|Not actually Erin.|
Picture by KJ Photography
& is used with permission.
Approximately two weeks ago, we "sprang forward" for Daylight Savings Time. Whenever that happens, we are encouraged to check or change out the batteries on our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. I like to go one step further and suggest that folks do a complete teardown of their stored preps to make sure they're in good order:
- One at a time, disassemble your Every Day Carry kit, your Get Home Bag, your Car Survival Kit, your Bug-Out Bag, and whatever other bags you have.
- If you need to switch out seasonal gear (such as cold weather clothes for hot), now's the time.
- Make sure that the bag itself is in good shape and is not showing signs of wear or fatigue. Repair all holes and torn/stretched seams, and patch areas showing wear.
- Check your food, medical supplies, and batteries to see if any of them have expired, leaked, or dried out. Replace those which have.
- You aren't storing batteries IN your appliances, are you? Regular alkaline batteries are prone to leaking and corrosion over time if left plugged in, so put electrical tape over the ends if you leave them inside a device.
- Lithium and rechargable batteries are less prone, but they may have slowly discharged over time. Replace and recharge if necessary.
- If your batteries are kept loose instead of in an insulated carrier, tape over the edges as well, just in case those rumors about accidental contact fires are true.
- Make sure all your gear works, and hasn't become damaged due to rust or weight of other gear on top of it.
- Do a complete inventory to make sure you didn't take something out and forget to put it back. A checklist for what belongs in the bag is a good idea for this specific purpose.
- Check your medical supplies in your bathroom.
- Again, expiration dates.
- Again, damage from mice/water/leakage/whatever.
- Again, checklist.
- Check the food in your pantry to see if anything needs to be rotated out.
- Check your long-term food (MREs etc) and water storage.
- If your water comes from a pump or a well, check that.
- Do you use solar power? Climb up on the roof and check the panels for signs of damage.
- Do you have energy stored in deep-cycle batteries? Check them, and check the charge.
- Check your guns.
- Are they all there? Are all of their accessories (sights, lights, etc) all there?
- Do they all work? Take them out to the range for a quickie.
- Check for signs of rust or other damage.
- Check whatever they're stored in. Is it still strong? If it's lockable, is it still secure?
- Check your ammo.
- Make sure it hasn't been damaged by heat or moisture.
- After you come back from the range, do an inventory. Buy more if necessary.
- Check your vehicle.
- Make sure all the tires are inflated properly
- Make sure the oil has been changed if necessary
- Make sure all the fuses are working and that you have spares
- Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas in your car.
- Check your body. If you haven't been to the doctor in a while, GO.
- Get a physical. Make sure you're as healthy as possible.
- Get a dental check-up. If your teeth hurt, life sucks and eating is difficult or impossible.
- Get your eyes checked if you wear glasses. An updated prescription and a spare pair of specs are good things to have.
- Check your shoes for holes.
- Get new ones if necessary.
- Make sure you have good socks as well.
- Check your knives for rust/dullness/etc.
- Check your house for leaks, draft, termites, trees that could fall....
Et cetera, et cetera. These are just examples; I'm sure a few minutes more thought could come up with more examples. The idea here is that preparedness is not a "one and done" thing where you buy the right item and forget about it; preparedness is a state of mind where you know (and if you don't know, you make sure) that everything is working and ready to go. Even if you're not 100% up to speed on everything in this list -- and none of us are, really -- it's good to get into the habit of checking things to make sure they're still good, and functional, and present, rather than just assume everything is in place and working properly only to be disappointed (or worse, endangered) later when you discover that they are missing or broken.
Stay safe and keep prepping!