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Sunday, June 10, 2018

LA Times article "After a big earthquake where will people go?"

Came across this the other day. Found the story really interesting. They attempt to go past the normal earthquake story. You know, ground shakes, buildings fall and then we go back to thinking about other things.

Take a moment and read the article....... we will wait......


Al'righty, let's think about this for moment. We make it through the earthquake. Then what? What if the roads suddenly look like the one in the picture above? Your not going to just drive home. Maybe you are trying to get home and this is in your way.
I know, some of you are laughing and think this is a good thing, LA being cut off from the rest of the world....... but for the rest of us.

"In the San Francisco Bay Area, more than 400,000 could be displaced in a magnitude 7 earthquake on the Hayward fault, which directly runs underneath cities like Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward and Fremont, said Ken Hudnut, the U.S. Geological Survey’s science advisor for risk reduction. And it’s possible that more than 250,000 people in Southern California could be forced out of their homes after a major earthquake on the San Andreas fault, Hudnut said." 

Imagine 250,000 people suddenly moving. Most of us can not really wrap our heads around the idea. Not really. We may think we have a grasp of the numbers. In reality very few of us have any idea what a migration of this type would look like. 

"Not everyone will need to stay in public shelters — many will stay with relatives, friends and hotels. Still, more than 175,000 people may have no other choice than stay at a public shelter in Southern California, which could be could be challenged with acute shortages of food, water and medicine, according to ShakeOut, a USGS report simulating a major Southern California earthquake." 

Even if we skip trying to wrap our heads around that many people moving we can imagine the roads being blocked. How long can the large urban centers go without trucks bringing them supplies? Two days, three days or maybe a week. At some point the supplies have to come in our the people have to move to the supplies. This is what the article starts to address. A portion of the scenario which seems to be over looked by many people when they discuss planning for "The Big One".
"Arizona recently took a major step in dealing with this question. Officials in May launched a full-scale exercise that simulated a mass exodus of 400,000 evacuees from Southern California. The drill gave emergency workers a chance to consider how they would respond to the many elements of the disaster: providing food and shelter, helping unaccompanied minors, assisting in family reunification, and dealing with the transportation and resource hurdles.
The exercise was aimed at beginning to think about how to deal with such a refugee crisis, though experts in California said it’s unlikely that many people would end up in Arizona. It may actually be quite difficult to leave California after an earthquake moves one side of the San Andreas past the other by as much as 30 feet — severing routes to Phoenix on Interstate 10 in the Coachella Valley and Las Vegas on Interstate 15 at the Cajon Pass.
Also complicating problems would be a widespread lack of power, thwarting the ability of motorists to refuel. “If you choose to go, it’s going to be difficult to do so. It’s a pretty hot desert between you and Phoenix,” seismologist Lucy Jones said."

Picture traffic on a Friday night. Took me almost two hours to travel around sixty miles today. Traffic wasn't really bad for a weekend. Now picture people upset, scared. trying to get to what they believe is safety for them. Maybe they have a car full of kids. By the time they decide to move odds are they were running out of items they need. Food, water, maybe their shelter is gone. Think of Friday traffic and add in these elements. Traffic and people's attitudes while driving can be bad enough. Now envision them thinking their life truly does depend on reaching their destination..... 

The article points out highways would be severed by the ground shifting in several key points. How would that effect the flow of traffic out of the LA Basin or in your city? Traffic heading to Las Vegas on a weekend can be absolutely ridicules. Add in roads physically damaged and unusable. 

How does having the roads severed effect relief supplies from making into the city? Sure the authorities could bring enough supplies to make a difference. Even with the roads out they could bring in supplies. There is always airplanes and helicopters, right? How much weight in supplies can a big helicopter bring in? Is it enough for the 13,131,431 in the LA Metropolitan area?  

Maybe you could find another road? Lots of surface streets most of the city dwellers use daily to beat traffic. Must be some way around damaged freeways to make it to Arizona, right? No. There is a lot of desert to get stranded in and die......... Our normal mode of travel and daily routine tend to give us a false idea of distance. 20 miles isn't too far on a normal day. same 20 miles at 5 miles an hour, with hungry kids in the car is a totally different experience. 

"Experts say it would be much better to shelter in place at home. Owners can take steps to do so by retrofitting older houses or apartments now at risk for sliding off its foundation or collapsing in an earthquake. Residents can prepare by storing water, food, medicine and other supplies to sustain themselves for, ideally, two weeks, or at least a minimum of 72 hours. A gallon of water per day per person is recommended." 

Most of us have heard this before. We should have at least 72 hours of supplies on hand. How many have noticed the "experts" keep upping the number of days you should be able to take care of yourself? Three days is a great place to start! We all should have this amount on hand as a minimum. Once we do have three days worth we just replicate what we did the first time and now we have six days worth. Which puts us well above what our neighbors have done according to the experts.  

Remember what we start with can be as simple as this. Here is a link to an earlier article about using $20 to start preparing. 

"Unfortunately, most Californians don’t bother to be prepared, and a failure to stock up on something as basic as drinking water could lead residents to leave even if their home is structurally sound.... It’s clear the public doesn’t think about these things,” Hudnut said. “I’d rather be one of those people who doesn’t have to go and has more water stored.”

Article is focused on people leaving but what happens if your neighbors know you have water and they do not? What happens when they come over and ask for your water? What happens when they keep asking for your water? What happens when you have to tell them they can not have any more water from your families supply? People will do all kinds of things to take care of their family and themselves. Something for my friends in California to think about as they continue to allow their ability to have tools to defend themselves slip away....... 

"But a big wild card that would push someone to flee are fires following an earthquake, with shattered pipes expected to hamper firefighting......... in Southern California, it’s possible the equivalent of 133,000 single-family homes will be charred."

Well just when you made it this far in a post and your thinking "I am good! We have everything in place for what he has pointed out! I am done!" OOPS! This article again goes past the normal earthquake story. 

Suddenly fire comes.... You rode out the earthquake. You set up shop at the house. Everything is good to go. Then you notice a red glow in the distance at night. Maybe you see smoke, the dark brown, black, dirt colored smoke you know means a fire is coming. Are you ready to run? Even with one plan in motion we need to remember to be ready to start another. Mother Nature has a way of humbling you when you think you have a handle on things. 

Random picture to reward those who are still reading this....... 

"Elements of emergency plans have already been put in force. When more than 100,000 people were ordered evacuated downstream of Oroville Dam last year....But one lesson that has been learned is that most people aren’t inclined to flee long distances, as was the case in the Wine Country wildfires last year."

In reality how far could you move. Take a moment right now. Earthquake comes, right now. You ride it out but now is the time to go. How much gas do you have in your cars? How many routes do you know? What if the roads are clogged? Can you physically move yourself under your own power to a distance which would help you to survive? 

“We found most people want to stay near to or close to their homes,” Huston said, even if it meant pitching a tent in front a damaged property. That means a key priority may be, for instance, “to provide food and assistance to neighborhood by neighborhood.”

Are you thinking you can just pitch a tent in the front yard and wait for help? Do you have a tent? Do you know how to pitch it? You sure waiting for the government to feed and water you is a good idea.

This is getting long so we will stop around here. This article seemed important to share. If this paper is posting articles going past the basics of earthquake planning maybe we should take heed of this? Maybe we should take stock of what we really could handle or do, right now! Not what we plan on doing a month from now. But using this moment to think about what we can do and work toward improving our abilities to deal with emergency situations. 

And just to keep the balance in the universe..... 

As Always,

Stay Safe! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Bugging in - Also known as staying home.

Let's focus this time at staying home. Something has happened, is happening or about to happen. Odds are you are experiencing anxiety of some sort over the situation. Think about it, tornado warning goes out. All you can do is wait and see. Big storm headed your way. All you can do is wait and see. Riots in the streets. All you can do is wait and see. 

We have talked about being at home or choosing to stay at home before. Let's bring it up a notch. Let's say we have the basics covered for a day or three. We have water, we have food, we have shelter and all these foundational things we need to survive the issue at hand. We are good as long as our home is not directly involved or affected by the situation. What else can we do or have to make the situation better for ourselves? 
Have a means to increase our situational awareness. We need to be able to gather information from outside our immediate area. Knowledge is power and in this case the power is being informed. Information will keep your anxiety down. Even if what you are receiving is bad information at least you are not figuratively "in the dark" Fear of the unknown is a real thing. Ignorance is bliss, is also a real thing. Both have their good and bad points. For us I would argue knowing what is happening gives us advantages those who live in "bliss" do not have. Put the local news on. Check the internet for information. Charge batteries to your cell phone if you think the power could go out! You want to keep information coming to you if you can. You need to know when the emergency is over, how it is progressing and how the changing situation could affect you. Having a HAM radio, CB, weather radio or even just a police scanner can help with being aware of what is happening.

(NOTE: Any product or device you see here is more then likely something we have at our house. Not going to suggest something I personally do not use or something I would not want my own mom to have!)

Even with all the information coming in to you via electronics, nothing beats your own eyes and ears. Staying at the house does not mean staying in the house with your head driven into the sand. News reports might lag behind on what is happening to you. Do not expect others removed from the situation to have a better idea of what is happening then you do. Your right there, you can see it, you can smell it and you can feel it. Odds are the reporters are several miles or more from any real danger. In most cases they have to wait till someone tells them what is going on. You might not have the luxury for the lag time in information. Rely on yourself and your senses first. Your senses have been around a lot longer then the gadgets, use them. Use the information you gather from other sources to enhance your knowledge of the situation.

If the situation allows you, spend a few moments talking to your neighbors. I know for some of us this is unheard of!! I am guilty of this probably more then anyone I know! Yet during power outages or during recent fires I have found myself outside talking to the neighbors. Maybe you can share information with them? Might help them deal with the situation or fill in a blank or two for you. 

Remember we do not want to react or deal with situations as your kids might. No running to your room, jumping in the bed and pulling the blankets over your head!! I called it!!

With information coming in we can make decisions on what to do. One thing we need to do is make sure we have what we think we have. Get your information gathering going then make sure you have what you will need for the situation. Maybe you realize you are short a few things? Well you should be ashamed of yourself, hang your head in shame and volunteer to be the main course for a tribe of cannibals!!!!

Last minute buying. Ever time a big storm is heading for somewhere the news has pictures of empty shelves and people trying to buy things at the last minute. Let's try to not be these people! If you go out to buy things right before a situation make it things you do not need to live. The things you buy should be in addition to what you have already at home to live off of. But we all know life has a way of using up that last roll of toilet paper and the weather report says you will not be able to leave the house for three days!!!! Might be a good idea to trudge through the crowds and find yourself a few rolls!

Of course there is always the chance when you get to the store others have beaten you there. We want to work toward having enough at the house we do not need to get involved with the last minute shoppers! The back of the cabinet under the sink. Maybe in the garage. Heck the attic or the back of the closet, are all good spots to stash some toilet paper from the Dollar store. Sure it is not the nice triple ply you are used to using on your behind. If the choice is one ply or a dish towel......

One of these stashed somewhere with a couple rolls of toilet paper. Maybe some baby wipes. Toothpaste, soap bars, hand sanitizer and a bottle of shampoo could be the answer to not having to deal with the mob at the store?

You can see the priority of these folks in Venezuela when they have the chance.

Maybe you want to pick up a few more items just to give you a cushion. Some extra snacks for the kids or maybe you need to make a store run just to give you something to do while waiting for the storm. Make what you buy useful. Think about the situation taking more then what you think it will take. Buy the bag of rice on sale in the 'ethnic food isle'..... yes they are cheaper some times..... you can even go to the WIC section here in California to find small bags of items, staples, which could come in handy if things are dragged out.

They idea here is to not get tied up with the rush. Dumb things happen when people come together under these circumstances. If you can avoid needing to be there why not. Plus not spending time in line gives you time to take care of other things.

Maybe not needing to get stuck in the panic buying mode gives you more time and more hands to fortify the house? (reminds me I need to go buy some plywood!) If you do not need to go to the store and you have battened down the hatches with the time saved you can focus on other items.

Maybe bring in some more wood? Cut down the branch from the tree you keep thinking is going to get blown off and land on your roof? Check on other family an friends. Start thinking about what you will do during the incident.

What if?????????

Is your car parked somewhere you do not have to worry about it? Are you sure? Is your parking area a manmade creek just waiting for the water to come? Is there somewhere you can park you do not have to worry about a palm tree coming down on your car?

What do you do if the utilities to your house go out during the storm? What do you have to stay warm with? Hopefully you have a few flashlights at the very least. Maybe a couple of extra blankets? What if you primary means of cooking fails? Do you have a grill? Can use the grill or are you planning on eating cold food? Anyone with you or do you have special medical issues you need to take into account during the storm or incident? Good chance the ambulance or police will not be able to show up in the middle of a situation!!!! There are a thousand separate "what if?" you could work through. Each is driven by the situation and how you fit into it.

How about after the situation is over? Few people plan for the after or recovery phase of a situation. Have you given this any thought? What do you do after the incident has passed?

Do you have tools to cut away the tree? Will you have to wait for someone else to do it for you? Do you have a tarp to cover a hole in the roof or a broken window? If you have a chainsaw, do you have the fuel for it? Have you used it or tested it lately? Maybe we add a fee hand saws to our tool kit before and incident happens?

Are you physically able to walk to the nearest store if your street looked like this? Cleaning this up would take more then a day or two. Maybe we should take a few more walks now, just incase we have to walk after?

Do you have insurance? We shouldn't plan of the Government swooping in and fixing everything in a day or two. Owning a house you have to have insurance for the loan. Do you rent? There is insurance for renters also!! We all should have a basic amount of insurance to help us if we need it.

Do you have money set aside if the ATMs and credit cards are not working? Would really suck to walk the two miles to the nearest store only to find out your plastic gets you nothing.......

This is getting long so I will cut it here. Our prior planning sets us up to survive. Our adapting to a situation increases our ability to survive. Being aware of what is happening allows you to adapt your prior planning to the present situation. Prior planning also allows us to work through the situation when there is no stress. We all need to understand in our planning there are at least three phases.

Before an event
After the event

As Always,

Stay Safe.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

OODA loop

(Between recent events and recent training experiences I thought it would be a good idea to go over this concept.)

Decision making, something we do all day long and never really think about. All day long you decide to do things really with out thinking about it. You get in the car, start the car and take off down the road without really taking time to think about all the complex decisions you are having to make. Internally you calculate how fast you are going and confirm it with the what the car is saying. You make a right hand turn after calculating the distance, speed and timing it will take you to make the turn before the other car coming toward you is to close.

Of course some folks make less then thoughtful decisions when behind the wheel. Which makes the rest of us decided if jail is really that bad or not.........

For lots of situations we deal with on a daily basis we make list. We gather information, we compare outcomes from the information we have. And only after we have done these things do we choose a course of action.

We unconsciously use an O.O.D.A. Loop thousands of times a day. What if we could consciously use this process to increase our ability to make decisions? Even increase the speed in which we could make these decisions?

This way of describing how we make decisions was originally used to help fighter pilots make decisions. The link can lead you to a more detail explanation.


Who more then a fighter pilot would need to make decisions, life or death decisions, as quickly as possible? Not to many of us.  

Observe - We have to have our head up either physically or metaphorically. You do not know there is an issue if you do not collect the information indicating there is an issue. 

Orient - We have to face, literally and figuratively, the issue. Focusing on the issue at hand while letting go of everything which does not have to do with the issue. 

Decide - After passing through the first two phases we come up with a plan or solution to the issue. 

Act - We follow through with the plan. The plan based on the information we have gathered. 

Sounds simple enough. Fits in with our Keep It Simple Stupid concept. Yet this seemingly simple idea can be utilized for so many different situations or issues. Like most things we talk about, we want to cover as many things as we can with as little as we can. One item for many situations is a great thing. 

How do we apply this concept. After all you can have a million ideas or a bag full of supplies. If you can not apply the ideas or utilize your items they are useless. 

Need a bandaid for the little one? Some time before you knew this could come up. You spent a couple of dollars at the Dollar Store. You know to clean out the wound and then cover it with the bandaid. Emergency over! You can do this because at some point you acknowledged a "bad" thing could happen, you focused on the issue, you came up with a plan and bought some bandaids. 

Maybe a really bad day has come up? Maybe you are facing a bad guy with a knife?

Maybe the fire is just down the street or over the hill?

Knowing the OODA Loop and how to apply it will help you make it through either of these situations and so many more. How?

Physical encounter with guy in picture...... You need to make your situation better. As in right now!

Observe - you acknowledge he is a threat. Your past the "why me" or "why is this happening" phase. You clearly define this as a threat you must deal with!

Orient - you turn to address the threat. Your focus is the threat. Nothing else matters at the moment. With orientating yourself to the threat you have now placed all your sharp pointy things toward the threat. Fist, feet and even your teeth if you have to use them! 

Decide - Fight or flight. Now that you are focused on the threat you can decide what to do. 

Act - Do something to better your position! As the guy goes past you, take the pen you were using to sign autographs and put it in his eye. 

Of course all of this happens faster then it took you to read about it. One of the reasons this concept worked well for fighter pilots. You have also interrupted the guy with the knife OODA Loop. He has to start back a square one. Hopefully you have sped up your own loop and are a step ahead of him now. 

Which brings use to how most of us will use this concept. We can speed up our own OODA Loop to give use more time to make better decisions when something happens. 

By covering some of the process before a situation arises you can increase the speed of the decision making process. Take the second situation, one friends of mine faced recently, a fire coming toward the house. 

You find out the weather women/man is calling for fire conditions over the next few days. For those of us in California we know a call of Santa Anna winds is going to bring fire. Not an 'if', this almost always means a fire is coming. In fact I can not think of any time in the recent past a fire did not happen somewhere once they called for Santa Anna winds over a day or two. 

Observe - You pay attention to the news more. Maybe you look to the horizon a little more then you do on other days. 

Orient - You hear there is a fire near your home. 

Decide - This is where your prior planning speeds up your loop. You have sat down, when not under pressure of a real situation and figured out all the 'what if's?'. You already know where the important papers are kept. You already know what you "need" to make it a few days away from the house. You already have a stash of cash to pay for a hotel room. Your gas tank is half full. Your iCloud is already full of family pictures. Add in all the other things you can already have squared away when this situation comes up.  

You have to go through the loop less times then your neighbor. This gives you the ability to be a step ahead of the situation. 

Fire coming! 
Cool. How much time we got?
Fifteen minutes!
Cool. Grab these things............ Done. 
We still got ten minutes!
Cool. Let's also grab these things, since we have time.......... Done.
But we still have five minutes, we need to do something! 
Cool. We got a couple of minutes? 
WHY ARE YOU SO CALM!?!?!?!?!?!?
Prior planning.............. Wanna panic? We got like three minutes? We can fit it in if you would like?
(this is the part where they roll their eyes at you and call you names!)

We all want to be in a position where nothing bad ever happens. Well that is not life. If we apply this concept of the OODA Loop to our prior planning we can increase the odds of us coming out in a good spot at the end of the emergency. Of course this means we have to get over the first hurdle to any sort of planning. We have to get over the "Why me?" or "Why is this happening?" phase first. 

One way to do this is to plan now before an event occurs. Take the most common event in your area. Maybe it is an ice storm? Maybe a tornado? Maybe you drive a long way to work everyday? What are the major issue you would face in any of these situations? Grab a piece of paper..... go on and grab one now while you are reading this and have a few moments to orient yourself to the issues. We will wait............. 

The rest of us will enjoy this picture of Snoopy. 

Your back? Ok, what is the first priority during your event? Write it down. How do you cover this first priority? Write down the answer. You have just sped up your first OODA Loop. While your sitting here, write down the second priority. What is the answer to cover this priority? Write it down. Now you have sped up two decisions you will have to address. I am sure if you are reading this post you have the ability to follow this thought process further down the line.

Take your plans and put them in a binder if you want to. We have set plans or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) we do without having them written down. Experience has brought us to this point. What you really need to do is discuss this planning with your loved ones. Discussing this will speed up your loved ones OODA Loops when you are not there. 

As Always,

Stay Safe!  

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Good spot

Been awhile since I wrote anything. Life kind of jumped up and got in the way. The good thing about not writing or focusing on preparedness for awhile? I got to see if my stuff was up to snuff a few times. The best part, this was without the subject really being anywhere near a focus in my life. Without realizing it I had hit a "good spot" in my personal planning.

What does a good spot mean? This good spot is a place where you do not have to think about preparedness to much. When something unexpected comes up, your prior planning has lead to your appropriate response to the situation. This is a good feeling! I have a joke with myself. The future me either likes or dislikes the past me depending on what the past me has done to prepare the future me! Over the last nine months or so we have had power outages, cuts/bruises/bumps, fires, floods and other issues come up. We have done pretty good through all of these issues.

Remember, an emergency situation to you might be different then what an emergency situation is to me. This is why everyone needs to focus on what their personal situation requires. There are no one size fits all.

Scrapped knees, bonked heads and other child injuries came up. Our medical preparedness allowed us to make it through these 'emergencies'. You would be amazed how much a Spider Man bandaid can change a situation. One second you have a small child whaling at the top of their lungs swearing the end of the world has begun. Some Neosporin treated the physical wound. The decorations on the bandaid treated the mental wound. End of emergency!

More then once an ice pack from the freezer cured the bruised egos of little ones who were on the losing end of a tussle. Sometimes they even kept the swelling down from whatever they had failed at doing or the knot they received from the other one. The ice packs in the freezer even helped to keep the fridge cold during our several power outages. Between the incidents the ice packs were tested to see how long they could keep the ice chest cold after the power came back on. Two and a half days before I thought stuff started to get to warm. (No I was not opening and closing the ice chest. Just kept it closed to see how long water stayed cold.)

Being able to use a single item for multiple uses is a wonderful ability! Just hope someone does not get a bump and you need the ice pack for keeping the chest cold!!!

Our communications abilities were tested during the power outages. The ability to still communicate with the little ones, who's iPads had no internet, was a big one! Hehehehehe! Between text messages, cellular, radios and talking to our neighbors we thought we had a grasp of what was going on around us. Some of our friends found the lag time between news or official information was to much. This lag between what was happening right now to them and what was being put out caused stress to be added to their already stressful, if not life threatening, situations! 

Found more resources for staying up to date. Phones have all kinds of applications for staying informed. The ham radio and police scanners helped a lot. Yet at the end of the day we found looking around the house, talking to our neighbors, City Workers and keeping our own situational awareness were the best tools.

Nothing was better then during our first power outage. The children came home to find the house had lights. Each of them had their own flashlight. And best of all....... Pizza had been ordered for dinner!! Took the time to teach the older one how to put batteries in the camp lanterns. Did not seem like a big deal till the next power outage. Someone had to show mom where the batteries went and the best places to put the lamps.......... Future me laughed at that one!

We personally escaped the worst of the fires this year. Friends of ours were not so lucky. I will not put any names in this story. If you figure out it is you...... do not tell anyone! I called it!!!

Two families, we will call one family #1 and the other #2. Let's focus on just the first few minutes of the emergency. Both were faced with the same issues. It was time to go, fire was coming and there was no time left to figure out what to do.

Family #1, no idea what to pack. No real idea where to go. No prior planning at all from what I could figure out.

Family #2, set their planning into motion. Had a rough idea of where to go. Had time to gather more information, pack more items.

Family #1, all over text messages and FB venting their frustration.

Family #2, using the internet to check in with folks and keeping people informed of their situation.

Family #1, basically appeared to melt down.

Family #2, held it together.

This was just the first couple of minutes of the emergency. Why am I pointing this out? Those first couple of minutes could make all the difference. Prior planning prevents poor performance. Am I 'Monday Morning Quarter Backing' either family? Nope just giving my impression of what each family was doing.

They both faced many of the exact same issues. Family #2 was obviously dealing with the situation much better. Why? Seems they had hit a good spot in their personal planning. The situation might have exceeded what they were truly facing but their prior planning obviously helped them through the situation.

Having dealt with a few situations of our own. With the knowledge we gained from what our friends personally went through. The goal now becomes to close up some of the gaps in our abilities. We want to cover more of the basics. Add some more abilities. Plan out a few more scenarios.

Going to be doing all of this with the intention of moving our "Good Spot" a little further down the line.

As Always,

Stay Safe!   


Sunday, March 04, 2018

Inventory - Check your stuff

Quite randomly the month of July was the month I put into my phone to inventory and take stock of where we are for emergency preparedness. Best reason I can remember is I had achieved some goal at this point in the years prior.

Having a time you plan to check what you have, replace stuff and see where you want to be is a really good tool. I must admit life seemed to get in the way with my inventory this year. Work, kids, etc etc etc. Honestly there is not a whole lot to go through at the house, no we do not have a bunker full of every item we might need if the aliens invade, but I found enough to work on when I did sit down to go through our get home bags.

I know as our situation at home changes we need to adapt our planning and gear to the new situation. Kids grow, grown folks get older, you move or any of the other things which can change your situation come up and having a day or in this case a month to review your preparedness comes in handy. Biggest thing I found was duplicated items. I have a habit of getting items and just stuffing them inside of the bags. Of course I forget what I already have in them!

Expired or poorly packaged items were the next thing I found. Over the course of the last year I had found higher quality items but had failed to move out the older stuff. (going back to my habit of just stuffing stuff in the bag)

Somethings do not change, expire or need upgrading. Rain cover for the bag, first aid supplies, mirror, whistle and headlamp.

I realized my water purifying equipment had gotten a bit out of hand. The bag is packed to help get me home from work on a really bad day. If I need three types of water filters to get home things have gone way, way bad and the bag is not designed for a really, really bad day. Just a bad day!!! Although having multiple ways of doing something is a really good idea this was kind of a waste of space when I realized what I had done.  

I also realized my medical supplies needed to be revamped. The focus was more on the gunfight and needed to move toward covering regular issues one might have walking home. My background leads me to see things through the gunfighter lens. We should all make sure we look at our planning through the lens of disciplines outside of our own.

I also needed to trade out the MREs which had sat in my car for a year or more. Ok I know people will say you should do this more often because they go bad. Ate on of the ones I took out for lunch that day. Tabasco sauce had evaporated magically somehow but the rest of the meal was good! I couldn't remember if I had water bladder in the bag until I looked. Another good reason for going through the stuff.

I also had recently bought a new pack for everyday carry and decided to move the stuff over to the new bag. Having both bags open at the same time lead me to again find some gear which was duplicated and did not need to be carried in both bags. This bag is the Vertex EDC bag, after I carry it for awhile there will be a review.

One of the first things I did with the new bag was add a tourniquet and extra bandages. With everything going on in the world right now I felt I needed to add more medical stuff to the EDC.

Just inventory of this gear seemed to take up all of the spare time I had this month. Of course I have to still go through some other stuff but this gave me a good indication of where we are and where we need to go during the next year. If you can't deal with situations with what you carry everyday, combined with the gear you have to help you get home than what you have at home might just not matter.