Many of us do not take the time to plan for events in our lives that could affect us and our families adversely. On top of that, how many of us that have taken the time to exercise and flesh out the plans that we do have in place? I do not think there are many people who have never thought about what they would do in an emergency or catastrophe. That may be why some people bought large quantities of food, ammunition or other emergency provisions. Thinking about the world coming to an end may prompt people to read books about preparing for the end. It may prompt them to take classes to get into shape or defend themselves. The question is how much value does the training and preparing have without the semblance of an exercised plan?
I would argue that training and preparing have value in themselves, but the value is magnified many times with the presence of a plan, outline or guide. Those plans taken to the next level would be the practice, amending and updating to the plan that only experience can provide.
When we think about events that may happen we starting in a good place; picturing what might happen and how we would adjust. However, the lack of even rehearsed experience is necessary to understand what you might expect or what can and will happen when things get out of hand. A simple plan for you or your family can be put together in a matter of hours and will put you light years ahead of where you are without one. Exercising the plan with immediately provide you with insight on how to improve your plan.
Exercising the plan can seem intimidating and time consuming. However, there are a few ways to approach the exercise that may make things a little easier. You can put your plan into practice in two ways; tabletop and live action. In a tabletop method, the participant gather around and discuss what they would do, what their roles and so on given a scenario. As an example, your scenario could be an earthquake or hurricane (make sure the scenario has a fairly good possibility for where you live). Keep in mind, if you live in Wyoming for example the chances of experiencing a hurricane are relatively small. Just having the discussing will allow the actors and the planner to see things from different viewpoints and show flaws in the plan. Please note, uncovering flaws and weaknesses in your plan are great things! Finding and correcting flaws is essential to a good plan. After the discussion concludes take the time to update and amend your plan.
The second method, live action, allows the participants to go through the motions of the event guided by the plan. If instructions and unclear or missing people will guess or do what they think is best. Both provide numerous opportunities to improve upon what you have created. Take it from anyone who has created and exercised their plan; there is no limit to how creative people can be with the lack of guidance. Also take note, live action drills do not have to be performed monthly or even every other month. Twice a year is good place to start if you can manage it. Having a tabletop meeting between the two live action drills will be great to supplement the plan.
Training and preparing is great. Thinking about problems is also good. However, there is no substitute for the guidance and experience the plan as well as the exercises will bring, you will be better off for it.