08:05 – Email from Jen. A couple months ago, she said she and her family intended to run another readiness exercise later in the year, when the weather was colder. Well, it’s later in the year, the weather is turning colder, and they’ve decided on a rather ambitious plan. They’re going to hold a four-day readiness exercise over the Thanksgiving weekend. Jen and her husband will participate, along with Jen’s brother and his family, for a total of six people. Prepper friends of Jen’s family that live about 30 miles from Jen will also participate: the husband and wife, their three young-adult sons, and their daughter-in-law, bringing the total to twelve people. They plan to do Thanksgiving dinner completely off-grid, using only their stored supplies and equipment. What could go wrong? They’ll find out, and Jen promises to report to me on the results. It sounds to me as though they’re planning the private equivalent of Operation Overlord.
It won’t be just a holiday get-together minus central heat, electric power, and other utilities. They’re going to simulate a serious disaster. The second family and Jen’s extended family have agreed to be evacuation destinations for each other, and they’re going to run it as a simulated evacuation, with the second family bugging out in multiple vehicles, carrying as much of their emergency supplies and kit as possible. The bell rings at 6:00 p.m. on that Wednesday evening. Until then, the second family will just be doing what they usually do on a normal day. At the stroke of six, the emergency evacuation commences, with hurried packing up of their vehicles and a convoy to Jen’s place. Bridges will be down and roads blocked (virtually speaking, of course), so the other family will have to use alternative routes. (They won’t know about what specific travel problems they’ll encounter until they’re actually on the road.) Once they arrive and unload, there will be various scenarios, including a medical emergency and an attack by ravening hordes of zombies. They’ll maintain a round-the-clock watch to spot any zombies before they attack, as well as a 24-hour radio watch. It all sounds like great fun, and I wish we were participating. I suspect they’ll all learn a lot.
As indeed they expect to. Jen says they’ll be taking copious notes on what goes right and, more importantly, what goes wrong. Once they’ve thought it through and talked it out, they intend to run another long-weekend readiness exercise, but this time with Jen and her extended family evacuating and the other family playing host.