A while back I wrote about 9 urban survival skills that could save your life. Not having these skills could literally get you killed, but there are many urban survival mistakes that could also get you killed. Here are seven:
1. Bragging About Your Preps – Sometimes this is hard to resist. You spend a lot of time thinking about prepping, saving up, looking for good deals, gathering supplies, etc., and it’s hard not to be proud of your efforts. And what do we do when we’re proud of something? We tell people about it. But in this case, you must only tell people you trust completely. Otherwise, someone somewhere is liable to say, “Hey, remember such-and-such from work who has food and supplies stockpiled? Let’s find out where he/she lives.” Hunger can turn people into animals. If they are desperate enough, they will do anything to get your food.
2. Not Having A Plan – So you have water purifiers, food storage, cooking implements, first aid kits, etc. But do you have a plan? It’s important to think about what types of disasters could happen in your area and how you and your family would react. You need to know how to exit your home safely, have a location where you can meet up with friends and family, know the best way out of town in case you have to bug out, and so forth. Be sure to think these things through ahead of time. You may even want to run a stress test to see where your current plan is lacking.
3. Breaking the Law – If you see people breaking through store windows and grabbing everything they can, you might be tempted to grab your share. After all, the store owners can just write it off, can’t they? Perhaps, but even if the store owner has insurance, someone somewhere has to pay for it. Nothing is free. But ethical issues aside, this sort of behavior could get you killed. You could get trampled in a riot, caught in a building that’s on fire, or attacked by someone even greedier than you are. Even if there is no law enforcement around, do not break the law.
4. Shooting Looters On Sight – We’ve all seen those looters will be shot signs, but there are three reasons why this is a bad idea: 1) It advertises the fact that you have guns. If they see this, they may try to sneak in and ambush you. 2) If you shoot at them, they might shoot back. A few supplies aren’t worth your life. 3) After law and order is restored, you could be charged with murder. In fact, lawyers could use your sign to claim premeditation. Now to be clear, I’m not saying you shouldn’t defend yourself with guns. I’m saying you should wait until someone is actually attacking you. Shooting looters on sight is not self defense.
5. Neglecting Home Security – If your plan is to shelter in place, have you thought about how to make your home safe from intruders? Burglaries skyrocket during disasters, but there are many things you can do to deter burglars and make your home safer. You’re much better off taking these precautions than planning on shooting anyone that sets foot on your property. Hopefully looters will decide your home is more trouble than it’s worth and move on.
6. Refusing To Bug Out – Since bugging out can be difficult and/or dangerous, I believe it’s important for people to learn how to shelter in place. However, there are certain situations where you must bug out, and ignoring them could be deadly. Don’t be one of those old folks who die in hurricanes and wildfires because they refuse to leave the home they’ve lived in for decades. If there’s a chance your home could be destroyed, bug out. As for other scenarios, take your location and your preps into account and ask yourself what your bug out triggers are. You may even want to make a list of them. This way you’ll have made the decision in advance and won’t waste time wrestling with it.
7. Not Purifying Tap Water – People are so used to their tap water being safe that it’s easy to forget how easily it can be contaminated. For example, tap water can become unsafe during natural disasters when pipes are damaged and contaminants leak into them. There have also been scenarios where water departments didn’t properly treat their water because they lacked funds or because their workers stopped showing up. Purify all tap water during emergencies just to stay on the safe side. I’ve already made a habit of doing this with my Berkey Light water filter. It’s a great investment.