Being prepared is something that every single American really needs to be doing. There are approximately three hundred sixteen million people living in the United States today, and according to Google, about three million Americans consider themselves to be preppers. This probably doesn’t include those who have never visited any preppers websites, and those who just have continued to live that way, because that is all they know. However with an increasing number of Americans finally catching on to the fact that something isn’t quite right in this once great nation of ours.
We thought it would be equally important to think about some of the areas of prepping that people can make mistakes with. I myself have been guilty of more than one item on this list, how about you? Take a look at our list, and see how you measure up.
1. False sense of security
With so much in the news today about guns, gun regulation, and new laws aimed at disarming us, more people than ever are buying guns, ammunition and the like. But just because you have a gun, do you know how to use it? Have you trained how to use it? And if you have, are you prepared to use it on another human being? It’s one thing to think you can, but it is a completely different thing to be staring into the eyes of another person and really know yes, you are prepared to take their life. Just because you have a gun, or any other weapon, does not mean you are secure or safe. You need to have the training, and experience to go along with it.
And it isn’t just related to guns and security. You have food, ok a lot of food. But how long will that food really last? Have you thought about that? And what happens when the food runs out? What will you do? These are things you need to think about, and have a plan for. That is what prepping is all about, being prepared, but it is also about knowing your limitations. If something can go wrong it usually will. Keep that in mind when you are prepping.
2. Not being prepared for the right situations
Unfortunately reality T.V. has pointed this out. Finding people that are planning for such catastrophic events as a complete reversal of the North and South Pole, and those who are planning for a huge asteroid to land in the Pacific Ocean, or the Madrid Fault opening up. Now don’t get me wrong, those are all possible events that could happen. However, there are many other more regional situations that take place every single day that require people to be prepared. If you live in an area prone to flooding, then that is something you should seriously be preparing for. The same goes for tornadoes, and hurricanes. In our area, devastating wild fires passed uncomfortably close to our home. So for our family, planning for an EMP is not at the top of my list, but protecting my home against wild fires is. Know your area and the potential situations that you will find yourself in, and plan for it. You can always plan for the zombie apocalypse, but it would be to your advantage to prepare for what happens in your own backyard.
I have to add that being prepared for the situations that can happen in your area also means knowing when to leave. You have that bug out bag for a reason. Yes you will be leaving your home, but you need to weight the risks if you stay. If you leave, your home may be looted. (So this would be a good time to make sure your supplies that you are leaving are well hidden.) But if you stay, you and your family may die. And never wait until the last minute when an evacuation order happens in your area. If it walks like a duck…I think you know where this is going. Do not let your pride or your lack of trust in the authorities cost you or your family their lives.
3. Not looking at the bigger picture
This is one area that I have been guilty of ignoring. When you begin prepping and planning, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture of why you are doing this. True, you want to be self-sustaining and be able to provide for your family. But then what? When the economy does collapse, and you are safe in your home with your family, do you think about the other three hundred million people that may or may not be outside of your door? Pretending the rest of the world has disappeared while you have been preparing isn’t the case. You will run out of food, and you will run out of ammunition. You will not be able to fight everyone off. So even though you will be able to hold out for a good long time, eventually you will have to think about educating the masses to what you have learned, and how they too can be self-reliant. Remember you can feed a man a meal, or teach him to fish so he can feed himself.
4. Lack of networks
I can’t speak for anyone other than myself on this matter, but from the way the mass media has portrayed preppers, I don’t run around my neighborhood and make sure everyone knows I am a prepper. I prefer to keep this to myself. But I need to stop that way of thinking, just as you do, and it isn’t easy. I am always paying attention to others, and watching what they do. I have “come out” to several people, and I was shocked to learn that they are preppers too. I can honestly say it felt as if a wave of relief had washed over me when I realized I wasn’t alone. And too see the expression on their faces, they were grateful to know they weren’t alone either. So I challenge you to put yourself out there a little bit. Keep your cautious hat on, but test the waters, and you may find out that your neighbor, or co-worker or best friends Aunt Mary is a prepper too.
5. Not having the skills necessary to sustainability
Just because you have enough food to feed a family of six for two years does not mean you are sustainable. Like I said earlier, that food will run out, and then what? Do you have a plan in place to sustain your family and your way of life? You need to know how to continue once your initial stores have been depleted. You need to know how to grow a garden, kill a chicken, could you survive off of food found in the wilderness and defend yourself and your home. If you have an injury, you will need to know how to take care of it. Do you know what to do to treat an open wound to get it to heal so you don’t end up with a life threatening infection? These are things you need to know how to deal with, because things like this will happen.
6. Lack of education
Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you know how to use it. Take the time now to learn everything you can about survival, economics, how to ‘read’ people, and everything you can get your hands on. Ad if you find more information that you just can’t absorb now, print it out and save it for later. You will never know everything, and you will always have the capability of learning. Knowledge is free, and it doesn’t weigh anything to carry it around in your brain.
7. Stockpiling the wrong items
This can happen believe it or not, and it often does. If your family has never eaten SPAM before, a stressful life changing environment is not a good time to suddenly throw it at them. Store what you eat, and eat what you store. Introduce fresh vegetables to your family now. Start trying new recipes now that incorporate what you will plan on storing. If you are going to be growing pinto beans as a main carbohydrate, introduce them in meals now. You may find you don’t even like pinto beans. So that means finding something that you can like, and has lots of options. Because if you have three years’ worth of MRE’s to eat, and then you discover no one in your family can tolerate them life is going to get really hard really fast.
8. Storing all of your preps in the same place
You have worked way too hard for all of your supplies and preps to be lost in a single event. Do your research. In the event of a fire, flood, or other disaster, if you kept everything in one place, the chances are pretty high with that one disaster, all of your stuff is going to be wiped out. And then where would you be? You got it, just like about 90% of the United States population, unprepared and out of luck.
Now granted, by having a network of like minded friends, and co-horts, even if this did happen, you would have a network of people around you to help. But I don’t want others to have to provide for me, when I could have done it for myself in the first place by thinking ahead.
Always store caches in different areas. Whether its a storage unit close by, some in your home, some outside of your home, the garage, the barn, the dog house. Where ever, keep your supplies split up because you need to plan that something will inevitably happen to part of your storage plan.
9. Getting too comfortable
I should again raise my hand on this one. We all do it. It is too easy not to in today’s society. Everything around us screams comfort, and that’s what we all want, isn’t it? I wrote an article about how the money we have in banks could put a major kink in our lives because we depend on them. Even though it isn’t easy, you have to break away from the comfort. You have to get up and go to work every day, and then come home every day, and work just as hard at making sure your garden is growing, and that your rain water collection system is working. Every day will present new challenges for you, and every day you will have to push forward and forgo the comfort of your couch. So get up and do it. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should be doing today.
10. Losing focus
This is a nice way of saying stop being lazy! Do not procrastinate. There is no time for this. The only one who will judge you on this is yourself. There is no passing grade, no ribbon. But if you stay focused, and have a plan it will be difficult not to be successful. A good way to do this is write everything down. Get a couple of spiral bound notebooks, and start making lists. List out what you need to learn. List out your budget for supplies. List out the luxuries you would really want to have in your stores, and figure out a way to make it happen. You are only limited by yourself. Don’t let negativity get in the way of your goals.
This by no means is an all-inclusive list, these are just the things I have paid attention too, and areas that tend to cause problems for preppers.