If you believe that being prepared for any emergency or disaster is important, you might have spent some time reading various articles on what to do to be a proper prepper. Here, we hope to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes made by those new to the prepper lifestyle.
Keep track of supplies
Part of being prepared includes stocking up on nonperishable food items, toiletries, first-aid supplies, and other essentials. If you’re like most people, these purchases are made in a “here and there” kind of way, mostly for budget reasons. Failure to keep track of what you have can quickly lead to a cluttered mass of who-knows-what. Keeping a master list of exactly what you have on hand can make sure nothing gets overlooked or overstocked.
When it comes to food items, you also want to track purchase and expiration dates. Make sure you rotate stock appropriately. It’s also critical to store food items properly. Keeping your food items (even non perishables and MREs) away from excessive heat, cold, moisture, air, and light is important, as is keeping pests away.
Prepare to stay versus prepare to go
Understand what scenarios could force you to leave home in a hurry and which would more likely result in sheltering in place. Having a ton of gear designed for a “get out of dodge” scenario only works if you actually have time to pack it all up before you leave and if you have the means to transport it all. Will you really have time to load up a trailer in the event you’re forced to scram? While it’s certainly advisable to keep a “go bag” ready at all times, spending money on a complete relocation stash should, at the very least, be at the end of your to-do list. If you realize you’re more likely to choose or be forced to shelter in place for a prolonged period, focus more of your efforts on making that feasible (a charcoal grill and charcoal for it, for example).
Know how to use your gear
Having a water purifier, emergency radio, old-fashioned handheld compass, or any other emergency equipment is great–if you’re comfortable using it. Waiting until the stuff hits the fan to figure out how to use your gear can add undue stress to an already stressful situation. Familiarizing yourself with any gadgets and understanding any how-to instructions (including those included with freeze-dried meals or MREs) can save you valuable time in an emergency. Giving all equipment a dry run or other test a couple times a year can make sure everything is in working order before you actually need it. And don’t forget a generator. All generators should be tested and run regularly to ensure they’re ready when you need them.
Learn how to survive
Buying various emergency-preparedness items is important, but so is knowing how to survive without “stuff.” Having matches or extra lighters is great for starting a fire, but what about once they’re gone? Can you start a fire on your own? In a worst-case scenario that sees your food supplies depleted, will you be able to kill, catch, or grow your own food? Do you have any idea how to troubleshoot or repair a generator? Being truly prepared is about learning as much as you can about being self sufficient.
Don’t go it alone
While it’s true that disasters often bring out the worst in humanity, and making sure you’re able to defend yourself and your family is important, it’s also a good idea to find others in your area who are prepared for the worst. Often, preppers who’ve been living the lifestyle for some time can offer you additional advice and guidance unique to your area. It’s also always a good idea to have some sort of network in place in the event of a catastrophe. When it comes to survival and recovery, there is safety in numbers–as long as all of you are more or less like-minded, which is something you’re better off finding out while prepping is still prepping–before something bad happens.