Keeping PACE with Your Survival Plan

Throughout our lives we use acronyms to learn and remember a variety of things. From NASA to AWOL to SEALs, we certainly do love our acronyms. When it comes to survival there’s a wealth of acronyms to help you be as prepared as possible. Take, for example, PACE. Typically pace is a word that’s more at home in the realm of car racing or running, but in the survival world, PACE is a way of making sure you’re ready for whatever the world has to throw at you. This can be a bug-out plan, a get-home plan, or a home-defense plan. Whatever type of prepping or survival plan you’re thinking of, PACE can make it better.

So what is PACE? Simply put, it’s a way for you to build a plan with multiple contingencies in place. PACE stands for:

  • Primary
  • Alternate
  • Contingency
  • Emergency

Using this 4-part method of planning and prepping will give you the best chance possible of getting out of whatever you’re into. Let’s take a look at each part of the PACE method and see what it can do for you.


P – Primary

This refers to the plan you consider to be your best and most efficient method for getting things done. Think of this as your “Plan A.” An example of your primary plan could be that at the first sign of an emergency, you get into your truck and drive out of the city to a cabin in the woods to wait it out. Obviously you’d have a lot more detail to your plan, but think of this as what you’d do if it’s possible.

Another example of a primary plan could be in regard to your drinking water. The best method might be for you to utilize the water you’ve stored in your basement. This is a simple and effective plan that you’ve prepared for, so it’s what you would try first.

A – Alternate

It’s rare that things go according to plan, which is why you always need your backup, or alternate plan. This is the second route you’d take to accomplish the task or event you’re planning and prepping for, also known as “Plan B.”

Referring back to the bug-out plan example, your primary plan might be to escape in your truck, but your alternate plan would be to use your motorcycle. To effectively prepare for using your alternate plan, you’d have riding gear like gloves, a helmet, and boots with you. Your alternate plan is meant to run alongside your primary plan so you can switch to it in an instant.


C – Contingency

So what happens if your primary and alternate plans fail? While this may seem far-fetched, it can happen. Looking at the bug-out plan example again, what if your truck AND your motorcycle won’t run, or you’re nowhere near them when you need to bug out? This is where your contingency plan comes into play.

Sure, your contingency plan is probably not the quickest or easiest method to get things done, but it’s there for you in case both your primary and alternate plans fail. Sticking with our example, your contingency plan for bugging out might be to hike where you need to go. Your contingency plan should include the gear, clothing, and route planning needed to get out on foot. You probably don’t want to ever use your contingency plan, but if you do, you’ll be glad it’s there.

E – Emergency

What if all your plans fail or aren’t able to be implemented? This is definitely a long shot, but it’s possible. That’s why you prep — to be ready for the improbable when others are not. If all else fails, the final last-ditch effort has to be put into play, which is where your emergency plan comes into action.

Unlike the other three plans, this one should have quite a bit of wiggle room built into it to account for whatever happened to your other three plans.

Your emergency plan will most likely take the longest, cost the most, and give the lowest quality result, but it’s better than nothing at all. Finishing up our bug-out plan example, your emergency plan may very well be to not leave at all, but to shore up your defenses wherever you are and ride out whatever is happening until you can take more action.

By sticking to the PACE method of planning, you can make sure a change in a situation or plan doesn’t ruin your chances at survival. Run a PACE report on your current survival plans and see if you have what it takes to keep PACE with an emergency.

About the Author:


Brian is a technology nut who loves craft beer. Still a Boy Scout at heart, he believes in always being prepared. Brian believes the most important tools you can have when the SHTF are your brain and the ability to keep a level head, no matter what the situation is.


Emergency Preparedness, Prepping, Recent Articles


emergency plan, plan b, bug out plan, survival plan

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