*Exercising Your Plan*
By: Stormhunter
20 October 2004

You have assessed the threats that can pose a hazard to your area and planned accordingly. You have written down your plan in checklist form so you family can execute your response plan if you are not there –now what?

“Facta Non-Verba” means rubies DO. We test, we fix and we do again. OK –so how do I test my plan? I can’t bug out right now or bunker down for an extended period of time so what do you mean –test my plan.

There are several different ways to exercise your plan. They range from talking about your plan to a full scale, “rubied up” execution. Before you do the full up execution, I would suggest you use the “crawl-walk-run” analogy the military uses. What that means is you learn the task (and everyone on your team); walk thru the task until everyone can do it –then you execute the tasks under likely conditions you might face (at night, in bad weather, wearing your gear etc).

The simplest way to test your plan- is to talk everyone through the tasks that have to be done and when they have to be done. It could literally be sitting around the kitchen table talking to your family about what to do if a tornado strikes or we get with a terrorist attack again. This could also be talking about where the BOG is located or where the other supplies are located.

The next level of exercising your plan could be showing the family/team how to do certain tasks. How to shut off the power, kennel the pets, load the BOV, use the fire extinguisher, talk on a radio etc. After everyone knows how to do their individual tasks you can turn towards exercising the family/team as a whole.

If your plan is written down in checklist form you have an outline for your next exercise. You can gather your family and say “OK, what do we do if terrorists attack the US again and we are all at home?” You then carefully and slowly walk thru everyone’s tasks in order. You keep at this until everyone is comfortable on what to do. You can then start to vary the situation like what to do if the kids are at school, you are at work and the wife is home.

The higher end of exercising your plan is doing it a real time and under different conditions. The first time might be in broad daylight on a Saturday morning of a long weekend. You give everyone the signal for whatever you want to exercise-like react to a WMD attack on the US. Everyone, upon hearing the signal –grabs the gear, establishes the saferoom, grabs the pets etc. You stay in your saferoom for a day or so. You continue to do a full up exercise under different likely conditions-for a longer time, or a night etc.

One of the most important parts of any exercise is the after action review-or what went right, what went wrong and how can we make it better. Do this with everyone involved in the exercise. Take notes, assign action items to folks to fix any problems and follow up. After time has been spent fixing any problems you exercise again.

On a final note-your exercises have to go beyond just talking and must include doing. If you are going to bug out-when was the last time you loaded your BOV? Or tried your alternate power, or carried your BOG? You get the idea.

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