In some circumstances, mistakes have tragic consequences. There are no do over’s in some cases, and the famous line, “the more you sweat in peacetime the less you bleed in war”(sun Tzu) can be applied to prepping. You not only need the proper supplies and equipment, you need knowledge, certain skill sets and real time experience before disaster strikes. Simply reading about it and gathering supplies is not enough. In other words, you have to practice, and apply your skills. Learn how to properly use your equipment and get your mind and body ready so when disaster does strike you are less likely to make mistakes that have serious consequences.
While not specifically stated as such the quote above may be from sun Tzu the art of war and in some other references the source is listed as “anonymous Chinese proverbs”
Mistake Number 1
The number one mistake preppers make is focusing all their time and resources preparing for a single event.
Multiple events can occur that are not related to what someone may be preparing for. Prepping is about surviving any situation and not just one thing. Given the state of the world today, you could end up dealing with multiple threats over extended periods and this includes natural disasters such as meteoroid/comet strike or massive volcanic eruptions. Emergency supplies are not “crisis specific”. Focus on what will always be needed regardless of the crisis.
You have watched the realities shows that follow preppers, which are individuals and families, as they prepare for disasters. The shows typically depict the preppers preparing for a specific crisis. While it is understood that preparing for a nuclear catastrophe makes for good television it may not always be the most practical way for you to prepare.
You as a prepper would invest considerable finances into the equipment, supplies and tools needed just to survive a nuclear incident. You survived the initial blast, and then what happens? You still have to survive the days after and this is where true survival skills come into play.
The facts are regardless of how well prepared you are, if you are close enough to the blast area you will not survive it. If you are far enough away, you can survive without any special equipment or supplies. It is the area in between then that is the concern. Therefore, you must do a threat assessment to determine if you should prepare for this type of crisis and if you feel you do not fall “in between”, focus on disaster preparedness in general.
Mistake Number 2
Individuals and families tend to put all of their supplies and faith in one basket if you will.
People have literally built fortresses and have stockpiled year’s worth of supplies in one place. They may be convinced that no matter what happens they can shelter in place. They may have put to much faith in their own preparedness because a single event can force them from their location. There is only so much you can carry with you, so what happens to the supplies left behind.
You need supplies and in practical terms, you can never have too much but you must always plan for evacuation so caching supplies should be a part of any preparedness planning. Spread your supplies out by having various caches around the area and have an alternative living location in mind as well. Gain knowledge that will allow you to survive away from your home.
Mistake Number 3
Gathering what you think is needed and not knowing why you really need it
Knowing why you need the supplies, tools and materials is as important as the supplies themselves in some cases. Some people may research the Internet to figure out what they need and run across articles that state you must have this and that and never really tell you why something is needed. Ask yourself why is a particular item needed and is someone simply trying to sell you something by recommending it.
Before purchasing anything look around your home and you may find you already have that item or have something that is a substitute for it.
Mistake Number 4
Becoming complacent because you think you know it all
Technology has done wonderful things for humankind but maybe it has made us all a little bit lazier as well. Who has watched a video online about fire starting? Are you now convinced you can start a fire using pocket lint and a bottle of water, without ever getting up from the chair?
Gain knowledge, then apply that knowledge, and never be in a position where you have to try to start a fire with pocket lint and bottled water. This means you have to experiment with different techniques in a controlled environment where mistakes are a teachable moment and do not have tragic consequences. Once you have practiced and applied your knowledge gather the materials, tools and equipment needed that work for you, and keep in mind they may not work for everyone. Come into your own knowledge by doing.
Mistake Number 5
Talking too much about your plans to possibly the wrong people
You have heard the saying loose lips sink ships (taken from a pamphlet distributed in World War II). This means that telling to many people or the wrong person your plans may have serious consequences during a disaster. On one hand, you want to be able to help others and to share the knowledge and skills you are acquiring. On the other hand, you are setting yourself up as a target because too many people will know where to go for help, and some may ask and others may simply take.
Preppers are a community and all are willing share with others. Preppers will encourage others to start preparing and will offer support and information. You have to realize however that the ones that are preppers will not be a concern or threat to you during a disaster. The ones that halfheartedly started preparing because it seemed the thing to do and because you may have pressured them somewhat will be the concern. Their hearts will not be in it, they may have gathered a few supplies but have no idea how to use many of the items and will soon deplete what food and water they have. They had prepared but they were not prepared. Your biggest threat aside from the crisis itself will come from citizens that live in your community.
Mistake Number 6
Not keeping a close watch on your supplies
How long have those canned goods been sitting on the shelf? Are the grains you have packaged up free from weevils that may have bored through the package? Are the water bottles getting a little brittle to the touch? You will not have the answers to any of these questions unless you inspect your supplies.
You should inventory on a regular basis. Use and then replace any food items that may be close to expiration. Canned goods are usually only good for one year from date of purchase. Medical supplies and medications will have expiration dates. You certainly do not want to find out that your supplies are no good after disaster strikes.
Mistake Number 7
Becoming too dependent up your equipment, tools and materials
Equipment breaks downs, tools break and supplies run out. Does this mean you stop surviving then? It means you should have a backup plan for your backup plans. Know more than one way to do something such as water filtration and purification. Have the tools and knowledge to dig a shallow well for emergency purpose for example. Do not rely on any one tool or piece of equipment to much. Assume, things will malfunction and break, and if you go into it thinking this way, you will have a plan for when things do malfunction and break.
PREP NOW-PREP HARD