Testing Your Emergency Equipment


Practice ahead of time!

Virginia asked me to write this Advisory. It was prompted because of a blog post she read recently. Seems someone was trapped on his way home during Superstorm Sandy. By phone his wife reported the power was out and temperatures were dropping rapidly. He was proud and relieved to remind his wife that they had a back-up generator. The problem? His wife didn’t know how to turn it on!

Figure it out ahead of time.

Uhhh – confused?

This led us to take a look around our place at some of the emergency equipment we have to see what we really haven’t tested. Here’s my report.

Generator – Yes, we have a generator, a compact one, highly rated. It is still in the box and Virginia has never really seen it! (Two months ago our CERT organization set out to test its large new generator, and the starter did not function. So back it went to the store where we had bought it.)

Camp stove – Virginia and I have camped for years, both in tents (a LONG time ago) and in our RV, so we are familiar with propane stoves. The glitch – where are the gas canisters? And is there any trick to attaching them? If there is, we could waste a valuable resource trying to figure it out.

Water barrel – Last year we purchased a 55 gallon water barrel. (We wrote about our water barrel earlier.) It came with a pump to be inserted when the water is needed. OK, we haven’t needed the water yet. So, where is the pump, and how difficult is it to attach to the barrel? We haven’t tested it yet.

Solar panel back-ups for computers and phones – This one we’re good with. But if you have purchased panels yourself, be sure you have the right connectors that go between the panels and your device. Surely you have noticed that every mobile phone has a different plug on the end. Test NOW to be sure you have what it takes to take advantage of your solar back-ups.

Emergency radios – When we wrote the review of the best emergency radios, we tested all of our radios, so we know how to crank them, where the batteries go (if there are batteries), what connectors they require, etc. I recommend that you use your emergency radio daily. (It gets music or news, not just emergency alerts!) That way you’ll know it it’s ready to go.

How to Send a Text –– You may need grandchildren to help you out, here. But learn!

Turn on the Power — Again, something as simple as knowing where the fuse box is, and how to reset the switches, could make a difference. Everyone in your family needs to know this.

I think this list could go on. But the message is, “Test and practice.” Our plan is to set up a schedule to test one thing every week. You could set up the same action item — and include your children in the exercise. You won’t all be home when the emergency hits!

The more trained family members, the safer you’ll all be.


Joe Krueger
Emergency Response Team


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One Response

  1. Russ Flanigan