Emergency Test Plan
by Ray and Sally Strackbein
If you think your emergency preparations are complete and you haven't tested your plan, you are in trouble.
Begin testing long before your preparations are complete. Testing early reveals flaws in your plans and assumptions while you still have time and resources.
Our first test last winter opened our eyes to a number of areas that needed more attention in our home. Your test will do the same. Here are your choices:
- Find out early - avoid foolish, wasteful or impractical preparations.
- Find out now - while you can still take care of the problems and get what you need.
- Find out later - when your choices are non existent.
Ray and Sally's Suggested Emergency Test
Do not turn your electricity, water or gas off. There is no reason to lose the food in your refrigerator or freezer. Just don't use them. Notice how many times you are tempted. You may want to tape them closed.
2. Do your test on a weekend or other 2-day period when you do not have obligations which require you to use your car or public transportation.
Record a message on your answering machine stating: "We are testing our emergency plan and will not be answering our phone until [your day and time]." Pick up or return calls only if it is an emergency. If you don't have an answering machine, ask the caller if the call is an emergency. If it isn't, state the above message and ask the caller to call back after your test is over. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into a long conversation. Let the most assertive family member do "phone duty."
4. Do not open your refrigerator or freezer. Eat only non-perishable foods.
5. Unplug all televisions, clocks, radios, stereos and anything with digital displays or cover them to reduce the light in the house at night.
Do not use electricity for light. Keep track of your lighting supplies and how much is used up in your test. If you have bright street lights, or other outside light, cover your windows with black plastic. You need to see how your lighting plans hold up in total nighttime darkness.
7. Use only water you have stored, unless you have an emergency compliant water supply. Keep track of how much you use for each purpose.
Do not use your toilets or unless you have emergency compliant ones (composting, septic, etc.). Most people have not spent much time on this topic. See the paper on waste at: http://www.EmergencyKitchen.com/html/waste_disposal.html
9. Do not use your sink drains and do not use your garbage disposal. Sink drains may be used if emergency compliant (septic system or other non-municipal waste system).
10. Do not listen to radio or watch television or participate in any gatherings that would be unlikely in an emergency scenario.
Pay close attention to your interaction with those around you. Do not use television, radio, computer, Internet, telephone or Nintendo. People, books, games, housework and emergencies may be your only relief from boredom.
12. Keep track of fuel usage on your alternative cooking sources. This will help you gauge your needs.
Cautions: make sure you have fire extinguishers, battery operated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Clear any flammable items away from any area where you plan to burn anything for light or cooking (or anything else).
14. Do not use your regular heater or air conditoner unless they are emergency compliant.
15. Keep notes about what you need to do to make your plan complete and do what needs to be done to be prepared.
Remember that this will only be a drill and a drill is not the real thing. The psychological reactions to the drill may be significantly different than the reactions to the real thing. For example, when
our power failed because of the ice storm, our resident teenager was ready and willing to chop wood or do whatever was necessary to keep us warm and alive.
You will probably have more people in your home if there is an emergency. Your relatives and friends probably will not come to participate in your drill, but they will come when they need to. You may want
to use your drill time to plan strategies for maintaining healthy relationships.
Good luck in your emergency test. Do it soon!
Copyright © Sally Strackbein
Permission is granted to reprint a few documents
from www.EmergencyKitchen.com in your magazine,
website (with a clickable link) or newsletter with the byline:
"Sally Strackbein is a speaker and author.
She can be reached at 703-262-0361 or www.EmergencyKitchen.com"