Practice, simulations and drills

When we actually practice with our preps, or run drills and simulations, we take the visualization component out of prepping. There is a lot of mental work in prepping. This creates a shift into real time, hands on practice. For simulations and drills, there is still some imagination required, but you are still in engaged in doing rather than planning or acquiring.

Practice with our preps can build confidence and take some of the stress out of preparing.

Familiarity with our gear and preps becomes a new skill acquired, and more than just putting items into storage or onto a shelf.

Running a drill or simulation is also a way to know that you can handle certain items comfortably and with skill. Is the knife you bought right for you after repeated use? Or, do you need a different one that you can handle better? Do your boots cause discomfort? Do you remember how to purify water safely? Can you bake a loaf of bread?

What about various scenarios as drills? How about a no tech weekend challenge in your home or apartment? Survive with manual or non powered items only. Candles. Navigate with a map. Cook as if there is no power. Try to do everything as if you are off grid.

Take it outdoors, whether you live in the city or a rural area, and practice your covert skills. Challenge yourself to find the most undetectable ways to navigate to certain areas or places that you might need to get to.

Drill down on survival. Earthquake. Now. Go. Get to a designated point. How long did it take you? Did you discover any challenges on the way? 

You can make that challenge more difficult by throwing yourself a curved ball in the form of a route closure or other obstacle necessitating the need to navigate differently. Some preppers have items that were purchased long ago. Are those items still relevant? Or, are there better items now available?

Try running a health impaired simulation. Eye injury and vision impaired. Someone was careless and broke a leg. First aid required. Now you have to manoeuver on crutches or you are one person down. 

Or, someone is ill with the flu complete with all the symptoms. You have to care safely for them. You need to set up a clean room to prevent the rest of the household contracting the flu. You have your duct tape, plastic and zip strips to create a door in the plastic ready, right?

I knew people who practised that scenario for a weekend. It was an eye opener for the caregiver and for the person in the role of patient. We are lay people. Nurses are trained to care for the many needs of patients. It’s not as easy as they make it look because of their training.

Ease of use is not just the realm of the aged. People of any age can develop tendon, joint or muscle conditions or injury like carpal tunnel or arthritis. 

I developed osteoarthritis young, as did some other family members. All of us had to learn how to adapt to living with it. What if you suddenly developed arthritis in your hands? How are you going to get that pail of rice open? Carry water? Imagine severe pain in your hands and wrist, now how are you going to accomplish your goal?

Even strained, sore muscles, from activities from chopping wood or other physical labour can affect how well you can use other items in your preps. The right tools can help you during those times.

There are longer types of practice such as grow a small raised bed garden in your back yard. Or, if you are in an apartment, challenge yourself to grow some food items. 

I grew tomatoes on my balcony in BC. I wanted to see how much I could grow and if it would be successful with the light conditions. It worked great, except for the neighbours calling the police because they thought my tomato plants were something else.

Do you have your local edible plant book yet? Scenario: long term disaster. You now have to forage for food. Where do you go? How do know what to pick? Twinkies at 7-11 don’t count for this one.

Then journal or make notes about your experiences. What did you learn from it? Are there red flags about your preps or skill sets that need to be addressed? How did you fare in non physical ways? Do you need items or training to manage issues like stress or anxiety?

I enjoy doing drills and practice because I learn something valuable each time. How about you? Do you do regular drills and practice or run simulations? What has your experience(s) been like? What did you learn?


  • Comments (7)

    • 8

      Ref:  “notes about .. experiences; .. need to be addressed”;

      One of my experiences involved the ” safe room” requirement. My notes were easy to scribble down. The corrective action took some work.

      For the basic setup, my safe room is in center of shack. A couple of years ago we had an Arctic blast of chilly air. By coincidence, … think of Texas last week … electricity was lost. Didn’t want to fire up a generator for a short time … I am heavy on maintenance and maintenance means – work – after generator use … so I decided to use 2 Mr Heater cartridge type  space heaters (https://www.mrheater.com/mhuniversity [for info only; not affiliated nor anything else w/ co,]). Ventalation is required to prevent the poisonous CO gas building up. Flow chart and notes easy: change of safe room with source of fresh air – even if chilly air. 

      Related; Depending on specifics, my safe room during a hurricane might be already dressed and resting next to a door in case a tree or telephone pole arrives at wall at 50 mph.

      In non-physical way, my corrective actions were mentally fatiguing. Had to relocate the Mr Heaters at side room with windows … much thought on where to keep propane fuel cartridges. In theory would like next to appliance. Other matters such as next to large fire extinguisher more important and did not want to buy another large fire extinguisher.


      • 6

        Break out of the urban routine.  Go camping or backpacking and use your stuff.  Be familiar with it and know capabilities of your equipment.

        My work takes me outdoors a lot, often removed from the usual conveniences and this experience often comes in handy.

      • 5

        hikermor – All excellent points. You have unique perspective because you are outdoors, plus SAR experience.

        I am curious and not sure if appropriate to ask, (if it isn’t, no worries), but, I have a question for you. What would say, from your personal experience, is the biggest reason or factor that cause people to require rescue? 

        Answering “getting lost in the first place” doesn’t count. lol.

      • 6

        Bob – Thanks for the first hand account and analysis of how you coped throughout the adverse weather and power outage.

        There is a lot of thought to making amendments in plans – one change creates another consideration, and I can see how that would be mentally fatiguing. Very good to know as it something that could be overlooked easily.

        Good point about being dressed and resting next to a door. Sometimes the safe room needs to be portable.

    • 6

      @Ubique “Practice with our preps can build confidence and take some of the stress out of preparing.” <- that is so true! I like the idea of practicing different scenarios with our preps. I’m just getting into preparedness and so I have quite a lot to learn.

      • 8

        Hi Jessica, Preparedness is rewarding and the learning can be fun.

        At the top menu, there is “Start Prepping” tab, from there they have articles that can take you through prepping issues for the beginner.

        We are all still learning, Jessica, so no worries, take it slow and enjoy the learning. It’s impossible for one person to know everything with so many variables.

        We are all trying to build sound basic skills and prepare in a way that works for us and/or our families.

        I am glad you joined and remember, everyone has wisdom to share regardless of how they have prepped, so don’t be shy about speaking up or giving a suggestion. I learn from everyone here.

        All the best,


      • 4

        @Ubique I’m glad I am getting into preparedness as well. I have about two weeks worth of food in my house now and it is such a comfort. I’ve never had that much food before! And thanks for the link to the Start Prepping tab above. I’ve read a few articles here and there, but that looks like a good section to start on. I appreciate the warm welcome.