Every emergency situation has the opportunity to be a learning experience. I don’t care if you’ve planned for the situation well, if you’ve gone through a similar situation before, or if you’re more prepared than 99% of the population would have been – each and every time you go through an emergency situation, when it’s over, you should time to look back and assess to see what can be improved for next time.
How do you do something like this? Run back through the events of the emergency situation in your mind. Ask yourself a series of questions, all related to improving your situation were it to happen again another time. Then implement, as quickly as possible and if it’s feasible and affordable at the moment. Because there’s no time like right after an emergency has struck to motivate you to be more prepared. Use that motivation to your advantage.
7 Things To Do Immediately After an Emergency Situation Is Over
1. Ask yourself if what the most difficult part of the emergency was.
Usually, an emergency situation is quite complex and there are many aspects to it that could possibly make it difficult. In our experience with a 5 day power outage in the Toronto winter a few years back, for example, the worst and most difficult aspect was dealing with the cold. Food was a secondary issue, though realistically, it was less of an issue and more of a mild discomfort since we did have enough food stockpiled, but we preferred to have warm food to help us keep warm (and we didn’t have a quick and easy way to heat up our food). We ate no-heat-necessary canned foods, sandwiches, and anything else that was left in our fridge, which was fine. Nothing like our discomfort from the lack of heating since we were very ill prepared for that.
After an emergency situation is over, figure out what the most difficult part of the emergency situation was and concentrate your efforts on fixing that in advance of the same emergency repeating itself. How is a matter of the following questions…
2. Ask yourself if there was anything specific you could have done differently that would have made the emergency easier.
Could you have learned a new skill? Simply have had something in the back of your trunk instead of at home? What could’ve made the emergency situation easier if you’d have just done it in advance? Go do it now. Teach yourself now. Move things around now. Use your desire not to go through such a difficult situation again as motivational fuel.
3. Ask yourself what you could have had that would have made the emergency situation easier.
Usually, this isn’t a tricky question. In hindsight, it’s obvious what could’ve made an emergency easier if you’d only bought the items beforehand.
When it came to the power outage experience Thomas and I had, things that would’ve made our lives easier during the emergency situation quite honestly were things we were planning on buying, but slacked on. Yup, it’s totally possible to be caught off guard with an emergency, even when you’re serious about prepping. Don’t worry about it, though. Cut your losses, take the lesson at face value, and grab the opportunity to be more prepared for next time.
4. Write down a physical list of the items that would’ve come in handy.
I’d advise jotting down a physical list of all the things you think would’ve helped you if you’d had them for this past emergency. I did this after our own emergency situation, putting together a list of winter emergency supplies we would’ve been grateful to have had on us. Some things on that list I already had, but a lot of them I didn’t, and it would’ve been silly to wait to make that list because right after the emergency situation happened, all the things I could’ve used were still fresh in my mind.
5. Prioritize this list of items that would’ve helped you out.
Let the emergency rearrange your priorities. Rearrange the list in order of items that would really have helped you out more if you got them before the emergency to those that would have been helpful, but not particularly necessary.
6. Get the items that would have been most helpful right away. Don’t hesitate.
Just gun for the purchases straight away. You will never feel more urgency than immediately after a difficult experience to prevent another difficult experience from happening. Use that motivation to make sure you’re more prepared next time – just bite the bullet and buy the items that really would’ve made a huge difference. Of course don’t dwindle down your emergency fund, but if you can comfortably afford them, buy them. There is no point in waiting if they’re important.
For those items that aren’t as important, you have them in a list now and so you won’t forget about buying them eventually, and can take your time working away at buying the items on that list throughout the months/years that follow. Many of the “extra” items will be redundancies, which is a good thing, but not as necessary as those few items at the top of the list that would be most helpful.
7. Ask yourself what the ideal situation would have been, and how close you are to it.
Early this year, I did this kind of a thought experiment myself when I wrote up an article about staying warm indoors when the power’s out and it’s freezing outside. 100% one of the best ways I have discovered to reflect on an emergency situation.
What I thought up as a perfect resolution to my power-outage-in-Toronto-winter emergency situation:
9. Build a brick room-sized shed/garage separate from the house and put a fireplace there along with a gas cooker.
You know how comfortable you’ll be there? Our neighbours back in Toronto have this kind of a setup and so when the power went out, Thomas and I quite literally spent every morning and afternoon with them, enjoying our time sitting around the fire chatting away, before sadly hopping off to our cold home for nighttime.
Make sure you build this place large enough that you’ll be able to throw everyone in the family comfortably in at night, and you’ll literally be happy as clams throughout the outage. Obviously, again, make sure to practice fire safety (nothing flammable near the fire, good ventilation at all times, and make sure someone’s up whenever the fire’s going), but pretty much, with as much wood as you can get stockpiled, you’ll be cozy no matter how long the power outage lasts. You’re set as long as you’ve got firewood for the fireplace and enough gas for your cooker.
Living the high life during a winter emergency this is.
Now that I knew what the ideal was, even though I couldn’t quite yet afford it, I knew what my end-goal was, and from a prepping perspective, knowing this meant I knew how to invest my money when I had it in a way that wouldn’t be wasteful.
What Other Steps Should Be Taken After an Emergency Situation Is Over?
Can you think of any additional things preppers should be doing after an emergency has taken place and ended?
What kinds of reassessments have you made after having gone through an emergency situation yourself? Do these types of situations make you re-structure your preps?
Let me know in the comments down below!