Well I know that I am not entirely prepared should something happen right now today. I don't have nearly the amount of equipment and supplies that I should have. I do however have my plan of action and so one thing that I have decided to do in the next couple of days is a test run.
Now there are different levels of test runs and different ways you can do them but I have decided to break them down into different levels. As you go up a level the amount of role playing and reenacting the scenarios of a crisis event goes up. It is also different depending on whether or not you plan to bug in or bug out.
We'll start with bugging in. Level one of bugging in is very simple. You do an inventory check. You don't go to the store before you do this. You chose a random time and you do an inventory check and see what you have and what you don't have. This will give you an idea of what is likely to be in your house when disaster strikes and what you might have to live without. It also helps you see where some of your weaknesses in your stocks might be as well.
Level two of bugging in starts the actual reenacting part of these test runs. For this you will want to set aside a period of time in which you can do this, without having any disturbances. At level two I would say this can be anywhere from a couple of hours to a full weekend. For this test run you will be trying to survive with just what is in your house, but without regular modern conveniences.
In a disaster you are not likely to have running water or electricity. So you can either pretend that the electricity in your house isn't working, or for a more realistic approach, you can actually go to your breaker box and turn off all the power to your house. You can do the same with your water, either pretending or turning off valves to actually cut off water.
Now when you are running these disaster scenario tests runs it is up to you what you are preparing for. Therefore it is up to you whether or not it is something that you may have a warning for. If you are preparing for a disaster that hits without warning you shouldn't do any prepping beforehand. However if it is something that is happening that you will have at least a little bit of notice ahead of time for, give yourself a little time for prepping before the water and electricity goes off. However don't make it a long period of time, perhaps only an hour or so because in a real disaster you don't know how long your utilities will last.
Another thing to keep in mind is if you plan to have defenses set up or if you plan for the possibility of other people showing up. If so remember to include these. See how long it takes for you to set up defenses. If there might be other people showing up have some friends show up at the beginning of your test run or in the middle or towards the end. You can even have more than expected show up if you'd like. Remember these are tests runs and you want to test your abilities and your supplies.
Now for a level three bug in test run. Again you’re going to want to set aside a specific amount of time for this. You are basically going to take a level two test run and make it longer. You will be bugging in for anywhere from four days to a week or even longer if you have the time and want to. Remember the point is to see how long you can actually last with what you have, so no runs to Walmart in the middle of the bug in, unless that is part of your bug in plan.
Now as part of a level three bug in test you don't have to stay confined to your house. You can go to Walmart if that is part of your plan but remember to add in some disaster scenario situations if you are leaving the safety of your home. Consider if you will be able to drive or if you have to walk. Also consider other obstacles that will be in your way while you travel somewhere. Also if you are going into a store, consider that whatever it is that your trying to get might not be on the shelves anymore.
From this point let’s move to test runs for those who are bugging out. Again level one is simply to take inventory. What do you have and what don't you have, and for that matter where do you have your supplies located. Is you bug out bag already packed? Are things all together in one spot? Are they scattered in different areas of your house? These are all things to consider for a level one test run. This again is just a simple way to start looking for any flaws in your bug out plan.
A level two test run for bugging out is to see how fast you can get your supplies and get out of your house. This can be run a couple of different ways. You can either start out at your house and see how long it takes, or you can add in something like the time it takes you to get home from work. If disaster strikes while you are at work and you have to get home to get your bug out supplies that is something to keep in mind and you might want to add that in.
For this run though, the basic idea is to get all the supplies that you will be bugging out with together, and to get out of your house. In a level two drill you will only going to the point where you walk out of the door. You can also add the time to pack up a bug out vehicle if that’s part of your plan as well, but you’re not actually going to start moving anywhere.
A good thing to do for this drill or really any of the drills is to time yourself. See how long it takes to get everything together and get out. Did you have a specific amount of time you wanted to be packed up and out of the house by? If yes, did you make it? If not then you probably want to practice some more or see if you can find ways to cut down the number of things you need to do.
A level three bug out test run involves actually bugging out. You want to get from your house or your work to your bug out location. Again you might want to time how long it takes you to get there. Also keep in mind that it might be helpful to try a few different routes. If you plan on driving to your bug out location try doing it in different weather such as rain or snow (if you get snow in your area), and at night as well as during the day. Also if you do plan to drive consider the possibility of your car breaking down, or the roads being impassable. Can you walk or bike? Is your bug out location even feasible without a vehicle to get you there?
This leads us to a level four bug out test run. You want to go through packing up and bugging out to you bug out location, and now, just like with bugging in, you should try and survive. You can make it a day or a weekend, or ramp it up and make it even longer for a week or more. Just like with bugging in, are you depending on going to a different place for more supplies? Remember to include that. What about defenses? What about other people coming with you? Does your plan include foraging, hunting, or cutting firewood? Remember to include all these things.
The types of test runs that you can set up are nearly endless. You can have test runs where you have all your supplies or none of them. You can set up test runs where something goes wrong causing you to lose supplies or forcing you to bug out when you planned to bug in. That is the idea of these test runs.
You use the test runs to run through your plans to make sure that when SHTF they work. However doing test runs where you simulate things going wrong is also a good plan because as they say "The first rule of war is no matter how good a plan is, as soon as the battle starts, the plan falls apart." The same can be true with prepping. When SHTF don’t expect everything to go exactly like you planned. It would be great if it did, but be prepared that it probably won't.
We are preppers and we try to be prepared for everything that way we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Doing training runs is just one more way for us to be prepared. Does anyone out there do any training runs themselves? Let us know, we'd love to here about them!