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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Preparedness Cross-Training

Here's something to think about this fine fall weekend if you haven't already: Among your immediate prepper "family" or "mutual support group" - how much cross-training do you have?

Is this something you have thought much about? Not only how much cross-training do you have, but how much do you think you need? In what particular areas? If you had to be self-sufficient for a period of time, do you have enough people to do all the things that would need to be done in a day?

My mind has been thinking on this topic again recently, since my husband received mobilization orders and left this past week for a one-year assignment with the Army. He's stateside and will probably be able to come home for weekend visit every 2-3 months - so we're fortunate in that regard.

Given a lot of the things going on these days though - businesses still closing, unemployment still going up, homes still going into foreclosure, restlessness about the looming healthcare bill, concern about our economic stability, concerns about Iran, Iraq, terrorism in general, the swine flu, upcoming winter weather - there are lots of things to think about and pay attention to that could have an impact on your day-to-day life and survival.

Knowing that my husband won't be here on a day-to-day basis has made me spend some time thinking again about our preparedness plans and how they would (or would not!) work without him here to be a major participant in our plans.

We all tend to gravitate toward preparedness activities that we enjoy doing or know how to do well. And I'd venture to guess that in most families, Dad has his set of skills and areas he takes care of, Mom has hers and together they probably assign activities to any of the children that are around.

So if you take Dad or Mom out of the picture - how do your plans work? Where are the holes? Seems to me that cross-training would be a good idea to keep things going as smoothly as possible. Which means you have to think about what areas to cross-train, who to train, how frequently will you have them practice to learn and keep their skills, etc.

For example, I know how to build a great fire to heat our home and we've put in 3 new cords of wood this year (we're in West TN remember, it doesn't get super cold here for extended periods of time). We're narrowing down wood stove inserts and plan to purchase one in the next couple of weeks - it will have the ability to heat our entire home if necessary and also have a cooktop. So our ability to heat our home and have an alternative cooking method is in good shape. This year I'll be teaching our oldest child (age 10) how to start a fire and keep it going as good as I can.

Something I don't know a lot about though, is running the new generator we've purchased. I haven't seen it in operation yet. Also, we recently purchased a set of solar panels, 125 amp and 265 amp batteries, inverter - but this is another area that I don't know a lot about and need additional training if I want to make these useful to me. Hubby knows all about these items, but since we got them in place just before he left, he hasn't had the chance to cross-train me.

My oldest child at age 10 knows how to do quite a bit of cooking, laundry, basic cleaning, learned to mow the lawn this year, etc.

We take quite a bit of time to try to train our children how to do things that are part of our day-to-day lives and as they grow and mature, we add to these things like archery skills, shooting sports and safe gun handling, livestock care, etc.

Some preppers have taken the time to prepare elaborate notebooks with instructions so any member of their family can pick up the notebook and have detailed instructions about a variety of necessary tasks.

We haven't done this yet, but I know it is a great idea and one I'll be working on throughout this fall. Most of us have lots of information in our heads that we know intimately, but if we needed a spouse, child, friend or neighbor to pick up in our stead, there might be a few or many bumps along the way without a written plan.

I realize some personality types would see this level of detailed instruction as a nightmare. But there is probably someone in your immediate prepper group who would see the value of this level of preparedness and would take on the task of getting at least your most critical instructions in writing.

So now you know what's on my mind for the weekend and beyond - feel free to share any ideas or thoughts you have about cross-training - have you done it already? is it on your "to do" list? how will you accomplish it? have you set up a notebook of instructions? We'd love to hear your ideas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the most consistently lacking category in prep is ENTERTAINMENT. You have to keep your mind fed as well as the body. Books, movies, whatever you can bootleg do so.

I also think boning up on basic car repair is a good bet. Hubby gone and wifey usually gets bitten hard at the mechanics shop because she doesn't know cars. Pretty common.

When I send my wife to get estimates on car repair my estimates are typically $300.00 cheaper!

Lastly recognize that one cannot do it all and that ones fortifications and preps are as good as can be made.

Don't forget to have plenty of meds on hand. Plenty means lots as in never ending supply.

All the best and keep prepping!

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