Spring has sprung, some might say. It’s early May and a time of transitions. We put away the sleds, skis and snowshoes, replacing them with backpacks, bikes, and camping gear. The thermal underwear and winter gloves get put in storage to be replaced by light weight coats and sunscreen. During all this moving and transitioning, it’s a perfect time to check on your disaster preparedness gear.
Today we take a look at something that I call Prepping Reassessment, which is a simple look at making sure we grow and maximize our ability to thrive, not just survive, in an emergency.
When we become confident in ourselves or our preparedness, there is a tendency to sit back and rest on our laurels. It’s natural – we make a plan, we execute the plan, then we sit back content that we have (hopefully) achieved our goals. It’s a natural instinct, although one that we must keep in check. It’s healthy to enjoy our achievements, then shortly after we should be looking to grow our skills sets by learning new ones and refining what we already do well.
Step 1: Recheck Your Baggage
Some of you may have bug out bags in case you need to quickly evacuate your home in an emergency. Even more of you may have a get home bag or a car bag that you leave in your vehicles in the event that you are caught away from home. These are both great ideas that we have written about often at The Loadout Room, BUT if the gear in it doesn’t fit or isn’t appropriate for the season, it’s useless.
Nothing will be more frustrating than reaching into your bag in June to find winter ski gloves. Change it up for the season. And it’s important that the clothing you keep in your bug out bag fits appropriately. Make sure the holidays and winter hibernation haven’t taken an unhealthy toll on your waistline. If you find yourself in that situation, make the needed changes to your supplies and restock your bags accordingly.
Even if you didn’t put on a little extra weight over the winter, it’s still a good idea to routinely check the contents and function of all your baggage. Better to check your kit long before you need to rely on it than when you’re faced with an emergency.
Step 2: Grow Your Skills
Spring is the season when local mountaineering and hiking clubs traditionally have a strong push for new membership, and with that comes a corresponding increase in seminars and classes put on by these groups. Many of these clubs will pair up with vendors to host training and offer gear at reduced rates for people attending the events. It’s a win-win for all parties involved. The club gets their name out in the public and possible new members, the vendors show off new products, and you gain new skills and gear at a discount.
Many of these groups will have beginner and advanced courses in topics such as land navigation, backwoods first aid, and identifying edible plants and shrubs. Check with your local and state departments of fish and wildlife to see if they offer these type of classes, or if they can get you the contact information for groups in your area. Local sporting goods and outdoor recreation stores often have bulletin boards full of this information, as well. In today’s world you should be able to get the training you desire locally and affordably.
Step 3: Threat Reassessment
Threat Reassessment is something that should be a continuous process. If you live in an area that has serious storm seasons featuring tornadoes, tropical storms and other weather related events, then you might be doing this automatically. People in those areas are used to dealing with weather events, and often have a set routine where they recheck their supplies and make adjustments. It’s a way of life for them out of necessity.
We covered threat assessment in an earlier article, and hopefully you took a look at your local area and made some mental notes on possible threats and assets in the vicinity. You might ask yourself some of these questions: What has changed in the last year in my area? Are there new shopping malls that might be higher threat areas in times of civil unrest? Is there a new or rebuilt fire station nearby where you might be able to get help? These are just a few examples of the questions you should be asking yourself. Knowing the lay of the land may save the lives of you and your loved ones.
Step 4: Major Changes
What major changes have happened since the last time you drew up an emergency plan? Have you added a baby or elderly parent to your family? What are their medical and dietary needs? If you have children, chances are they won’t be the same size as the last time you reviewed your plans. Growing kids are what I consider a major change. Don’t forget their need for clean clothes and supplies that are seasonally appropriate.
If you have had changes to your prepping plan in regards to adding family or friends, be sure to get them involved early on. New people coming into your prepping plan may have skills or knowledge that you don’t have. Remember, thriving in an emergency is about knowing what assets you have and how to use them most effectively.
Step 5: Change Direction If Needed
Do you have gear that you bought thinking you absolutely needed it, only to never touch it? We often buy gear on an impulse and later find it’s not what we expected it to be. This goes with the territory in prepping, and we don’t like to admit it, but it happens from time to time. I won’t tell you how many times I’ve done it, but it’s more than once or twice.
There is good news, though, because it’s springtime, a time of new growth and beginnings, and what better time to change things around. You can shed that unwanted gear pretty easily. Chances are that if you thought it was a good buy, someone else will, too. Great sources for buying, trading and selling gear include Craigslist, local military surplus stores, gun shows, and local swap meets. There are also some great apps for your phone that specialize in selling items locally – check them out!
Cleaning up your old gear and knowing what its fair market value is will ensure that your don’t get the short end of the stick during your bartering adventures. It will also be beneficial to write down a list of new gear items that you’re looking for, as well as their estimated values. A list will help you avoid the same spur of the moment purchases that got you into this position.
Hopefully in the near future, you will be sitting around having a conversation with your friends and family about prepping, and changes or improvements they would like to see in your collective plan. Remember, it’s not all about guns and firepower, it’s about safety, security and sustainability. Popular media overlook the importance of the logistics and support infrastructures that supply the combat soldier. For our scenarios, we cannot afford to take the same approach as the media.
Logistics and supply need to be our priority so that we can ensure our successful navigation through a real-world disaster event. This may not be the most glamorous course of action, but our goal here is not conflict, it’s survival.
Enjoy prepping and training as a family event and it will help to grow your skills, your positive attitude and enhance your quality of life when a disaster event happens. I learned first-hand during my time in the military that a positive attitude is just as contagious as a negative one. Skills built and honed during good times will be invaluable when the stuff hits the fan.
“Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.”
Robert Heinlein, author. 1907-1988