Its one thing to have disaster plans, its another thing to test those plans several times a year. So when is a good time to test your plans? Personally, I like to observe how things go during holidays and events. Even during birthdays parties, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter,,,,, anytime people gather at my house I like to observe everyone and see how things go. Do we have enough hand soap, were we able to cook for everyone, were we crowded in the house, were the bathrooms accessible,,,,,.
The most recent test was Labor Day, 2010 – during labor day weekend my family and I headed to the camp (also know as the Bug Out Location) for 2 days. Early saturday morning my wife got up and went to the local wal-mart to get some last minute stuff. From her report the store was fully stocked on just about everything besides meat – steaks, briskets, sausage,,,, stuff like that. I figured that people coming into the area would have cleaned wal-mart out.
One observation was how a small town like Jasper, Texas handles an influx of people during the holidays. Were the gas stations sold out of gas, did the stores have plenty of food and water on the shelves, was the traffic flowing at a good rate?
We loaded up the pit, supplies, and headed out. Even though I have a 128 quart coleman 5 day extreme ice chest, the ice seemed to melt pretty fast. A few bags of ice would have given my family about 2 days days worth of cold food.
Cooking on the pit – my wood supply is getting a little low, so I might have to buy a cord of wood before long. I cooked a brisket, pot of ranch style beans, couple of family packs of pork chops, pack of zumo sausages,,, with no problems, and only used a few pieces of wood. To start fires, I have about 6 or 7 boxes of 250 matches each at.
We need to stock some diarrhea meds. My nephew had an upset stomach. I did not have anything to give him, but my uncle did.
Berkey water filter – With a berkey water filter, your supposed to use a water faucet to prime the filter. Well, what happens when you do not have running water? I used 2 water bottles to prime the filter – I took my pocket knife, drilled a small hole in the lid, held the bottle about 2 inches from the top of the stem to fill it up, then put the bottle top against the rubber washer to pressurize the water in the filter. Within just a couple of minutes water started to appear on the outside of the filter – which means it was primed.
Over the course of 2 days, I did not notice any difference in the flow rate between priming and not priming the filter.
2 filters inside the Berkey water filter just is not providing enough water for the family unit. I’am going to have to get 2 more black filters to be able to keep up with demand.
In all, we had 7 people staying with us – 5 people in beds and 2 people on the 2 couches. I guess I need to get an air mattress and keep up there. That way when we have more then 7 people, they will not have to sleep on the floor.
MREs – A buddy of mine showed up and gave me 5 cases of MREs – but they are past their test date. Next time I go to the camp, I’am probably going to take some out, open and do the smell test. If the meals smell bad, I’am going to strip them down, take the accessory packets out, throw the main meals out for the possums and coons and burn the boxes.
One word of advice, roaches love cardboard. Try not to leave any cardboard boxes at your camp. If you need to store stuff, get some plastic tubs and use them instead of cardboard.
To take our showers and flush toilets, we use water from a hand dug well that is about 100 years old. There has not been enough rain fall lately to keep the well filled up. So we had to pump water from the creek to the well.
Within the next year I would like to get a new well sunk we do not have to worry about our water supply.
In my front yard I have a rather large water oak. One of its acorns landed in a potted plant, and took root. In one of the fields at the camp there are a couple of red oaks and a spot for a deer feeder. I’am going to take that oak tree growing in the pot and plant it in the back of the field. The idea is to create an area of acorns that deer will come to. I’am thinking that 2 – 3 more oak trees will create a nice supply of acorns for the local hogs and deer. This will give the field somewhere around 8 – 10 oaks in one area.
Hand soap – we are down to 3/4 gallon of liquid hand soap for hand washing. My wife and I bought 2 more pump bottles for liquid soap, but we forgot the bring them with us.
Clean hands is the number one way to help prevent the spread of disease. That is my hand soap is so essential.
Long term survival observations – Something that I want to do, is to plant a few more oak trees in certain locations in the back of a field. Currently there are a couple of big red oak trees that hang over the back of a field. I would like to plant at least 2,,, maybe 3 or 4 more oaks trees. This would create a supply of acorns for the local wild life – deer, wild hogs and squirrels.
Currently there is a wildlife feeder in the back of the field, but it has to be filled back up every few months. The supply of acorns will alleviate the need to keep the feeder filled up. What would be nice, is to get a wild hog, and either can/jar the meat or make jerky out of it. With a portable smoker, you dont have to worry about building a smoker post SHTF.
Between a steady supply of meat from wild game, fruit trees, and a garden, the only thing that is missing is some chickens and rabbits for eggs and fertilizer.
Post your comments in this forum thread about testing disaster plans with holidays and events.
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