Everyone makes mistakes; but when it’s a matter of life or death a small mistake can be a costly, sometimes fatal error. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the world of prepping, especially when you are just getting started, but steering clear of a few common pitfalls will help new and experiencer preppers alike.
Don’t Prepare for Only One Kind of Event
It makes a lot of sense that places that have higher risks of certain events or disasters are prepared for what is likely to happen around them. It is understandable a person in a mountainous area having different supplies than someone who lives in a coastal region, however a true prepper cannot be taken off guard by any situation that is presented to them. Take for example how just last year horrible ice and snow gripped southern cities like Atlanta, creating havoc and leaving thousands of people stranded. Sure this is not a dire, end of the world situation, but it illustrates a powerful point. You need to be prepared for any kind of event, no matter where you live.
Don’t Prep for a Single Date or Event
For most of us, we began prepping as a response to something happening in the outside world. Whether it is a natural disaster, a financial crisis, a massive power outage, or whatever it may be, these events are usually what trigger people to begin considering their own preparedness. However, there are dangers in keeping your prepping perspective in such a narrow scope.
When people begin prepping as a response to a single event you can often find them becoming disillusioned with prepping in general. For instance, if you began prepping for the end of the world in 2012, perhaps you looked at the money you spent as wasteful when the day came and went with no major catastrophe. In fact, in response to other events like Y2K and the end of the Mayan calendar, some people, who are not serious preppers, will either give up, or relinquish their supplies to the highest bidder. That is why as a prepper you cannot prepare for only one single event, you have to be prepared no matter what the situation.
Don’t Show off Your Prepping Supplies
Most preppers already know about practicing operational security, and keep the discussion of their supplies vague, or non-existent if possible. Everyone wants to be a good neighbor and help their fellow man, but no one need to have hordes of folks on your doorstep in a SHTF scenario. Sure you’re proud and it sounds great to say you’ve got food stored up, weapons and ammo and all the supplies you would need to last for years if the grid goes down, but face it… that is just inviting trouble.
In desperate times, people, even the people you think you know, can act out of basic need alone. Bragging about your supply or showing off your stockpile only invites an additional risk you and your family cannot afford.
What you can do is share your knowledge and expertise with the friends you trust now, and encourage them to build up their own supplies for a worst case scenario. Just remember, to keep your own prepping business to yourself and your own family.
Don’t Plan to Become a Criminal
Most true preppers would never plan to engage in criminal behavior, but in a SHTF scenario you can understand why some people would consider a life of crime. Many of us have sat around with our friend and discussed what we would do if there were no cops if there were no rules. However, in reality, those who truly consider this behavior are not helping themselves or others trying to survive in a different and potentially dangerous world.
The truth is, most preppers– the honest ones, have prepared for those planning to make their way by using force. It’s not so easy to take from the survivors, who are already ready and willing to defend their supplies for the good of their own family. Rather than planning to take up your gun and go the criminal way, it makes much more sense to just begin preparing now in a way that will not require force, unless you are forced to defend yourself.
Don’t Believe Owning a Gun is All You Need
Defense is a major aspect of being prepared, but just owning a gun is not all you need. Just because you have a gun, does not mean you know how to shoot it, especially in a high-pressure situation. Guns are an important tool in your goal of preparedness, but you must afford yourself training and acquire the skill to use a gun in a stressful situation.
The most important thing is consistency. We lose touch when we are out of practice. Go to the range regularly, set up a schedule so you do not lose your edge. Consider signing up for classes if they offer them, and put yourself in different shooting scenarios; let’s face it, you probably are not going to get attacked by a paper target, so do just practice shooting those. Place yourself in different scenarios and bolster your skills; this training could be the difference that saves your life in a high pressure, survival situation.
Don’t forget other forms of defense as well. Training in defensive or martial arts, or just staying in shape in general, could also be a deciding factor in your ability to stay safe and alive in a harmful or violent situation.
Don’t Think Your Home is Safe Enough
The truth is the majority of us just don’t live in defendable structures anymore. Most of us live near cities, or at least very close to organized civilization. If a SHTF scenario happens and violence breaks out as a response, you will very likely not be able to defend your home against what could be an overwhelming determined force. You may consider improving your chance of survival by creating a neighborhood defense plan with your fellow neighbors, or close by family.
It’s also important, if possible, to map out your plan B. If you home becomes compromised or unsafe, you might need an escape plan. Think of where you next step might take you if you cannot defend your home anymore. In this, it is probably best to even have a plan C and plan D, but either way you look at it, you cannot take your home as a safe place for granted.
Don’t Prep Alone
Prepping is most effective when you have a team of people moving toward a common goal. That is why successful preppers often make it a family affair. This way everyone in your family knows how to act in a survival situation. There is no need to scare the kids, but keeping the whole family on the same page about your survival plans makes it much easier to act when a true crisis arises.
Don’t Become Overwhelmed
There are some preppers with spreadsheets and projections, lists and alphabetized inventories and that is great for those who have unlimited time and resources. However, for many seeing that kind of massive collection and organization only scares and overwhelms them, especially as they are just getting started in the world of prepping. That is why starting slow and taking basic steps is one way to avoid making mistakes because you are overwhelmed. Consider your five basic needs: water, food, emergency essentials, technology needs and economic means. Then start by getting all the supplies you need for one month. It will grow from there. If you don’t have a lot of money don’t worry, anything you are able to acquire now will still be far better than not being prepared at all.
Avoiding these basic pitfalls is important for preppers of all levels of experience. However, the most important thing to remember is anything you do now, no matter how small, will help you and your family later. Begin taking steps to today to keep your family safe tomorrow.