As preppers, many of us take the time to meticulously plan and rehearse for the day when the big SHTF emergency hits. We try to make sure that we’ve thought of everything — every last detail in anticipation of what could wrong, what to do if the situation changes, how to adapt on the fly, and so forth.
After all, prepping for the big one involves much more than just storing food, water, medicine, and then bugging out. “Surviving for a long period of time when things go really bad requires planning, critical thinking, and understanding what to avoid, and how to avoid it,” notes Survivalist Prepper.
But do you know what the most common causes of prepper planning fails are? Sometimes even the smallest things can turn into the biggest problems. Other times, certain scenarios and events are completely unavoidable.
Many things are not happenstance and unavoidable, however, and if you’re aware of them before things turn bad, you’ll be in a better position to stay safe and survive.
1. Maintaining operational security: OPSEC, as it is called, is an important part of prepping and long-term emergency survival, but many people give away their OPSEC by being fast and loose with their mouths. Bragging about what you’re doing, what weapons you’ve got, how much food you have stored, where you’re going when SHTF, etc., all serve to tip people off to your preparations. You don’t want to give anyone — even people you consider friends or friendly — any idea what you’re doing, what plans you’ve made, food preparations and so forth. You don’t want anyone coming to get what you’ve got when times get tough. And after stuff turns bad, you most definitely want to keep quiet. (RELATED: Stay Safe At Home This Summer, When Most Home Invasions And Break-Ins Occur)
2. Dealing with neighbors: Even if you’re on the best of terms with most of your neighbors, desperation can change people — and emergencies will create desperate circumstances for most people because they have not taken the time (like you have) to get prepared for them. Live by this axiom: “Desperate people do desperate things,” and this will include your “friendly” neighbors. Solution: OPSEC! On the plus side, getting to know your neighbors can help you identify beforehand who’s going to be a problem and who you can probably trust.
3. Your pets: While untrained dogs, for instance, are great pets and are handy early-warning systems, so to speak, when people are lurking around your home or property, loud barking in a SHTF scenario can also bring you unwanted attention, making attempts to stay quiet and maintain a low profile much harder. Still, trained dogs can certainly be an asset — trained to protect you and your family.
4. Controlling your kids: This pertains mostly to OPSEC; when your kids are out with their friends, they talk about all sorts of things. That may include your SHTF preparations. While you want your children to be prepared for emergencies too, they have to know they must keep certain aspects of preparation private.
5. Physical conditioning: In an emergency situation, life is going to be difficult enough, but it will be much harder if you’re sporting a big beer belly or are otherwise out of shape. You can’t “shoot” your way out of every situation (and really, you shouldn’t want to). A good rule-of-thumb program for weight loss is to combine dietary changes with a cardio/strength-training regime.
6. Control those smells: It’s summer. You’re outside on your deck. Suddenly, the mild breeze shifts and you catch a whiff of some amazing bar-b-cue coming from somewhere close by. Smells fabulous, right? Now imagine the stuff has hit the fan, you are the one outside grilling, and you’re surrounded by dozens of hungry, agitated, desperate neighbors. Get the picture?
7. Store it right: What could be worse than purchasing food, water and supplies, then — when it came time to use them — you discovered that something bad happened to your food and gear because you didn’t store them correctly? Check on your supplies often — pull them out, sort through them and actually look at them to make sure food and water are staying fresh, and gear is not getting wet, rusting, etc.
Finally, don’t rely solely on Plan A. Have backup plans B, C and even D.