The last few weeks of the year is a great time for preppers to do all those things we need to do only occasionally, and therefore is easy to forget to do. So, end the year right by accomplishing the following to do list, and get 2017 off to a great start!
▢ Check all medications and first aid supplies, both for expiration dates and to replace any supplies that you have used up during the year. Also, consider if your first aid or medical needs have changed (new additions to the family, new illnesses or health concerns, etc.) and adjust accordingly. (Click here for first aid supplies on Amazon.)
Two things some folks might not realize: Aspirin does expire and becomes dangerous. If your aspirin has a very strong vinegar-like odor, it has gone bad and is toxic. Also, rubbing (Isopropyl) alcohol will oxidize over time into acetone and become ineffective against germs. A bottle will typically have about a two-year self life, more or less, depending on storage conditions.
▢ Check all batteries to make sure they are okay. This means all stored batteries to make sure none are starting to corrode or leak. It also means all batteries currently "in use" to make sure they are still working. It is especially important to check the batteries in gear that you don't frequently use, such as flashlights sitting in your bug-out bag, a seldom-used toolbox, or the glove compartment of your car.
Need batteries? I recommend and use AmazonBasics Performance Alkaline Batteries. Not only are these batteries at a great price, but they are especially designed for long-term storage (10-years).
▢ Check and change your water storage if you haven't done so recently. Also, check to make sure your water storage containers don't have any slow leaks. I had trouble this earlier in year, as ALL my Ozark Trail 6-gallon water jugs developed slow leaks (I wrote up my bad experience back in August).
▢ Check your food storage. Make sure your rotation plan is working and you don't have any expired food. Make sure all canned food is not swelling or leaking. Check dry foods for signs of mold or infestation. Replace any food storage that you're running low on...
▢ Do a home safety inspection. Better yet, if you know a boy or girl scout, have them do a home safety inspection for you (they have to learn how for various merit badges). Check for fire hazards, tripping hazards, poisonous or toxic materials that aren't stored properly, overloaded outlets, frayed electrical cords, expired fire extinguishers, non-functioning smoke detectors, and so forth...
▢ Re-think your emergency and preparedness plans. Has anything about your situation changed in the last year that will require altering your plans such as new family members (births, marriages), deaths, illnesses or disabilities, job changes, school changes, moves, or changes in your current community or bug-out location. Also, update your contact lists - people move, phone numbers change, and email changes even more often.
Check out my recent article on Special Needs Preppping. There are a lot of folks with special needs - the mentally or physically handicapped, the elderly, the disabled, people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, babies, and very young children, just to name a few. In fact, most families/groups are likely to have one or more people with special needs of some sort.Make sure you are addressing those needs!
▢ Review your emergency and preparedness plans with everyone in your family or group. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what to do, when.
▢ Re-think your EDC. How has the gear you carry everyday worked out for you? Are you carrying unneeded gear? What gear are you actually using? Have you needed something you didn't have? Now is a great time to make any needed changes to your EDC. You may be interested in checking out my article My Most Often Used EDC Items.