Testing Gear

Like many of my readers, I have a safe full of guns that I use for all sorts of ordinary, everyday purposes (mostly recreational shooting). I consider such ordinary uses to be effective tests of these guns for emergency purposes. What better (or more fun!) way to make sure your emergency gear is in a constant state of readiness than to test it regularly? Better to have a part break at the range when you have the time and resources to replace it than in the middle of an emergency when one cannot order replacements. (You do have spare parts for your guns, right?)
But how often do you test the rest of your gear?
I keep a Grundig FR-200 emergency radio in my emergency kit. It’s a handy little thing that runs on 3 AA batteries, but also has a DC input and a hand-crank that charges a small internal battery back. Every month or two, I take it out of its pouch, inspect the various parts (antenna and battery contacts, in particular) to make sure they’re in good working order, clean it as necessary, test the batteries, crank it for a few minutes and make sure that it’ll run off the battery pack for a while.
I do something similar with my Garmin eTrex GPS unit to make sure it’s ready to go.
Canned food, as great as it is, won’t keep forever. I’ll go through my closet now and again to ensure that stuff is getting rotated out and replaced as need be.
Being prepared for an emergency is a good thing, but be sure that your gear hasn’t given out on you when you’ve not been paying attention. Regular testing and maintenance can keep your stuff in good working order when you need it most.
How long has it been since you last checked your radio, flashlight, or canned food?

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