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resqman

Where does Be Prepared end and Overkill begin?

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Be Prepared means different things to different people. Some feel fine with only the clothes on their back and empty pockets while others feel naked when they only have a truck load of equipment and had to leave the trailer behind.

 

As a parent, I feel I need to be prepared to care for myself and handle at least one emergency for my spouse and kids. If we have multiple emergencies, then my supplies may not be able to cover all contingencies. What I take with me when I leave the house varies depending on expected time away, distance to be traveled, and planned participation in events.

 

I have tried to encourage my family to take a more active role in self preservation and pre-planing. Simple things like always throwing a jacket in the vehicle when leaving. If there is no need for it, it stays in the vehicle. But if we need it and don't have it, then our day could be challenging.

 

In another topic someone mentioned that everyone in a group going for an extended backpacking trip would have an item so there was no need for him to bring along one. While there are group supplies and personal supplies, I was suprised at what I felt was a personal item would be left behind.

 

Where does Be Prepared end and Overkill of supplies begin?

Do you have a Never Leave Home Without It list?

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I wear a belt sheath that holds my multi-tool, a mini-mag flashlight and a pen. I wear this every day, almost anywhere I go. If I am going somewhere that it would not be allowed, I leave it in the car. My cell phone goes with me pretty much everywhere.

 

Both cars contain water, blanket, jumper cables, and a decent 1st aid kit that stay in them all the time (water is refreshed every so often).

 

Does this prepare us for everything? No, but it is a lot more than most people will have in an emergency.

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My general rule of thumb is that I want to be able to survive the worst that is at all likely to happen.

 

I want to be able to manage the things I reasonably expect to have happen with a satisfactory degree of comfort.

 

That doesn't just apply to campouts, either. I manage my personal finances and such with much the same standards.

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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Almost any situation is different and may require more or less than your personal day Be Prepared kit.

 

Being prepared is not just having the tools you need to remedy the situation not only for yourself but for others in need, but also knowing how to control the situation. Just because you have it in your pack or car doesn't mean a thing unless you know how to actually use that piece of equipment. Also common sense plays a big part in determining if we need that equipment for camping, on a roadtrip, or going to watch a movie. Some say that it's "best to be safe than sorry".

 

Some will try to bring something to another event thinking that it's okay. Let's say a scout brings a pocketknife to school so he can be prepared. If his school is like the schools on this island, than knives are considered weapons. This would justify overkill on his part even though he wanted to be prepared. Just because you can do it, sometimes doesn't mean you should. In this case common sense went out the window and the scout ended up on a two week suspension and had to be voted in by a board to return to class or be expelled for the school year. Yes, this may be an extreme but I've met many in my travels of life who do something so similar. I was glad he was given a chance to return to class.

 

Let common sense dictate what you do. Every Life event is different. If brought it, fine, if not, then what are you to do to remedy your comfort or others.

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Excellent question. Is it overkill to have a battery charger in your vehicle? I happened to be on a campout with the pack this weekend. I had used my personal battery charger at work and it was in my vehicle when I left for camp. We had a problem with some equipment and thought that the 12 volt battery was low. Out came the charger and when it was hooked up the battery showed a full charge. We continued until we found a loose connection. OA ceremonial music at full volume up close inspires folks to move.

 

I usually carry a full three day kit in my vehicle. I work in Emergency Management and I teach Preparedness. I have taken some classes lately that have caused me to think about my kit. It might be prudent to add to what I have.

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I drive a 1960 Land Rover; you don't find many spare parts for it at your local Autozone, so on long trips I carry a box with some spare parts.

 

But you got to draw a line! The spare engine and gearbox stay at home. The old rotor and cap from last tune-up get carried as well as a set of points. A roll of Duct Tape and some tools. Some bolts and nuts.

 

But the most important thing that gets carried is the know-how to use the parts!

 

I also carry a fire extinguisher. Thankfully have never had to use it on my own vehicle, but has come in handy on others!

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I have to admit that being prepared for any old thing has always seemed like a tall order to me.

I did have to smile at the Emergency Plan our Jamboree Troop Scribe wrote for the Emergency Preparedness Award, he included snow and blizzards.

The document was well thought out and well done, I know the snow was there just to see if I took the time to read it.

Eamonn.

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Being prepared is a personal goal. What we are trying to teach the scouts is to think things through ahead of time and to prepare themselves personally for the tasks and challenges that lay ahead for them as individuals.

 

You cannot expect, nor should you try, to prepare yourself for what others may forget to do. You cannot be prepared for the responsibilities of everyone you may come in contact with during your life. You can only prepare yourself for what you are responsible for.

 

As an example with scouts and the clothing they should pack. My job is not to pack for them but to teach them how to pack. If they do not follow the advice or instructions given to them to pack rain gear then that is a result of their ill-preparedness not mine. Would I risk a scouts health by not giving him gloves if he came on a winter campout without them? Of course not, as a good leader I would make sure that someone checked the scouts for such essentials BEFORE we left not after. Any scout who came ill-prepared would need to find a solution before he joined us at camp. Making sure he is prepared is his responsibility, making sure he is safe is mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BW, You advocate personal responsibility for each individual but indicate you check each members gear before each event. Then you indicate that if a member forgot gear, you would provide them with adequate equipment. There seems to be a break down.

 

If you checked their gear, wouldn't you realize they did not pack the correct items. You claim you do not pack extra gear for others but then you provide them with proper gear if they don't have it. You claim it is their responsibility but you are checking their gear. It sounds like you propose one theory but live another. Can you clarify your statements?

 

Having worked as a public safety volunteer for the last decade or two, I am abundantly aware that you cannot have enough equipment to rescue everyone from everything all at the same time. Often it is a challenge to rescue one person from one thing with a squad of people and equipment. There are state and national minimun standards for what equipment a rescue squad should carry to be able to perform certain types of rescues. What we choose to carry beyond that is up to the individual squads.

 

I tend to overpack to be able to resolve problems that are beyond my own. This is combination of the Be Prepared Motto, years of rescue work, and being involved in Business Continiuty Planning as a job. I have seen firsthand how poorly prepared most people are for any kind of situation other than sitting in front of the TV.

 

The issue I struggle with is when is it too much? As a leader of boys and young men, parents are trusting me to ensure I return the boys safe and unharmed. I would rather give a boy a trash bag to use as a poncho than have to treat hypothermia. Also working with Cubs and Webelos, I want to ensure that they have a superior time so they will continue to want to participate. I let them struggle but also hopefully teach them ways to indentify solutions and implement resolutions before things degrade too far.

 

It has been said that the more you know, the less equipment you need to carry. I agree and have studied extensively to become a better outdoorsman. While I can build a sleeping platform from fallen timber and tree boughs, I prefer to sleep on my air mattress.

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I never leave home without my wallet, and a place to place it, a pocket and a pair of feet coverings. Other than that, it depends where I am going and what I am doing.

 

I just do not see how a pocketknife will make me any better prepared for Philmont.

Last year I hiked through Double H ranch, my pack was at 56 pounds.

This 50 year old ex?smoker could keep up with the scouts on the first part of the trip, but by the last couple of days, the mountains really got to me. My goal for Philmont is a pack under 40 pounds. I will not be carrying my wallet through Philmont. I was surprised that no one said anything about not having a flashlight on my list. We have a crew of 11 going. I say the crew only needs to carry 6 flashlights, one for each tent.

 

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Ok Dan --- I'll bite.

 

 

I don't care for the idea of one flashlight per tent.

 

On a backpack trip, my preferences would be one flashlight per person plus extra batteries and bulb. Two flashlights per person would be better.

 

If someone gets lost or separated from the group, how do you arrange for that person to be the one who's carrying the flashlight?

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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"In another topic someone mentioned that everyone in a group going for an extended backpacking trip would have an item so there was no need for him to bring along one. While there are group supplies and personal supplies, I was suprised at what I felt was a personal item would be left behind."

 

Let me back up Dan here. On many high adventure trips, Philmont included the crew becomes like one entity. This means that not every member of the crew needs to have all the same items (for example 10 people carrying 10 pocket knives, 10 tubes of toothpaste, 10 bottles of sunscrean, etc etc) Instead, the crew simply makes sure there is enough for the crew. So, one person carries a large tube of toothpaste, another carries a large bottle of sunscreen, another carries the TP. Pocketknives out in the wilderness lend to a degree of danger, even if the BSA safety measures are taken. If 2 or 3 guys, the crew leader, his assistant and an Adult advisor carry knives, the chance of injury resulting in evacuation and ruining a fun trip are greatly reduced. 2-3 knives are more then enough for whatever the crew may encounter, thus, the Crew is being prepared and the weight is both lightened and evenly distributed. If there is a crew photographer, not everyone needs to bring a camera. Because the buddy system is always strictly enforced, the number of compasses and maps decrease. One crew, one unit, functions as one.

 

Dan, what trek are you doing this summer? In 98, we only had one pack over 48 pounds.

 

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Seattle Pioneer

Have you ever carried a 50 pound backpack over mountains? I felt the same way as you, until I carried a 50+ pound pack for 6 days over a few mountains.

If I tried to carry an item for everything that might come up, my pack would weigh 300 pounds! Where should the line be drawn on be prepared vs overboard.

 

Dug

Last year was my first real backpacking trip, I used Philmont/Double Hs' guide on what to take, I took out lots of thing that they said where the minimum, and I still had lots stuff that never came out of the pack. We have 2 crews going this year one is doing trek 28 and the other is doing 26. At this time I am doing 28.

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"You claim you do not pack extra gear for others but then you provide them with proper gear if they don't have it."

 

You misread my post. I never said I gave them the proper gear. I said that I make sure they have the gear they need to be safe, or they do not go to camp until they get the gear.

 

 

 

 

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Sorry, Dan and Doug. In my view there is a big difference between skimping on toothpaste and skimping on a flashlight or knife.

 

And I've backpacked somewhere around 2500 miles, carrying 50 pound plus packs.

 

If someone can't carry or can't be trusted with essential equipment like a knife and flashlight, they don't belong in the backcountry, in my view.

 

I recall hiking out on a trail with a hunter for a couple of miles one evening. A reached a fork in the trail where I turned to head back into the backcountry again. He still had 2-3 miles to hike out on the trail, with no tent, tarp, sleeping bag or flashlight. Was he prepared?

 

I once got separated from someone I was backpacking with, and couldn't connect up with them again. I hiked back to our previous campsite and set up my tent and left gear for the night, and then hiked out to the cars, where my partner had found her way. The next day I hiked back in to recover my equipment.

 

It's always possible for someone to get separated or lost, and people should be prepared to survive the night without depending on other people. I posted earlier on what to take to be prepared ---I invite those who might disagree to reread that post.

 

A flashlight and knife are essential equipment in my view.

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

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