September is National Preparedness Month! As preppers, this is the month that we can claim as our own; Yay! What does that mean for us preppers?
As I think that preppers are some of the smartest bears in the forest, we should use this month to help educate others on the importance of being prepared. Even if we only get one person to be a little better prepared for emergencies and disasters, we will have helped one more person. Every person we help get prepared is one less person that might be knocking on our door during the crisis.
Some communities use take this opportunity to have local preparedness fairs, which is a great opportunity to see what the local vendors are that are in your area. I think it’s important to support your local business wherever possible, even though this might mean paying a little bit more for an item. My town had one of these two years ago and, while it was small, it was really nice to see how many local businesses were promoting preparedness. Sadly, the town hasn’t had one since.
Luckily, though, next month (October 6th and 7th, 2012) is the Arizona Survivalist/Prepper Expo in Mesa, AZ (click for more info). This is put on by the same people that hosted the prep show in Tucson last month. I plan on being there and am looking forward to meeting the local survival and preparedness vendors.
Other than going to preparedness and survival expos, what else can we do in September to celebrate being prepared? As preppers, we have a lot of stuff that we need to keep track of, and much of it requires continual upkeep. Since September is National Preparedness Month, it makes it a great month to do your yearly checks on your preparations, as well as review and update your preparedness plan.
Here are some of the things that you can make part of your National Preparedness Month:
- Review your preparedness plan. Update your short-term goals and re-assess your long-term prep goals.
- Check on your food storage, rotating out anything that needs to be used and replacing it with fresh stock.
- Go through your various survival kits, bags and prep gear, making sure that everything is still serviceable and in good working order.
- Check the emergency items in your vehicle kits, replacing or adding as necessary.
- Inspect all of your first-aid kits and medical bags, including expiring prescriptions and OTC medicines. Check to make sure that the medical tape and bandaids are still sticky.
- Ensure that your spare glasses have a current prescription.
- Rotate out your bulk water storage.
- Check that clothing and shoes still fit; this is especially important for children’s packs.
- Rotate out any batteries that are nearing their shelf life expiration. Fresh, new alkaline batteries should have at least a five year shelf life, but rotating them out when they have reached the halfway point is a good idea. This keeps your batteries fresh in your packs.
- Inspect the condition of your larger batteries, like SLA (sealed lead-acid), Optimas, etc.
- Test your solar and battery charging gear.
- Op-check your communication gear and update your frequency lists. Check to make sure that the Ham radio repeaters on your list are still functioning and any other frequencies and stations that you plan to monitor are still viable.
- Review your communication plan with your family and group members.
- Update your important documents, both in hard copy and on your emergency flash drives.
- Op-check your radiation meters, dosimeters and dosimeter chargers. Replace the batteries stored with these units.
- If you have any caches tucked away for long term storage, either refresh your memory on where they are and the last condition they were in or check on them to ensure they’re still ready to go.
- Update your evacuation grab list.
- Update your maps and evacuation routes, check that each potential retreat area is still a viable option. Check on the conditions of the routes you plan on taking, noting any changes in conditions or danger spots.
- Visit your potential retreat areas and redo a site evaluation.
- Review your master group plan of emergency action. Note any changes in homes, work locations, new members, etc. Everyone in group needs to know what every other member is going to do when disaster hits and you can’t call each other.
- Replenish any ammo that was used in your Go Bags. Op-check your guns, magazines and other accessories.
- Review your insurance policies and change as needed: home or renters, auto, health, flood, etc.
- Check that your smoke and CO detectors are working and replace the batteries.
- Rotate out any stored fuel that needs changing, replace with fresh fuel and add stabilizers.
- Inspect your home security.
- Go through your home defense plan and make sure all capable family members know what to do in case of home invasion.
- Go over your preparedness plan with your spouse. It might not be a favorite topic for them, but they still need to know the plan.
- Review with your children about the things they shouldn’t talk about at school, with friends or teachers. Instill into them that your preps like food and water storage, guns, and on-hand cash, gold and silver are family secrets and they’re not to tell anyone.
- Review your disaster plans and make sure your entire family knows the drills.
Again, these are just a few things that you can do this month.
Being a prepper means being ready, and one of the best ways you can maintain your state of readiness is to make a plan, practice your plan and check your gear. Let the National Preparedness Month of September be a reminder to re-assess and re-evaluate your preparedness plans.