When you are making your emergency preparations, you like to think you are covering all your bases, and have a plan B, C, or D in place, should plan A fail you. However, there are some preparation mistakes or fails that many people just don’t think about. Here are 10 of the survival mishaps you may not be planning on, and how to fix them.
No Toilet Paper
This is something no one wants to endure, but it can and does happen, particularly if you are in survival mode for a long time, or get caught off guard in a place where you don’t have emergency gear. You can use strips of a t-shirt (which you can wash out and reuse), a squirt bottle with water in it to “spray clean.” One other idea: old socks. This is a great use for those mismatched ones with holes that you are tempted to toss in the trash. Save ’em and put them in the emergency kit.
No Bug Out Bag
A lot of people plan on riding out any kind of SHTF event in their home or on their property, and don’t consider the possibility that they might have to leave. This is why it is crucial to have a bug out bag for every member of your family. This bag would include enough survival supplies (including some food and water) for at least 48-72 hours. These bags should be packed and ready to go at all times, so you can just grab them and hit the road if you need to. If you needed bug out bags, and hadn’t prepped them ahead of a disaster, you would waste valuable time trying to scramble and get them filled when you could already be headed to safety.
If you depend on glasses all the time like I do, there’s nothing more inconvenient than having them break. There are a couple of solutions. One is to have several of those eyeglass repair kits. Toss one in your bug out bag, a few into your emergency kit, and one into your purse or glove box of your vehicle. You never know when and where you might need one! Also, you can make sure to have at least one pair of backup glasses (even if it is a little older prescription). Being able to see somewhat clearly is better than not being able to see at all.
Stockpiling Only Food
While it is great to have a well-stocked food supply for emergencies, don’t let that be the only think you stockpile. It is important to have a good stash of other things that you need as well. This would mean having extras of items like toiletries, diapers (in several sizes if you have a growing infant), feminine products, batteries, cleaning supplies, and even extra clothes. Even if you don’t use all the items, you might be able to barter with them or share them with others.
Not Taking Vitamins
When you’re living in survival mode, you’re going to want to be in the best health possible. Besides staying hydrated, and eating a balanced diet (as best you can in that situation), you should also have everyone in the family taking multivitamins. While you can’t rely on them solely for nutrition, they will help to fill in the gaps, and boost your immune system. Be sure to have several months worth of vitamins stocked in your emergency kit.
Running Out of Water
Another common mishap that preppers make is underestimating how much water they will need. Most survival experts recommend having enough clean water (for drinking, bathing, etc) to last each person in the home several weeks. This is usually a little less than 2 gallons per day per person. If you don’t have a lot of space to store gallons and bottles of water, have somewhere on site to collect water and purify it yourself using water purification tablets. It’s also a good idea to put some of those tablets in your bug out bags, too.
Letting Stored Food Expire
This is one mistake that is really easy to make, especially if you keep your food stockpile out of sight. Make sure not to let any of the food you have stockpiled go bad. Then you have to throw it out, and it’s wasted, and money is wasted, too. Make a note on your calendar to rotate your storage so that the stuff with the closest expiration date gets used first, and that you check it monthly.
Can You Cook From Scratch?
Since we just talked about wasting food, one way to avoid that is to be able to make things from scratch, using basic food items. If you haven’t ever done that, now is a good time to learn, BEFORE your family’s meals depend on it. Cooking from scratch is easy if you can follow a recipe and be willing to learn a new skill. This will help you not to throw out things like flour, oats, or other basic staples, because you can put them together to make other foods. Cooking from scratch is also a wonderful skill you can pass down to your children.
In a disaster situation, this might not actually be that big of an issue, especially if no one can get to the bank. This is where bartering for goods or services can be to your benefit. You might be able to trade a service like chopping wood for fresh milk from the neighbor’s cow, or trade some stockpiled diapers for someone to come with a chainsaw and help cut fallen limbs. Bartering is a thing of the past in some ways, but if everyone is between a rock and hard place, then it’s a practice that may come into play for a lot of families. The possibilities really are endless with bartering, as everyone will be in need of something, and everyone will have something to offer. That said, it’s probably not a bad idea to have enough cash stored in the house to last a week or two, just in case you do find yourself needing some.
How to Fight Boredom
One thing your family might face if you are trying to get by after a disaster is boredom. You won’t have many of the modern conveniences like television or Internet if the power is down for a while, so you will have to be able to combat boredom, especially if you have children. Be sure to put some boredom busters in your emergency kit to help pass the time. Playing cards, puzzles, coloring books and crayons, word search books, and family read-aloud books are all great items to choose. If you are at home, and have a pretty decent selection of books, this would be a great way to pass the time. You could also spend time outside looking at constellations at night, or playing games like Frisbee or catch.
You should make these unexpected events part of your emergency plans so that you are prepared. Planning for them can make you more confident when you are in survival mode, and help you to make things go more smoothly for your family.