In the previous article on "Starting to Prepare", I suggested that your preparations include items from at least each of the following categories:
A means to obtain, purify, and store clean water
Food and food preparation supplies
A heating device and fuel for cooking and warmth
For total body protection and warmth
Personalize according to your own and your family's needs
A warm, dry place to be and the means to get to it
The means to protect your family and belongings from harm during any crisis
The ability to illuminate the dark places in your environment safely
A means for keeping in touch with friends/family
The means to refresh your body, soul and spirit
The tools to carry on even when everything else hasn't
As you accumulate items in each category, work to become proficient in the use of each of your supplies. That is the next step. Skills to practice in each category include the following:
Do you have clean water stored?
Do you know at least 3 methods for purifying your water?
Do you know how to safely store your purified water?
Do you know where to obtain more water if your supply runs out?
Do you know how to use your alternative-cooking device?
Do you have a backup device and can you properly use it?
Do you have extra fuel safely stored?
Have you actually cooked a meal on it?
Do you know how to prepare the food you have stored?
Will your family eat it?
Do you have a variety of recipes that use your stored foods?
Do you have all the ingredients to your recipes?
Can anyone else cook besides you?
Do you have a means for cleaning up afterwards?
Have you ever tried using that means?
Do you have a backup source of heat?
Do you know how to use it?
Is it in need of repairs, conversions or fuel?
Do you have adequate amounts of fuel stored?
Do you need to make any additions or alterations for safety?
Do you have extra blankets available?
Do you have clean wearable clothing set aside in a waterproof location?
Do all your family members have clothing also?
Do you have shoes, socks and underclothing set aside?
Do you have warm clothes such as coats, hats, gloves, etc for each person?
Do they still fit well?
Do you have a well-stocked first aid kit?
Do you know basic first aid and CPR?
Do you have a basic supply of family medicines and prescription medicines?
Do you have medical background information for each person?
Do you have a safe place to go to in an emergency?
Do you know how to get there? In the dark? On foot?
Have you tried getting there?
Do you have an alternate route you could use to get there?
Have you tried it?
Do you have supplies packed and ready to go if needed?
Can you carry your supplies?
Have you tried living with just your supplies yet?
Do you have a plan for meeting others if you are not all together?
Do you have other supplies pre-positioned at your 'shelter'?
Do you have a means of protecting yourself in an emergency?
Have you been trained to use it?
Have you practiced with it?
Do you need refills, ammo, or supplies for your protective device?
Do you know how to clean and care for your 'weapon'?
Do you have a light source for your shelter?
Do you have all parts, fuel or batteries for your light?
Do you know how to use your light?
Have you used it in the dark?
Have you used it as a primary light source in a real situation?
Have you tried using it for an extended period of time?
Does everyone else in your group know how to use it?
Do you have a backup light source?
Do you have a means of receiving outside news?
Do you have extra batteries or parts?
Do you have a means of transmitting news to others?
Have you tried using it?
Do all members know how to use it?
Can you do basic repairs on it?
Do you have sources of recreation suitable to each person?
Do you have books, magazines, Bibles, etc?
Do you have someone in charge of seeing to each person's well being?
Do you have the ability to sustain your lifestyle with minimal outside purchases?
Can you grow your own food?
Can you preserve it?
Can you prepare it?
Can you make repairs on your things?
Can you teach your children?
Can you make or repair your clothing?
Can you skillfully obtain necessary supplies and services through barter?
Do you have a skill you can provide for others?
Can you survive where you are now?
There are many other skills to practice in order to prepare for an unknown future. Start with the simplest and work your way up. Remember, never let an opportunity to learn or practice a new skill pass you by. You don't need to wait for the perfect opportunity. Every day provides at least one opportunity to improve your ability to survive!