety in numbers but only to a degree – so choose wisely whom you decide to help survive the end of the world, they may be with you for a LONG time!

General Advice

The following recommendations on how to provision for the END are drawn from a number of sources including the American Red Cross.

  • Water: have at least 3 gallons of drinkable water per person. The average human consumes at least 1 gallon per day. If you are at home and decide to make a “stand of it” – increase your stockpile to a two week supply (14 gallons per person). Keep the water in a cool spot that is easy to reach and is not visible to passersby.
  • Food: Have at least 3 days of non-perishable food. Noodles, canned goods (with at least 2 can openers), fruit cocktail, candy, beer, etc., are all good choices.  (Editor’s note: Personally, I wouldn’t stay anywhere without a fine bottle or two of Bordeaux.)
  • Flashlights – one per person with at least one set of extra batteries per flashlight.
  • Candles and Matches – stored in a waterproof container in case the flashlights fail!
  • Radio – battery powered and/or hand cranked that is capable of receiving the NOAA channel. Periodically check that it works and that the NOAA setting is correct for your area.
  • First Aid Kit – stockpiled with extra items to treat serious cuts and bruises.
  • Medications – at least a 7 day supply. A larger supply is better! Have aspirin and other “over the counter” remedies handy as well.
  • Individual Identification bracelets or neck chains – to identify people and any medical condition or allergies.
  • Personal Sanitation Supplies – appropriate for everyone in your party
  • Utility Knives and Multipurpose Tools – you never know what you will need to repair!
  • Electrical and “Duct Tape” – several rolls of each
  • Cell Phone with Charger -­ if possible acquire one of the solar-powered rechargers
  • Blankets ­- two per person since you may need one to sleep on and one to cover with during the emergency. Sleeping bags are even better!
  • Cash – both paper money and coins. Consider acquiring a bag of “junk silver” (coins consisting of ~90% pure silver) for use in barter. Gold, while helpful to have may be too difficult to use for smaller items.
  • Waterproof Jackets, Hats, and Gloves – in case of inclement weather.
  • Maps – both street maps and topological ones (remember the Rocky Mountains!).
  • Addresses and Contact Sheets – so you can find your way to a relative or friend if necessary.
  • Identify items – including proof/records of inoculations.
  • Eye Glasses, Contact Lenses (with fluid), Hearing Aids (with batteries), a Cane (if appropriate), Diapers, and other supplies such as Syringes.
  • Pet Supplies and Food – including a water/food bowl and leash
  • Extra Set of Keys – for cars, homes, offices, safety deposit boxes, etc.
  • A Whistle – for each person in your party. Used for signaling when in trouble.
  • Two – way Radio – for communications
  • Extra Socks and Walking/Hiking Shoes – formal wear and high heels will not be required after the END comes!
  • Liquid Bleach and Cleaning Alcohol – for sterilization purposes
  • Face Masks – for controlling disease or getting through a sandstorm/firestorm.
  • Survival Manual – should cover a variety of topics including first aid and surviving in the woods
  • Defensive Items – whatever you deem appropriate!
  • Entertainment Material – what ever doesn’t require electricity. Playing cards are a popular and easily carried item. We also suggest you not bring a DVD of the movie 2012! 

If the Worst Happens!

If after all your preparation and planning the worst happens, and the end looks as if it is inevitable, think fondly of those you have known, reflect on the lost opportunity of not meeting others, and be confident that you did your best. Then take a long drink of an adult beverage and get ready for whatever comes after the END. 

Good luck – see you in 2013! 

Suggestions, additional advice, and comments on this checklist are most welcome!

If you are interested in hearing another interpretation of this Mayan prophesy concept, CLICK HERE to see NASA’s position on it.

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