Friday, September 26, 2014

Family Practice Drills

I’ve had OPSEC (Operations Security) on my mind a lot lately as we have been changing some things at work. On a federal installation they tend to talk about security a lot. We’ve been reviewing some of our procedures and “tweeking” them a little.
A family is no different than an organization. Security should be something that is discussed on occasion. We think nothing of a fire drill, fire extinguishers, or fire sprinklers. We use these things to be aware of what fire has the potential to do. Would you ever consider a bug out drill? What if a wild fire, hurricane, or tornado was headed toward your home? Would you just run wildly into the night? It stands to reason to test your preparation and do an evacuation drill. What about one evening without electricity? We’ve experienced that a few times in our house. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to simulate these problems and learn from them before they happen?
I knew someone who claimed to be prepared for just about anything. I suggested that they drill to find out how prepared they actually were. They told a friend to randomly call them on a weekend with a scenario that they would play out through the weekend. This they did. After they experienced a simple power outage for the weekend I asked him how it went. He said “Wow! I didn’t know how unprepared we were! Imagine having many flashlights and batteries but no way to recharge them. We also had no candles! So if the solar cells fail or we run out of fuel for the generator we had little back up for light.”
In the gun world we run drills all the time. Why not do this with your family? It takes a little organization and cooperation.
My Stake has a family campout every year. I use this as a time to practice (I also use it as refresher training and to pass off Boy Scout or YW requirements.) That’s the best way to do this as a family. If you need to practice bugging out, make it fun and go camping together. Use only a small portion of your camping time to practice skills or your family will not want to camp because it’s just crazy Dad and his prep stuff again! The younger your children are, the less training time you should use. Start small and work up to a healthy training or refresher time.
I think it’s a little crazy that we have fire extinguishers, fire and smoke alarms, sprinklers, and fire drills, but practicing evacuation? That’s nuts! Well, it’s not nuts. Why is a fire drill perfectly normal but a preparedness drill is not? I would say more people suffer from not being prepared (i.e. loss of job, natural disaster, etc.) than fire. The average in the U.S. of deaths by fire is 12 per million. That’s why we have all that fire prevention stuff in place, because too many people were dying! Most people don’t think it will happen to them.

Fire Drill. Training should include: how to call 911, how to check the batteries in the smoke detectors, how to use a fire extinguisher, how to warn everyone in the house about a fire, how to escape from the house if it is on fire, where to meet after escaping from the house, common sense rules about when to try to extinguish a fire and when to just leave.
Evaluation: what worked, what didn’t, what needs practice.
First Aid Drill. Training should include: how to call 911, where the first aid kit is located, what is in the first aid kit and how to use each item, how to perform CPR, how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, basic first aid skills.
Evaluation: what worked, what didn’t, what needs improvement.
Lockdown Drill. Training should include: who is responsible for closing and locking each door and window, who is secondarily responsible for this action if the primary person isn't present, how to set the security alarm/system, how to turn on the surveillance system, how to perform these tasks as quickly as possible and in what situations these actions would be necessary, location of the safe room and what procedure to follow once in the safe room.
Evaluation: What worked, what didn’t, what needs work.
Emergency Evacuation Drill. Training should include: what to include in each person’s disaster kit, which vehicle will be used for evacuation, how to quickly access each person’s disaster kit and put it in the vehicle, what other items should be taken when evacuating and how to get them quickly, what to do with pets, how to secure the home before leaving, and how quickly everyone can complete the above tasks, get in the vehicle and leave the home.
Evaluation: What worked, what didn’t, what needs to be worked on.
Natural Disaster Drill. Training should include: what specific steps to take during a tornado/flood etc. what steps to take during the actual event (ie: holing up in the basement during a tornado, and what steps to take after the event (turning off the power/water/natural gas).
Evaluation: what worked well, what didn’t, what needs work
Communications Drill. Training should include: Who to contact during an emergency (parents, neighbor, relative in another town, relative in another state) and their phone numbers/email addresses, what is an emergency and what information to provide.
Evaluation: (what worked, what didn’t, what things need to be worked on).
Meeting Place Drill. Training should include: where to meet in your neighborhood if you cannot return home, where to meet in your town/city, where to meet in the next town, where to meet across the country should your entire state be devastated. Include exact locations, how long to wait, and how to leave a message if you are unable to wait any longer at the location.
Evaluation: what worked, what didn’t, what needs work.

These are just suggestions. I would change and tailor these to my family’s needs.

Semper Paratus
Check 6