*The Survival Test*
By Gadget

     This was in a folder that I found among some books as I was straightening up my bookcase.  Since we all like to practice, try this one on for size.  (The author is unknown.)

     The one factor that no one can anticipate is how their family will react to conditions after the crash.  No matter how well you have prepared yourself physically, you don't know how you or you family will react mentally to survival conditions.  The only way to simulate conditions after the crash is the Survival Test.  The Test is preferably done at the retreat though it is possible in your home.  To implement the test, you must do the following:

1. Cut off all utilities without warning.  If you have a generator or other power source, switch over to it.

2. Cut off all contact with the outside world.  Stop all newspapers and all deliveries.  Do not leave your home or retreat for any reason.

3. Replace regular radio and TV broadcasts with you own prerecorded messages telling of the dreadful events expected in the style of a news broadcast.  It will be very effective to have someone else record these for you, as a strange voice will add realism.  Play these messages over your stereo or radio.

4. Use only those things you have on hand at you home or retreat.  You must not borrow anything from you neighbors.  If you don't have it, do without or improvise.

5. Post guards and activate any plans you will use when the real thing happens.

6. With your water off, you must wash and use toilet facilities with stored water only.

7. Emergency lighting only.  Remember that blackout conditions apply at night.  Any visible light may attract looters and other rabble prowling the streets.

8. If you have a fallout shelter, remain in it except for the shortest possible periods.  This is the way it would be if fallout were present.

9. Family members who become ill must be treated at home (unless it is a serious medical emergency).  After the crash, not many doctors will be making house calls.

10. If you have livestock or pets, they must be confined in the sheltered area.  In a nuclear exchange, they would all die if left exposed.

11. The phone should be disconnected or left off the receiver.  One accidental contact with the outside world will blow the whole test.

12. List everything that you use.  Your actual consumption levels may greatly exceed your estimated.

13. Keep all weapons loaded and ready.  All other equipment must also be ready for use.

14. After the test has been going on for a while, some family members will complain that the test has gone far enough.  Make a note of who complained, when and why.  Do this in secret so they will not change their behavior.  You must know in advance who can take the stress and who can't.  This technique can avoid real problems when the crunch comes.

15. Don't give in to any complaint if you would not be able to after the crash.  If little Joey screams that is out of toilet paper and wants to walk down the street to buy more, refuse him and give him a corn cob.  If you give in once, discipline will collapse and you'll be finished.

16. Don't allow drugs or drinking.  No ifs, ands, or buts on this.  If you find that Junior has a stash of Acapulco Gold and reality doesn't seem so bad to him, yank the stash and destroy it.  You can't afford any airheads in you organization.

17. Tell everyone that the test will last about one week.  On the 6th or 7th day, a special message from you cassette recorder will suddenly announce that lethal levels of radiation are expected in your area and no one can emerge for another week.  This may sound cruel but it could really happen.

18. The test should end after 10-15 days and be followed by a group discussion as soon as possible thereafter. Immediately after the test, the facts will still be fresh in everyone's mind.  Any problems encountered should be discussed, analyzed and corrected at once.  You must remember that the primary purpose of this test is to duplicate conditions after the crash.  The harsher the test, the better your chances of survival during the real thing.

    Many people will consider this test foolish and unnecessary.  If you think this, you must also believe that the basic training soldiers receive at boot camp serves no purpose.  Nothing is more important than how you group reacts to stress.  If just one group member goes crazy at the wrong time during a real crisis, everyone in the group might be doomed to a horrible death.

    Children will usually complain the most.  They will regard the test as a great adventure for the first few days but after that their nerves will wear thin and they will become restless and bored.  Needless to say, an unhappy child also puts a strain on the parents.  Provide for your children's amusement and remember that now matter how bad the test may be, a real disaster can only be worse.

     If you test is a failure and the group can't take the strain for more that a few days, increase the time gradually until you can remain sheltered for the full 15 days.  Summer is the best time for the test as children and adults alike are more likely to have free time.  It is wise to inform the members of your group that such a test will be conducted several weeks in advance.  One warning, however must suffice.  The test itself must be sprung on the group suddenly and without warning.  The best way to accomplish this is to have the test sprung on you as well.  Ask a friend not involved in your group to call you any time between, say, July 10 and July 15.  Tell him or her to call any hour of the day or night in the allotted period and say only two words to you-It's Time.  Once you have the message, you will contact all other members of your family or retreat group and tell them the news.  In this way, the test will take everyone by surprise, including you.  You can't ask for more realism than that.  Good luck and don't expect miracles the first time out.  They won't happen unless you make them.

    As you can see, the idea is to TRAIN.  Make it realistic.  Make it hard.  There are many gaps in this and you can change it to suit your situation and team.  Good luck and good training.


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