In short, the power went out, and it was nighttime. Perfect, I thought, this will be a great opportunity to try out some of our emergency preparedness stuff!
We had recently gotten one of those nifty crank flashlight/radio/cell phone charger thingies, and I was excited to try it out for the first time. When we had received it, I carefully placed it (still in the box) into our 72-hour kits, keeping it brand-spanking-new so that it would be in mint condition in an emergency.
Umm... bad move! Once I finally found it (after digging around in the pitch black for a while), it took a really long time to get it open because it was in one of those packages that takes knives and scissors and jackhammers to get open (you know what I'm talking about, right?). So, I finally got it open (a few curse words later), and I expected that I would just have to crank it and it would just work right away, right?
Wrong. It kinda had to be put together. And there were lengthy directions about how to use it, what not to do, etc. And guess what.... I couldn't read those directions because it was too dark and I had completely run out of patiences. I gave up.
Moral of this lengthy story? When you get new things for your 72-hour kits, or for anything relating to food storage/emergency preparedness, open it up and try it out before the emergency occurs! Emergencies are stressful; don't add the stress of having to learn a new concept/skill on top of that.
So, what kinds of things should you try out in advance? Everything!
-Open up flashlights, make sure they work. Put them in easy-to-grab places, so you won't have to dig around for them in the dark.
-Try out any cooking methods you have (camp stoves, etc)
-Try out your water purifying method of choice, or at least read up about it so you know what to do when/if the time comes
-Take the plastic wrap off your first aid kit. Familiarize yourself with the items inside. Figure out if anything more is needed.
-This idea also extends to food storage. Do you store a lot of wheat, but never cook with wheat? Start practicing now! You don't necessarily have to cook with wheat all the time now, but you should know how to do it if you are storing it.
Basically, just open things up, read over any directions, and make sure things work! Also, take off any extraneous packaging that takes up extra space that you might need (like in your 72-hour kits, which are often tight on space).
Any of these things could be fun family activities to do together. Designate an emergency preparedness night, and practice using all your gear. Eat some food storage food to round out the activity.
Is there anything major that you should do that I've missed? How do you prepare your preparedness items?