Often in the first responder/emergency response community, we hear of reports and analyses of lessons learned and weaknesses identified after a training exercise or actual emergency. These are often referred to as an after action review or AAR.
I find AARs quite helpful, not only for formal training and actual events, but even for smaller happenings in our lives. Memorializing the lessons we learn from various things that happen in our lives - the car battery dies at an inconvenient time, getting stuck in an airport overnight, your kid leaves the water running in the bathtub for too long - help us identify ways to prevent such things from happening again.
As the winter weather approached Texas from the Rockies and Northern Plains a few days ago, I began my planning in earnest, knowing that I'd be doing an AAR on my efforts once the storm passed. I thought I'd share this AAR with you with the hopes that a) you'll get something out of what I did and learned and b) you'll consider doing AARs in your various efforts at home and work as well.
First things first: since we live in a new house (built by us and occupied since May 2017), we had no checklist of what to do in the event of a pending ice storm. I began formulating a check list to memorialize the various things I did in anticipation of being iced in for a couple of days. (I'm posting a draft of that checklist below, with the caveat that a) it's a draft and b) I will likely be amending it in the days to come).
I'm a big believer in checklists. My sister in law gave me The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande for Christmas. A prepper friend recommended the book this fall, and so I am looking forward to reading it this weekend. Checklists are great, especially when you are trying to get your house ready for a severe weather event in short order. I made a similar checklist as Hurricane Harvey approached the Texas coast.
Things I did not have on hand (and had to purchase):
Things we did well:
Things were we learned lessons or could improve upon:
At this point, many people would say, "Paul....enough with the lists and the analysis of what you did and didn't do." And that's fine - we all learn in different ways. For me, being able to streamline the process and do things thoroughly are priorities. This is the best way I have found to do that.
Here's where I tell you what I think about things I think about.