Civil unrest driven by widespread financial desperation…
… Uncle Sam’s cash-flow spending bubble looking uncomfortably large.
Polite society may be on the verge of significant disruption, and we hope you’ve been following our advice by taking positive steps toward your own personal preparedness:
You need a minimum 30-day food reserve on hand.
You need a plan for warmth, cooking and light should the power go out.
You need either to set up a water storage system or have a method to purify your water.
You need a 30-day back-up supply of your prescription medications – at the minimum.
You need a sensible fuel storage system, so that you can drive if you need to and so that you have enough fuel with which to cook and stay warm.
If you’ve already taken these steps, you are well ahead of just about everyone when it comes to securely and comfortably managing emergencies without having to flee your home. But, even with the best systems in place, you might still overlook something important. Or, you might discover that some of your equipment doesn’t work the way you thought it would.
It’s a smart move to test your home preparedness system before you’re ever forced to use it due to circumstances outside your control.
Are You Ready for Anything?
A Test Run Will Tell You the Answer
You’ve seen how astronauts prepare to work in the weightless environment of space by practicing in full space suits in a swimming pool. Football players practice five or six days a week to prepare to play on one day each week. Imagine the disastrous results any of these professionals might experience if they did not practice!
When you conduct a dry run of your home preparedness system, you accomplish a number of things that will serve you well in an actual emergency:
You find out how much of your resources you and your family actually use on a daily basis.
You force yourself to become familiar with equipment that you might not otherwise practice with.
You identify weak spots in your system.
You begin to gain familiarity with the stress that goes along with a disaster that forces you to stay home and rely on what’s on hand.
For your first preparedness test, schedule a long weekend. Plan for the test to last two or three days. Explain to everyone participating why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you expect to have relatives who don’t live with you staying with you during an actual emergency, ask them to please join you for the test.
Make sure you have a pen and paper on hand, so you can take notes about how much food you eat, how much fuel you consume, what you overlooked, and how different people react to the stress. (A two to three day test won’t really give you an accurate idea of stress levels, but it’s a start. It will help you spot weaknesses and track consumption.)
Prepping Hurts No One,
and It Used to Be Second Nature in America
Set up a basic scenario for your first test…
Imagine that all the utilities are offline and it isn’t safe to travel from your home. This is likely more drastic than what would actually happen during a disaster, but it’s good to practice using a worst-case scenario.
Once you’ve explained the scenario to everyone participating, the next step is to live out three days as if the scenario were real. You eat what’s on hand. You cook with a camp stove. You heat your house with a fireplace or indoor propane heater. You don’t leave.
To make this test as successful as possible, agree from the outset that you’ll make do with what you have available. You won’t travel for supplies or borrow from your neighbors. And, you won’t end the scenario early unless there’s a medical emergency that requires a doctor’s care.
Beyond that, stick with it, and make good notes. Once you’ve completed your test, gather everyone together to discuss their thoughts. What did each person find most stressful? What did each person feel was missing? What could you do differently that would make the experience more comfortable?
Based on what you learn, adjust your home preparedness system accordingly.
Practicing for a weekend is a good place to start, but you can do more to proof your home preparedness system and your own mental readiness, by doing regular tests. (Twice a year is good – once in the winter and once in the summer.)
You can do several things that will help make the tests more realistic and more revealing. Such variations will also help you and your family to become more able to cope emotionally with a crisis.
Here are some variations to consider:
Add the element of surprise – tell everyone you want to participate in your test that it will occur sometime within the next four weeks. Then spring the actual test day on everyone without warning. Or, to surprise yourself, too, have someone outside your group determine the day your test will begin.
Add contingencies. Write down several possible obstacles that could come up during an emergency situation. A couple of times during your test period have someone draw one of the scenarios and react accordingly. For example, someone in your family might suffer a broken ankle. For the rest of the test, he would have to limit his mobility and someone else would have to administer basic first aid. Another possibility is a home intrusion. In that scenario, if you don’t have your home defense tools near at hand, you might agree to cut your food rations because of theft.
Vary the timeframe and limitations of your test. See how you fare lasting for four or five days instead of two or three. In one test you might have power, but no running water. In another, all your utilities might be cut off. Practicing using a variety of parameters will help you and your family get ready to adapt to anything that might come up.
Set up an open-ended test. In this variation, you don’t tell the other participants when the test will conclude, which adds another layer of stress to the test.
As you know, we are advocates of being ready for anything, especially in these uncertain times. You can think you’re 100 percent prepared, but if you haven’t done a practice run with the systems and supplies you have in place, you can’t know for sure if you are.
Running a preparedness test is one of the best ways to make sure you are truly and completely prepared.
This extra precaution doesn’t cost you a dime and is strong due diligence.