Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
We spend a lot of time and money preparing for the worst-case scenarios. If you are the head honcho prepper in your home, then chances are you spend a lot of time thinking about what to do in the worst-case scenario.
Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link. So, one major part of prepping that many people fall short on is to empower family members. So, how on earth do you do that? How do you make your 7-year-old a better prepper? Or the wife that wants nothing to do with prepping a better prepper
Well, there are bunch of ways, but we are going to focus on running emergency drills. Emergency drills are great because they address a very real need, they are interactive and should be done with the entire family. They also have a lasting effect.
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1. FIRE DRILL
One of the most basic drills a family can run is the fire drill. The fire drill is basically a rapid home evacuation drill.
Purpose: To get everyone out of your home as quickly as possible and a get a safe distance away from the building on fire.
Time: 10-15 minutes
Process: When the fire drill is initiated it is time to make your way to the nearest or agreed upon exit. It helps to conduct this drill in the morning or at night, so you understand the struggle of finding wallets, shoes, and other things.
It’s best to set a timer for about 60 seconds. Everyone must be out in less than 60 seconds. This includes pets, too.
Once outside you double check to assure everyone is there and then the drill is complete.
Variables: You can use orange construction paper on doors to make the fire drill more challenging and limit escape routes. This is the only way you will know if you need to add things to your home to assure escape during a fire.
I had to add a Kidde ladder to my children’s room because our host is taller in the back than the front and they would get hurt or killed if they leapt from their window.
2. SHELTER IN PLACE DRILL
The shelter in place drill is a very important one that helps you develop your shelter in place location. This location must be big enough for everyone in your family and should be outfitted with food, water, light, and a USB powered fan.
Purpose: To get everyone to the shelter in place location quickly. This is where you would go in the event of a hurricane, tornado, or even in an airstrike. If fortified, your shelter in place location might also be where you go during a home invasion.
Time: 10 minutes
Process: When the shelter in place drill begins everyone has a certain amount of time to get into the location. If you use a timer, I wouldn’t give more than 60 seconds to get everyone in the shelter in place location.
Once there, you are to stay there. Your final step should be to either use a cellphone or an emergency radio to hear current news. This will be how you know what is going on outside your shelter in place location.
Variables: You can make shelter in place drills threat specific. This could change how you run the drill. Are you sheltering in place from a tornado or a radiological disaster? You decide.
3. BUGOUT DRILL
Sometimes you just gotta go. There is a lot to bugout planning, but drilling can be easier. As you get a more solid plan you can add to this drill.
Purpose: The purpose of this drill is to load the vehicles as quickly as possible and get on the road.
Time: 30 minutes MAX
Process: The bugout is a massive undertaking. It takes all kinds of planning. At the very least you should have things staged that you are going to use to load up a vehicle during a bugout location. Your preps and food should not be buried behind other things.
During the Bugout Drill your goal is to get your vehicles loaded with everyone you will need to bugout (this will differ according to your plan)
The best way to make this happen fast is to assign everyone a specific set of duties. Everyone gathers their bugout bag, but they might be responsible for something else, too.
Once the car is fully loaded and you have made it out of your neighborhood the drill is concluded. If you have a bugout location, then you should travel there to complete the drill.
Variables: Someone is not at home (at work, school, a friend’s house) and you have to bugout.
4. HOME INVASION DRILL
If you hear a window crash at 3am, what are you going to do? What about if your kids hear the same thing? Everyone in your home should know what to do in a home invasion.
Purpose: This drill is designed so that everyone in the home knows exactly where to go in the event of a home invasion. You will have to choose a safe location for the whole family to gather during a home invasion. This is likely going to be the parents’ bedroom or a saferoom.
This drill assures everyone knows where to go should things go BUMP in the night.
Time: This drill can take minutes.
Process: You can use an alarm or some other signal to start the drill but just assure that everyone is moving to the right place at the start of the drill. Once everyone is safely in the right spot then the drill is complete.
Variables: You can add a location for the kids to hide in should they not be able to get to your room. You could also give someone the duty of getting to a phone and calling 911.
5. BLACKOUT DRILL
What happens when the lights go out in your home? This drill is all about that.
Purpose: This is about the storage of the blackout kit and the management of backup power.
Process: Before the drill you can assign each person in your family a flashlight for their room. Then you should also build a blackout kit and store it somewhere everyone can find it.
When you are ready to conduct the drill simply trip the breaker to the main rooms in the home and see who has their flashlight close by. The family should know where their light is and how to turn it on.
You can get the blackout kit or assign it to a spouse or child. The last step is to head outside and fire up the generator or turn on your alternate energy source. This could be grabbing a battery bank or solar generator.
Variables: Use only candles and no flashlights
6. SECRET WORD DRILL
This drill is designed for people with kids. The secret word drill can become something that your children really enjoy. It is basically an upgraded game of hide and seek.
Purpose: The purpose of the secret word drill is for your children to learn to hide and only reveal themselves when a secret word is given. This can help during a home invasion or break in. It can keep bad people from luring them out of hiding.
Time: At least 10 minutes but you might play longer.
Process: Explain the rules of the game to your kids. Let them know they are to hide and not come out until the secret word is said by you aloud. For no other reason should they come out of hiding.
Then you must agree on the secret word. This is a lot like a password so make sure it is difficult to crack but easy enough for your kids to remember.
Once the rules are established and the word agreed on, you can begin the game. Give them 20 seconds to hide. Just be clear that no matter what you say they are not to come out unless you say the secret word.
Search for them for a little bit before you start telling them to come out. DO NOT USE THE SECRET CODE. Get louder. Tell them to come out and get angry or fake crying, tell them to come out. See if you can make them reveal their position. If they come out, then they lose.
Finally, say the secret word and they will come out.
Variables: This is part drill and part kids’ game so you can add all the variables you want. A good one is to limit them to a level of the home or a few rooms.
If you want to make great strides in your entire family’s preparedness level, then you should consider running these drills a few times a year. Not only will it create a better prepared family, but it will also limit some of the fear and anxiety that everyone is feeling these days.
As the preparedness leader in your home, you must understand that you are the only one that will take the lead on drills like these. It is up to you to schedule them and make sure everyone does their part. You are only making your family stronger.
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