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When the chips are down, mistakes can be fatal. Even those who have spent the better part of their life preparing for a disaster are prone to mistakes. And once you make them, there’s no going back.
Some of these mistakes are rooted in misconceptions, others in heat-of-the-moment errors. However, the outcomes are the same. In order to keep yourself from succumbing to a fatal blunder if a worldwide collapse happens, here are 7 mistakes you will want to be sure to avoid:
1. Going it Alone
Preppers are often a distrusting sort, with a natural tendency to strike out on their own when SHTF. While understandable, this is generally a bad idea.
The truth is that there’s safety in numbers. Other people’s skills will be able to compliment your own (for example, a group that contains a doctor, a skilled hunter, and a ham radio operator is much more likely to survive than an individual with just one of these skills). Meanwhile, sticking with a group of people ensures that if you are incapacitated for any reason, there are others there to help you along.
It’s a not a bad idea to be wary of others in a disaster scenario; just don’t let that wariness block you off from the benefits of working with others.
2. Preparing for a Fight Above All Else
After a worldwide collapse, you may very well find yourself having to fight for your life. Chances are, though, that you’ll have many other more pressing concerns.
Far too many preppers have a bunker stocked full of enough guns, ammo, and bulletproof vests to supply a militia, but not enough food and water to make it a week. Perhaps it’s the fact that guns and ammo are a lot more fun than canned goods, or perhaps it’s the warrior mentality that many preppers are instilled with. Regardless, don’t be one of the people who end up armed to the teeth and starving to death.
3. Planning for a Bugout That Requires Superhuman Abilities
If your bugout bag weighs 50+ pounds and your bugout plan is to take off at a full sprint up a hill through the woods, chances are you aren’t going to make it very far.
Even if you are in above-average shape, the simple truth is that most people do not have the physical abilities to pull something like this off. When designing your bugout plan, be sure to avoid overestimating your abilities. Practice, if you have the chance, to make sure it’s doable. Just make sure you don’t end up collapsing and breaking your neck fifty yards into your mad-dash bugout.
4. Not Knowing Your Gear
It’s not enough to stock up on a ton of gear; you’ve got to know how to use it. If you’ve never canned a jar of vegetables in your life, that canner in your bunker probably isn’t going to do you any good. Likewise, if you haven’t put in a significant amount of range time, then that brand new firearm might as well be a paperweight.
In the digital era, people have grown accustomed to being able to learn new skills on the fly thanks to the information on the web. If that information is cut off, though, you may find that figuring out a piece of equipment you’ve barely touched is a real challenge. Therefore, it’s important to spend time learning how to properly use all of your gear before the day comes that you have to.
5. Not Paying Attention to Proper Food Storage
A can of tomatoes that’s been contaminated with botulism will kill you as dead as a bullet to the head. To make matters even worse, it’ll be a much more miserable way to go.
It’s a sad reality that stored food doesn’t last forever. Some food items will last longer than others, but only a select handful have a shelf life that is indefinite. This becomes even more of a problem if you are not storing your food supplies properly.
Make sure to research the shelf life of the food you store, learn the signs of spoilage, and learn how to store food in a way that will maximize its shelf life. Otherwise starvation and/or food poisoning could be what does you in.
6. Preparing for a Single Event
The preparation required to survive a pandemic is not the same as the preparation required to survive a nuclear war. Nevertheless, many preppers get caught up in thinking they can predict the future and will prepare for only one disaster scenario that they’re sure will happen.
Instead of focusing on any one event or any one date, make sure you are putting back general as well as specific supplies necessary to survive any event. Otherwise, you’re playing doomsday roulette and betting your life that the ball lands where you think it will.
7. Making Yourself a Target
There are a lot of ways a person can make themselves a target in a disaster scenario, and almost all of them run the risk of getting you killed.
In disaster scenarios, some people take on the mentality of criminals, stealing what they need to survive. Aside from the moral considerations, the problem with this approach is that supplies which can be stolen have owners who are probably willing to kill you to defend them.
There are also preppers who plan on decking themselves out in full combat gear and roaming the streets like the new form of law-enforcement they envision themselves being. The problem is that doing this is like holding up a sign that reads, “kill me, I’m a threat, and rob me because I have valuable stuff.”
In a true disaster scenario, you’re going to want to blend in. Don’t do anything that draws the ire of anyone else, and don’t behave in any way that could make you a target. The best preppers are the ones you’d never guess are as prepared and capable as they actually are.