When it comes to survival, there's only one rule to live by.
Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
There's a remarkable difference from what someone is posting on Facebook or in a forum, to what will actually happen when the SHTF. That's why the military trains for a variety of different scenarios. They develop experience, and the ability to think on their feet to overcome whatever problem faces them.
Now this is great practice, but before you get there you need to focus on understanding. Once you know the types of events or actions that could unravel your survival plans, you can develop ways to overcome them. In today's article, I'm going to cover the most common problems you will face, along with a question to ask yourself to ensure you're not making these mistakes yourself.
You are your worst enemy
Or let me rephrase this. Operational security (OPSEC) should be your biggest priority, and the person most likely to breach this is you. Every conversation we have today, everyone who knows about your disaster planning, is a wildcard. You don't know who else they've told, and you can't be sure just how much other people know about you. Gossip travels fast, especially if you're living in a small town. Think about yourself. Who have you told about your survival plans, and who might they have told?
The people living around you
Even if you don't like them, your neighbors are going to be riding out any local SHTF event along with you. But they also present a risk, because they probably know far more about you than you think. They've seen the groceries you've been carrying inside, your bug out bags hanging by the door, your shelves of cans lining the garage when you park your car, and perhaps have even overheard a private conversation while you've been out in the yard, or on the phone. Is there a chance your neighbors know more than you think, and would they be helpful or problematic once the SHTF?
Your dogs are a dead giveaway
I'm all for having dogs around your home, not only do they act as an early warning sign for intruders, they can even help deter a criminal from targeting your home. But they need to be trained. I've spent countless hours with my two dogs in proper training classes, so they can be calmed and quiet if the situation ever calls for it. Being able to hold or deter an intruder in your home may make all the difference in keeping your family safe. Would your dog be an asset or a liability during a disaster?
Your kids need to understand what's what
Let's face it. Your kids are just kids, and whilst they don't usually intend to ruin your plans, that's just what they do. They haven't yet figured out the bigger picture, and don’t realize the difference between chatting and OPSEC. My advice is to keep any conversations you have with your kid's light. Of course, teaching them the basics but don't let your kids in on the full extent of your survival planning until they're old enough to understand the reasons for it. Do your kids know too much already? Who might they have told?
Don't let your preps give you away
When everyone has nothing left, the preparations you have made are going to be a dead giveaway that you suddenly have a whole lot more than the rest of your neighborhood. If your home is the only one with the lights on, people will be interested as to why. The same goes for cooking. My advice here would be to question how you're going to stay under the radar once the SHTF. How will you dispel the smells from your cooking or the sound of your generator, and ensure that the entire neighborhood doesn't know how well prepared you actually are.
Don't ruin your supplies with bad storage
This is one mistake I'm sorry to say I've made myself. You need to be very careful of the conditions you're storing your food supplies in, if you want them to be edible when you actually need them. I initially had my storage in the garage, which was both cool and dry, but because my previous home was near the ocean, the salt spray seeped into the cans and ruined everything that was metal. Ensure that wherever you keep your supplies they will last, and that you're both checking on the condition of your supplies, and rotating these before they expire. Mine was an expensive mistake. Are your supplies in a safe place?
Build on more than one plan
In the military, there's a saying that one is none, and two is one. When it comes to disaster planning, I agree. You should have more than one plan, so that you're ready to adapt and overcome any changes that are thrown your way. Even small things can make a big impact, and the more prepared you are now, the better your chances of survival. Think about your own plans. Then consider what could go wrong. What could you do now to overcome these problems, now?
Be prepared for theft as well
Finally, you've got to be prepared for the people who want to take what's yours. In addition to having a means to defend your home and your supplies, having back up caches of supplies will mean that you're able to feed your family even if you lose your home, or you're not able to access your main stores. Do you have any supplies stored in additional locations?
Without a little forward thinking, it's quite easy for your survival plans to come unraveled at the first problem. But that's the trick. Once you understand the different ways that things can go wrong, you can make back-up plans for your plans, and stay one step ahead.