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There’s a famous quote by Mike Tyson which says, “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” With that said, few things can punch you in the mouth harder than a life-threatening disaster.
While it’s certainly important to have a survival plan in place, it’s also important to know what could go wrong with it. Considering potential downfalls allows you to shore up the weaknesses in your plan and keeps you from being completely caught off guard if one of those downfalls becomes a reality.
To help you spot potential weaknesses, here are five things that could go wrong with your survival plan.
1. Lost or Destroyed Supplies
If you’ve stockpiled supplies, it’s natural for you to count on them being there when you need them. However, in a disaster scenario, these supplies are going to be a prime target for thieves, and they may end up stolen. Likewise, natural disasters such as fires, floods, and tornados could destroy your supplies
What To Do: To protect against this, store a survival cache in a location that is well-hidden and/or easy to defend. If you are able to store them in a location that fits this description and is fire/flood proof that’s even better. You may also want to consider storing supplies in multiple locations so you won’t be wiped out if one location is compromised.
2. Food Poisoning
Preppers count on their food stockpiles to be their saving grace. In some instances, though, their food can be what does them in.
If you don’t store food properly, spoilage becomes a real concern. To make matters worse, hungry people are desperate people. Right now, if you open a can of tomato soup and there was a slight film on top of it, you’d toss it in the trash without a second thought.
If that can of soup was the only thing you had available to eat that day, though, the temptation to risk it would be a lot stronger.
If you or someone in your group gets food poisoning, it won’t just be a hiccup in your survival plan. It will be a serious problem, maybe even fatal.
What To Do: To avoid food poisoning, be sure to learn proper food storage techniques and follow them at all times. Also, make sure you stockpile enough food so that you have plenty available if some of it does spoil. You never want to have to choose between eating spoiled food or starving to death.
3. Random, Unavoidable Injuries
Even in the relatively safe, comfortable world we live in today, freak accidents happen all the time. In a post-disaster world, accidents and injuries are going to be much more common.
The scary part is that these injuries can be fatal. A single cut in a world without modern medicine could turn into a life-threatening infection if you don’t have antibiotics. And a simple sprained ankle could mean you are unable to defend yourself.
What To Do: There’s no foolproof way to prepare for random accidents and injuries except to stock up on plenty of medical supplies and make sure you know how to use them.
Don’t take unnecessary risks; this isn’t a disaster movie, and the people acting like Rambo when the SHTF are most likely going to get themselves killed. If and when you do have to take risks, they should be absolutely necessary and carefully calculated.
4. Other, Unprepared People
There’s a decent chance that, if you’re reading this, you’re a person with a survivalist mentality who plans to be prepared if and when things go south. However, not everyone fits this description. In fact, most people don’t.
The problem is that these unprepared people can easily throw a wrench in your survival plans. For instance, you may feel the need to take care of them. It’s one thing to say you’d be able to turn away your friends and neighbors who were begging at your door; it’s another thing to actually do it when the situation arises.
The problem is that taking on the responsibility of helping others survive could cause you to burn through your supplies far too quickly and distract you from your own survival.
What To Do: First of all, don’t tell people you’re a prepper! I know it’s tempting to talk about your interests or brag about your gear, but resist the temptation. When a disaster happens, they will remember. (Here’s what to do if people find out you’re a prepper, anyway.)
Another option is to stockpile enough supplies and resources to take care of everyone who shows up at your door (which is something that very few people would be able to afford).
If you’re not able to do that, then you need to decide right here and now that you are going to put you and your family’s survival above all else (and stick to that decision when the time comes). It certainly won’t be easy, and it will likely be the most painful, mentally tormenting thing you have to do.
Nevertheless, you really won’t have any other choice.
5. Lack of Adaptability
Good survival plans are not rigid and unchanging. Situations are going to arise that force you to go back to the drawing board, reconsider your plan, and adapt.
The problem is that many people are not able or willing to do this. They put together a survival plan then treat that plan like a binding document that they are forced to follow. Straying from it feels dangerous and unknown, even in the instances where sticking to it is not the wisest decision.
Granted, you should stick to your survival plan. It’s your post-disaster roadmap, crafted over years of planning and preparation, and in most cases, following it will always be your best course of action.
With that said, life loves throwing curveballs, and if the SHTF, those curveballs are going to be all the more common. When situations come up that you did not plan for, you must be able to think and adapt on the fly.
What To Do: Start developing critical thinking skills now. Read lots of books about survival so when situations you didn’t foresee come up, you’ll have some knowledge about them to work with.
Treat your disaster plan like a guideline rather than a contract you are bound to, and when things do go (almost inevitably) wrong, don’t be afraid to adjust your plan accordingly.
If this topic interests you, check out 10 SHTF Problems You Might Not Have Planned For.