Part of being an advocate for preparedness means we support organizations that help people in times of crisis. And for me, that means supporting the Central Texas Food Bank.
Kendel and I are once again part of the host team that rents out award winning Franklin BBQ to put on the Skip The Line For Hunger event to support the Food Bank. Rather than stand in line for hours to eat some of the best BBQ on the planet, you can be a part of a limited seating audience and consume all of the BBQ and beer you want.
This event runs from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM on Tuesday, February 20. We'll also have a live auction - with yours truly serving as auctioneer - with a number great items for you to bid on. KR Training has graciously agreed once again to donate certificates good for training at their firearms classes as part of this event.
We hope you will join us for the event. Click here to get your tickets!
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.
This weekend, Karl Rehn of KR Training and I held our annual prepper training weekend event, normally scheduled for the first full weekend after January 1.
This year's event deviated dramatically from the past five years. First, we moved from our usual venue - the Cabela's outdoor store in Buda, Texas - to Karl's facility near Lincoln. This enabled us to have training in the classroom as well as the range. We also expanded the event to two days, which enabled us to cover much more material than we normally would have.
The new format seemed to really go over well with attendees. Most of them had never attended the Cabela's events before (of 14 attendees, only three had previously joined us at Cabela's.)
Here are some notes on some selected parts of the presentations I did:
In addition, Karl taught two mornings on the range. We gave students the option of classroom training or range training during the morning session. Karl covered fundamentals on Saturday morning, progressing to shooting from cover and armed movement in structures. The Sunday morning range session had students conducting team tactics - something most shooting programs don't stress. In an emergency, you may not only be trying to stop the threat - you may have to coordinate the movements of friends and family who are with you.
Some overall thoughts:
Karl and I are already working on some advanced preparedness training opportunities for this summer and beyond. I have some ideas on where we need to go next, and the participants offered some good suggestions as well.
Make 2018 the year you get better prepared.
Here's where I tell you what I think about things I think about.