December is a great time for preppers and survivalists to do all those things we need to do only occasionally, and therefore are easy to forget to do. So, end the year right by accomplishing the following to do list, and get 2018 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 of rubbing alcohol will typically have about a two-year self life 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 in flashlights or radios sitting in your bug-out bag, a toolbox, or the glove compartment of your car. I personally have lost more than one seldom used flashlight over the years due to the battery going dead and corroding for weeks or months before I realized it.
Need batteries? I use and recommend AmazonBasics Performance Alkaline Batteries. Not only are these batteries at a great price, but they are especially designed for long-term storage (10-years).
▢ Change the batteries in your smoke/fire alarms if you haven’t changed them recently. Better to “waste” a good battery by changing it too soon, then for it to be dead when you really need it.
▢ Inspect your bug-out vehicle. Is it time for an oil change? How do the tires look? Are all the headlights, taillights, and turn signals working? Be sure to inspect the brakes. For more on auto maintenance, see my article: Preppers’ Auto Maintenance Schedule.
▢ 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 with this in the past, as ALL of my Ozark Trail 6-gallon water jugs developed slow leaks (I wrote up my bad experience back in August of 2016).
▢ Check your food storage. Make sure your rotation plan is working and you don’t have any expired food. Make sure all canned foods are 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 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, and 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.
▢ Review your finances – The end of the year is a great time to review your finances, especially in light of any changes in your circumstances (raises, promotions, job loss or change, births, deaths, marriages, illnesses, unexpected expenses, life-stage changes, etc.) over the past year. Have your needs for insurance (auto, property, life, medical, etc.) changed? How goes the retirement savings? It is also a good time to reconsider your monthly budget and make any needed adjustments. For more on personal finances. see my article Prepping 101: Finances – Get Back to Basics.