Weather – Terrorism – War – Societal Breakdown
Ridiculing people stockpiling supplies for survival prepping is common. When you say prepper, the first thought that comes to mind is someone preparing for the end of the world. But, what most people don’t understand, is those stock piling supplies aren’t always preparing for the end of the world.
Today’s preppers are preparing for disasters and cataclysmic events, like pandemics, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other disasters. Unlike the zombie apocalypse and alien invasions, these disasters aren’t fictional. We live in uncertain and dangerous times, and these disasters are a very real possibility.
There are many ways for prepping, from short-term emergency preparedness to dooms day, SHTF prepping. My husband and I fall somewhere in between for our family survival prepping.
Living in Tornado Alley and now an earthquake zone, we deal with monthly threats from disaster. Add to natural disasters military bases and ammunition manufacturing, missile silos, and biological labs, and SHTF is always a possibility.
My husband and I aren’t doomsday preppers, but we’re not blind either. We understand that our area might suffer a massive disaster that could change life as we know it. The SHTF scenario is a very real threat to most areas of our society.
What You Need for Survival Prepping
Several items are necessary for your family’s continued safety, health, and well-being.
- Water supply
- Food supply
- Tools like knives
- Defense and security weapons
- Protective clothing
There are other items you need for your survival prepping list, but these are the most important. These are areas to never skimp on because your survival depends on the quality and effectiveness of your survival tools.
Different Survival Prepping Tools and Supplies
First Time Survival Prepping Mistakes
In most instances, learning from our mistakes helps us grow and do better in our endeavors. But, prepping mistakes are costly and dangerous. When you plan for the worst-case scenario, you’re planning for you and your family’s survival. Even the smallest mistake can mean disaster in a survival situation.
For those people considering a prepping lifestyle, researching for information is a daunting task. You can easily get lost and become confused about where to start and what to do. Luckily, there are many experienced survival preppers willing to help you by sharing their experience and wisdom.
Many preppers have years of knowledge they’ll happily share with you. My husband and I came from farming families, so we’re no strangers to prepping. We love sharing our knowledge and skills with anyone who asks.
Even if you’re not new to prepping, you may find more efficient ways of doing things. We have six common mistakes most new preppers, and even veteran preppers often make:
- Not practicing your survival plan
- Fixating on doomsday and forgetting about realistic threats
- Stocking up and not developing skills
- No contingency plan
- Not networking
- Not maintaining communications
1. Not Practicing Your Survival Plan
The most basic of fundamentals of a prepper lifestyle is planning and preparing for any disaster. Preparation means putting your skills and knowledge to the test before disaster strikes.
For new and even experienced preppers, it’s easy to get lost in the planning and prepping stages. You can quickly lose sight of the overall picture which works against your well laid out preparedness goals. All the prepping and planning falls short if you don’t practice and put your plans into reality. Practicing is the only way you can know if your disaster plan will work.
Even years of research doesn’t guarantee the plan’s success. For a survival plan that delivers the desired outcome, you need practice, a lot of practice. You may think your survival strategy is clever and foolproof but without testing it, you can’t guarantee it works.
The most important part of any family survival prepping plan is making a trial run. Not just one trial, but trial runs for as long as you intend to keep a survival plan. I suggest bi-annual testing or any time there is a change in the family status. Changes like moving, kids leaving home, welcoming new members to the family or any other major change.
All family members should make a mental note of every detail of the evacuation process, no matter how insignificant. Is your bug out bag too heavy? Are there things you needed but you didn’t have with you? What happens if the family isn’t together when you need to bug out?
A trial run of your bug out plan is the first line of defense in a disaster situation. Most importantly you need the assurance your plans are solid and doable when put to the test.
2. Fixating on Doomsday and Forgetting About Realistic Threats
Many times, preppers focus too much on doomsday scenarios and not the more realistic threats to our way of life. With this doomsday fixation, people view disaster prepping in a narrow-minded fashion.
Unfortunately, people tend to discredit the tremendous value and logic behind survival prepping. Hollywood and their continuous line of doomsday movies and reality TV shows dilute the real need for disaster preparation. Those not blinded by the glitter of Hollywood know there’s more to survival prepping than zombie apocalypses and mega disasters. The reality is not quite like what you see on the screen.
But, a deadly pandemic, chemical terrorism, or nuclear fallout is always a possibility. We’ve already seen these scenarios in many areas around the world. Natural disasters like hurricanes Sandy and Katrina hit swiftly with unexpected devastation. People had to leave their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Tornadoes have little if any warning and making disruptions in water, power, and food supply shortages a real possibility. For these times, having a bug out plan and survival skills can save yours and your family’s life.
Preparing for real threat scenarios ensures your family’s safety better than stressing over doomsday scenarios. Chances are a zombie apocalypse or getting hit by a mega asteroid might not happen in your lifetime. But a natural disaster, civil unrest, terrorism or a pandemic is a very real possibility.
Focus your survival prepping on common threats that are most likely to happen. Customize your prepping lifestyle around the most probable risks in your area, like weather risks. Narrowing down your survival prepping to risks relevant to where you live helps you overcome whatever comes your way.
3. Stocking Up and Not Developing Skills
Essential worst case scenario stockpiling includes water, food, weapons, and other survival gear. Having a building full of rations, ammunition, and survival tools, enough for several years goes a long way in preparing. But, if you don’t have basic survival skills, you’re missing one of the most important aspects needed for survival.
One of the biggest threats to your survival goods stockpile is losing it. Your supplies face loss danger from looting, natural disasters, or getting left behind during the evacuation. If you have a good set of survival skills, your chances of survival success get much better.
Never get lulled into a feeling of false security. Having a fully stocked survival storehouse doesn’t guarantee sustainable survival. After your survival stockpile sees you through two or three years, what happens when those resources start drying up? Do you have the skills to replenish your supplies?
Relying on your skills for survival during a disaster is essential for keeping you and your family safe. Always consider what happens if everything you prepared for survival vanishes. Can you rebuild from scratch while adjusting to scarcity without backup supplies?
It’s as important to nurture your survival skills as it is to stockpile supplies. Practice your skills every day whether working in the garden, hunting and practicing marksmanship, or developing your surroundings orientation.
I recommend adding survival and homesteading books to your stockpile. Our library has books covering things like gardening, animal husbandry, food preservations, first aid, and other necessary life skills. With my interest in natural medicine and everything homemade, our library includes commercial print items and my notes.
Without applying practical knowledge gained through the years, all your prepping is a waste. In my post, Having the Right Survival Skills, I cover the most important skills needed for family survival prepping.
4. No Contingency Plan
Having a bug out plan and location is a very important part of the family survival prepping lifestyle. However, having one bug out location isn’t always enough, you need more than one safe location.
When SHTF, having all your survival resources in one place is a disaster in the making. If your safe location isn’t destroyed, it’s a potential goldmine for looters. Placing your food, weapons, and gear in different locations secures survival supplies if something happens to one of your stashes.
Having different locations for your survival supplies makes a common-sense bug out plan. While the ability for relying on your home as a fortress in disaster times is ideal, it’s not always probable. Chances are, your main safe-haven won’t be safe when disaster strikes. You’ll need another location of supplies for surviving.
Secrecy for all your safe locations is extremely important. Never reveal the location to anyone but your family or those closest to you. By giving your family and closest friends this important bug out information works to your advantage. In the case of separation, keeping trusted friends and family informed helps keep you connected when communications go down.
Besides safe bug out locations holding your stash of food, gear, and other survival essentials, you need a backup plan. Create a variety of bug out routes for viable access to your safe location whatever type of emergency warrants leaving. You want a path with the quickest and easiest route possible. You want a route everyone in your family knows how to navigate.
Keep several bug out bags for each member of the family, safely stored in different locations. Consider safe storage places in your home, cars, even your workplace. You never know the how’s and when’s of a disaster and what resources you can access.
5. Not Networking
Many prepping websites place people under one category. Most of these sites consider most people in the context of looting and chaos, something from which to defend themselves. There’s always a huge chance that others may become a threat during emergencies or disasters. But it’s not always the case.
I stand by my earlier statement about secrecy, but I also support getting to know your neighbors. It’s important that you develop a secure network of trusted people for pulling resources for helping with survival.
I make homemade soaps; my neighbor raises goats. Between the two of us, we network for my goat milk supply and her homemade soap and salve supply. Not to mention the amazing cheese we learned to make together.
This networking is an important partnership for survival. We don’t know everything about each other’s supplies, and we know nothing about each other’s safe locations. But we each have different skills we can share for survival. I know that if SHTF I want my neighbors in our network of survivalist friends.
Sharing survival and your stock and preparedness information is tricky. Always handle what you share and with who you share it, with caution. Only share your safe locations, shelters, and stockpile resources with people closest to you. Sharing with people other than family members might pose a risk. In many cases, it’s a chance leading to unfortunate and potentially dangerous situations.
While I don’t recommend sharing outside the family, it’s not completely taboo. I have a friend I grew up with, and I consider her family. Even though we don’t share the same blood ties, we share an unbreakable bond. Our survival plans include each other because if SHTF happens, I want her and her family near us.
6. Not Maintaining Communications
Having a good support network is a priceless asset during times of need. And as with my neighbor and I, there’s no better place for starting your support network than in your neighborhood. Getting to know the people you live close to helps create strong relationships. Knowing your neighbors is good survival preparedness. It just might happen that their helping hand is what you need most when SHTF.
But, like networking, communication channels carry a lot of importance in being prepared. When the power goes out, you still need information about what’s happening outside your safe zone. Information is invaluable in times of catastrophe, and the ability to communicate with others might save your life.
Part of your preparedness stockpile should include a communication device. Cell phones are the most unstable form of communication. When the power goes down, the cell towers go down. There go your communications.
A good survival investment is the HAM radio. The HAM keeps you in touch with people around the world and keeps you informed with important information. When cell phones quickly stop working, the Ham radio is a reliable standby.
You’ll find there are more HAM radio operators than you might realize, with clubs located around the world. There’s a network of HAM survival operators with a yearly date for going off the grid on emergency air waves.
HAM amateur operator clubs are a great source of information. To find one near you, visit http://www.arrl.org/clubs.
Other Survival Prepping Mistakes
I covered five of the most common mistakes new preppers, and sometimes seasoned preppers, make. But what about other mistakes? How do you know you’re avoiding the pitfalls and preparing efficiently?
Like everyone else, most things preppers do is trial and error. The best and perfect method is still waiting for discovery. My best advice for soothing your nervousness is by combining your common sense with advice from experienced preppers.
The many prepping pros already have a lot of trial and error experience under their belt. Research all the helpful tips, tricks and guidelines the veteran preppers offer and follow your instincts. It’s not a one-size-fits-all and what works for someone else may not work for you and your family. You’ll learn from your mistakes and those already made by others.
The key to avoiding prepping mistakes is understanding everything about prepping, from what it is to how to do it. Prepping is not a fad, hobby, or pastime activity. Prepping is a way of life, and unless you see it that way, you won’t succeed.
Those new to the prepping lifestyle start out wrong by thinking a stockpile of canned food and ammo is preparedness. Thinking like this is completely wrong and why many first-time preppers fail and do so miserably.
Preparedness is complex and doesn’t mean hoarding large quantities of necessary resources. Prepping takes commitment, effort, and perseverance. Family survival prepping is a package deal, requiring you cover all your bases. Taking a superficial approach to prepping is a guaranteed failure.
Final Thoughts on Survival Prepping
Once you realize that at any given moment, your world as you know it might end, your perspective changes. When you think about it, the day you must fend for yourself might be closer than you think. Now you begin understanding the importance of sustainability and when a preppers mindset begins.
The moment you begin thinking about sustainability, you realize prepping is not for fighting zombies. You’re preparing for a self-reliant lifestyle for securing your family’s health and well being.
Instead of wasting your time on ridiculous apocalyptic trinkets and gadgets, you’re becoming aware of what self-reliance and survival mean. You become secure in your survival and your ability to protect and care for your family during disastrous times.
Sadly, people have grown lazy and dependent on the luxuries of modern life. However, I believe that deep down, everyone has the right instincts and the drive for survival. I also believe we have the knowledge and tools to sustain ourselves. All anyone needs is to find that survival desire within themselves and always prepare for the worst.
You’re not alone. I built this website to share my knowledge and to help you find a productive, self-reliant lifestyle.
You won’t find panic, zombie apocalypse, or mega SHTF total end of the world scenarios. What you will find is logical and comprehensive information for being prepared in the face of disaster.
If you have any ideas to make the process easier or more efficient, please leave a comment.