Author Topic: The search for holes in my preps.  (Read 680 times)

Offline Freedom Forged

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The search for holes in my preps.
« on: December 10, 2018, 11:20:31 AM »
I need suggestions for how to find holes in my preparations.  Prepping being such an expansive undertaking I find it difficult to determine where I'm falling short.
As you know there are dozens of categories and even more subcategories.

Food
Water
Shelter
Security/Self-Protection
Medical
Comms

On and on and on......  So hows the best way to find short-comings?
Thansk!

Online David in MN

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2018, 03:35:21 PM »
We kind of think in terms of timing. There are events which require immediate response. Things like a fire, violent people trying to B&E, or a tornado. If the power goes out we've got some time to mull it over and contact the company. This summer we lost power at the cabin for something like 14 hours and didn't really notice. Grilled for dinner and let the kids make smores over the campfire. I drove into town for ice (I like a cocktail after fishing and cooking) and we were none the wiser.

I think a big hole in prepping is the soft skills. Knowing 3 nearby hospitals. Knowing your insurance agent if the house burns. Emergency contacts (beyond 911). Basic first aid. It's not too hard to do a thought experiment of 'what would I do if my kid broke her arm'? It's the sudden stuff you need to be mentally ready for.

Food and water... If you have some water and some food it's probably OK. If the whole family came down ill and nobody wanted to go to the store for a week would you be fine? Right now if I had to we could go probably a couple weeks with stored food eating really high quality. Risotto, paprikash, pasta served many different ways, red beans and rice, etc. My point is that I have a lot of dishes I could make on the fly and my family wouldn't even know we were in crisis mode. If you can eat what you like to eat for a few weeks you're probably good. Yes I have deep storage but it would suck to live on. This is why I believe in a proper "stocked kitchen". I always have at least 18 eggs, quarts of olive oil, 2 lbs. of butter, onions, gaarlic, jarred olives, canned tomatoes, etc. If I got snowed in tomorrow I could use canned chicken, olives, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and pasta to make a dynamite Sicilian pasta dish. Beats an MRE... But again it's the soft skill of knowing how to cook.

Guns... Take a class. Learn a new skill. Try 3 gun. I'm of the belief that you learn your holes by getting out and doing it. I spent the summer working on shooting longer range with aimed fire. Big hole of mine. I also think there is a MASSIVE hole in terms of procedure. If some big dude started ripping into your front door with a chainsaw who goes where and does what? Will you be able to communicate with 911 after discharging that .308 without hearing protection? Are you legally prepared for the aftermath?

Comms... I'll admit my weak point. The Ham Radio guys around here are really good at what they do and if I had more time I'd get into that. But have a plan to coordinate. If your house burned and you could call one sibling and have her do all the family contact so you don't need to make 74 phone calls and can focus on the task at hand it's easier.

I guess my takeaway is that I've never met a prepper who doesn't have enough "stuff". You probably have the basics down. Other than including first aid in the range bag (and I know you do that already, right?) most prepped people have the things they need. As I've joked before you could run to Costco and get 50 lbs each of flour and rice for probably $25. That's not a bad start. But a practiced cook looks at the flour and beans in the pantry and thinks "I can make homemade bread and hummus". I'd really look to the skills department rather than the stuff department.

Offline rustyknife

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2018, 05:24:49 PM »
One of the things I do to check my plan is to have a test run of my system. As an example suddenly announce an emergency such as a hasmat spill on the nearby freeway or rail system. You have 5 minutes to evacuate. Don't cheat 5 minutes to evacuate and head for a predetermined spot. After, do an after action evaluation of how it went.  Another example was a bug-out weekend where myself and some friends went camping for the weekend using only our BOB. No cheating. We drove to our camp spot and actually camped near our vehicles but agreed not to get into the vehicles to get something. Just used what was in our BOB only. After that, again had an after action discussion of what went well and what went bad. It's more fun to do these things while you can still make mistakes and corrections than later in real life when correction may not be possible.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2018, 07:01:45 PM »
Every six months or so I'll sit down with a cup of coffee and a notepad and go over the list of ten general areas* and write down the next step or two I need to take for each.  Then I'll rank at least the top 4 or 5 most pressing and work on those next.  This highlights the holes and helps me to keeps things balanced.

It's a good question to ask, FF.  Like you, I want to see how different people here approach this.  I like rustyknife's "push the system test button" approach, and David's outside-the-box items have me thinking too.

*Water, food, shelter, sanitation, medical, energy, security, transportation, comms, community; your category list may vary.  I'm about ready to add a "plans & documentation" category, just because it's the one I neglect the most.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 07:12:14 PM by Alan Georges »

Offline antsyaunt

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2018, 06:29:27 AM »
What is the boredom threshold in your family?  Without power for an extended period, what would you do in your down time?  You may want to consider low-tech entertainment such as card games, puzzles, and board games.

Offline Freedom Forged

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2018, 08:47:48 AM »
All of this is such good information.  It has done exactly what I wanted it to do, which is cause me to ponder different things, ideas and thought processes.  I really appreciate everyone taking the time to post.

We are just now coming off a 15 inch snow here in the Foothills of NC and while snow isn't uncommon for us 15 inches is.  So, needless to say I found a few things I need to do different in the event of winter storms.  I had time to play the "What If" game and I've figured out it really works/helps.  I combined the 'game' with note taking as well. 

Thanks all!!

Offline DDJ

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2018, 11:38:18 AM »
Good ideas form all and some really great takeaways.  I am not discounting them at all these are the people smarter than my that I love to read here.

DISCLAIMER:  I should say that I am a Process Engineer and a bit if a geek. 

Another idea that I am working on, as a long term project, is to look at the upcoming season (political, weather or financial if you think about it these all do have a cycle so a season) and look at what could fail in those processes.  Map each of those failures back to the effect it would have on the processes of your life (the 7 things you need to survive) use that to point to what you should work on. 

As an example (right out of the papers)
If we were to get 12 inches of snow on top of 1/2 an inch of ice what would be the effect on my daily life.
Loss of power -> no heat -> where am I on aux heat
                     -> Stores can not open -> When do I need to restock on food
                     -> The well will not run -> Do I have stored water
                                                        -> Do I have an alternative water source -> can I make it safe to drink

That kind of a game in my head and or on paper.  Hint I have found that no matter what the event the answers are actually pretty similar.

You want to take it to the next level.  Google "Fish bone diagrams" and PFMEA (Process Failure Mode analysis) and start ranking things and then multiply them out to generate a score/ranking as to where to devote your time.

I am NOT saying that I have done this I am not to the point of having no I do this exercise, mostly mental, when I have down time like sitting on an airplane or driving as an exercise to keep the mind focused.  I am planning on working out a guide or training power point that I could share, but am unsure if it would have an audience.  Especially when I get to the conclusion that there are only a few variations of our actions most are dependent on the affect an event has on shelter, or the duration of the event.  That could be me and my thinking, this would be tunable to you and your situation.  A power outage for a week is completely different for me, my 20year old son and my 75 your old father on O2.  The multiplier of time evens out the "survivability" of the event, but what causes the event, from the power side of the equation, does not change the effect on survivability of the power loss.  Since loss of heating in winter and cooling in summer is an effect of the power loss the time of year would also be factor in survivability that is a new element (read as multiplier) in the extended PFMEA.

What I am trying to say is that looking at the processes for failure is just a way to get to the core items that effect the core 7 areas of needed to survive.  By playing what would happen if with these tools/thinking methodology helps you see where you can sure up your life processes to buy you some survivability.  It is something you can do on these cold dark nights of winter.

I think I am more of a geek than I thought.

Offline Freedom Forged

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2018, 11:51:31 AM »
Very nice DJJ.

Offline Stwood

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 12:43:49 PM »
Excellent thread and topic. Thanks

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2019, 09:31:45 AM »
Up here in the pacific northwest, we just broke a century old record for snow fall.  I know people in the midwest get WAY colder and WAY more snow fall, but we are a temperate climate near sea level with steep hills.  Most suburban cities have at most a single snow plow and/or salt truck.  It's been a mess, with my kids missing nearly a week of school.  I worked from home 3 days on and off in the past 2 weeks.

This was a real trial run for some preps.  I was very concerned about power loss due to wind storms (that never materialized).  I figured with the accumulated snow, wait times for line repair would be even greater than normal.  I have a modest ~300AH battery bank and a few big inverters.  I was prepared to power our furnace blower and thermostat via transfer switch.  Oddly enough, Steven Harris and others on the TSP facebook page reminded me that my current draw math was wrong.  I thought I would have 48 hours of furnace runtime, but it was barely half that. 

Takeaway: I ordered a "kill-a-watt" meter so that I can measure the real world power consumption of critical appliances.  Just mindless keeping a generator or battery bank without a power "budget" is a bit sloppy.

Medical is another big concern. There are some chronic medical needs in our home. With some stockpiling of meds and supplies that's fine, but we have to be mindful to not let our stash get under a couple weeks at the minimum.  Also, about a month ago I suffered a thumb injury that required sutures.  It's since healed, but I'm still wearing a split for the broken bone.  Wound care is quite different from trauma care.  When you learn first aid, really the game is to keep the victim stable until professional help arrives. A dirty t-shirt that stops arterial bleeding is far better than nothing.  However when you are on day 10 of changing dressings, you'd better have appropriate bandages, tape or whatever else.

One thing that worked well, but I'll continue to improve are communications.  I stayed in constant contact with both local amateur radio people and city emergency managers.  I knew what roads were getting plowed, what city hall and the local school district was planning.  This wasn't secret inside info, but also not stuff that was widely publicized. There's quite a different tone when the city manager is chatting with you over coffee compared to a press release.  The power stayed on, and I'm prepared for a moderate outage, but I could do more to stay on the air longer.

Food, simple but not easy. Truly practice preparing and eating what you store. I broke into a 5 gallon bucket that I had individually vacuum sealed rice.  Taught my 14 year old how to open the bucket properly.  I can of course prepare rice with or without grid power a variety of ways.  Some things like baking bread I'm less sure how to reliable bake without our electronically controlled oven. I am a fan of the InstantPot for quickly cooking dried beans and other long term foods, but WOW that has some current draw when set to pressure cook.  I plan to connect the killawatt and measure the power consumption.  My guess it'll resemble a hair dryer.

Offline Stwood

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2019, 10:09:29 AM »
Your accounting of the past days is interesting Smurf.
So I suppose you have some changes/additions in mind?

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2019, 10:26:42 AM »
Your accounting of the past days is interesting Smurf.
So I suppose you have some changes/additions in mind?

Yes.  It's a bit like insurance.  Step one is knowing you need it, step two deciding how much.

There's a lot of popular things preppers like to say, that maybe are bad advice.
For example, "You can never have too much [food/ammo/etc].  While not technically wrong, if you spend a month's salary entirely on ammunition, but have no energy or medical preps, that's foolish.

I think people tend to go deep in categories of interest to them personally.  That's fine, we all do it.  Love homesteading?  You likely grow and preserve food.
Gun people go without saying.

Short list:
More medical supplies and training
More backup power options


Offline Stwood

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Re: The search for holes in my preps.
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 12:29:14 PM »
In a way, glad your weather conditions have shown you some of your weak spots.
And, we all can see/read/think about our own when someone tells about theirs.

Out of this one and another thread, I've started my own *Holes* list.
Things I prep for, and need to go over. In no specific order......

Water
Food
Shelter
Sanitation
Medical
Energy
Security
Transportation
Comms
Community
Heat


(Not worried about A/C)  ;D