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Above, an image has been circulating since 2009 of various dried goods stored for home use in plastic drink containers. This is extremely bad advice.
Why it's a deadly mistake: Two main reasons:
Because plastic bottles are difficult to clean properly. Plastic bottles are somewhat porous and nearly impossible to clean because of it. Bacteria can easily grow on the surface of PET containers, especially after the bottle has touched your lips. Don't risk bacteria ruining your food and then getting botulism. Be as careful about your dry goods as you are about the foods you can at home!
Because these containers have Bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogenic chemical known to be harmful to your health. It causes problems in the brain and increased blood pressure. Yes, it's true that regulations are helping to phase out BPA, but you just can't be sure if the bottle you're using is BPA free. Soda bottles are extremely caustic and even water bottles are one-time use only because they get crushed in use and this ruins the integrity of the bottle exposing you to toxins in the plastic.
How to remedy: Recycling is a better choice!
Mistake #2: Buying the gas mask before the pack of N95 respirators. Truth be told, preppers will have more use for an N95 respirator than for a gas mask. After the Ebola Scare every prepper who didn't already own a gas mask ran out to get one. (Gas masks sold out quickly on Amazon.) The problem with a gas mask for pandemic preparedness is that once you've started wearing it, you've risked contamination for future use. In other words, you'd have just one day of Ebola protection. What are you going to use the next day of potential exposure?
If you're new to prepping, you'll feel better once you have the basics in place and you can start with your lungs! Instead of running out and buying a pricey gas mask, first get some surgical masks and respirators! Every prepper whether should look for a good N95 certification respirator, like the ten-pack shown left, (or the N100 pictured top left), instead of being tempted by the cheap kind.
An N95 or N100 mask is important, but you'll find it useful for everyday just to get keep the dust out of your lungs while you work on your other prepping projects. Did you know that heavy and repeated exposure to dust could lead to more severe allergic reactions? It's better to invest in a set of N95 or N100 gas masks before getting that all too popular gas mask preppers are famous for wearing!
Why it's a deadly mistake: Preventing contagion requires disposable masks. Joe Alton, M.D., a.k.a., The Disaster Doctor, discusses the importance of medical masks to protect against contagious disease in an epidemic. He says," You’ll need both standard [medical mask] and N95 masks as part of your medical supplies." We'll add that eventually you will need a gas mask, too.
How to remedy:Before you buy the whole family an NBC gas mask, buy a box or two of surgical masks (the kind you can get at the dollar stores), plus the more specific pandemic variety available online, such as the N95 or N100, pictured left. As a reminder, the main reason for a gas mask is for nuclear, biological or chemical attacks:
Eventually you need to nsure your family has all three:
surgical masks - also called dust masks, a surgical mask provides a layer of protection for such things as dust and bodily fluids, but it does not fully protect against viruses and is porous and does not provide a tight fit around the face. Its primary purpose is protect others from germs.
N95 or N100 respirators - filters small airborne particulates and reduces risk of virus and bacteria filtering into the lungs
NBC gas mask - helpful for reducing risk of nuclear, biological and chemical attacks.
Mistake #2: Getting a tourniquet (but forgetting the snake bite kit)! Many preppers find incredibly ingenious ways to make a tourniquet, but they don't know how to use one properly. Even Hollywood has a way of showing someone applying a tourniquet to leg and then cutting out or sucking the venom. Warning: misuse of a tourniquet could result in loss of limb!
Why it's a deadly mistake: A tourniquet has a purpose, namely to stop bleeding fast. It's important to keep the blood in the body where it belongs! A tourniquet is not for extracting venum from snake bites. A tourniquet could keep all of the venom in one place, and make the patient's limb swell, which will makee it harder for antivenin to get to it. (Antiveneni is an antiserum with the antibodies against specific poisons to combat venom of snakes, spiders, and scorpions.)
What you can do: Don't risk life or limb, get a snake bite kit and get some education on using a tourniquet (and get a snake bite kit):
Learn how to deal with a snake bite. Whatever you do, never cut a bite wound, and never attempt to suck out venom. Never apply ice or water, and never give a person alcohol or caffeinated drinks.
Mistake #3: Not taking daily hygiene seriously. We humans face a battle of the bugs daily. Thousands of microorganisms are crawling on you right now, and most of them are on your hands. As preppers we sometimes get caught up in buying stuff, like pandemic gear, and then we overlook the reason we bought the gear in the first place -- to keep us from getting sick.
Why it's a deadly mistake. While putting together a pandemic kit is worthwhile, it's actually more important to routinely wash your hands several times a day with good old soap and water to avoid getting sick.
Did you know antibacterial lotions could do more harm than good in your daily routine? It's true. You see, microbes are all tiny living organisms -- some cause disease, while others don't. Germs, or pathogens, are types of microbes that can cause disease, those are the ones we're after. Staphylococci is one such good bacteria that will help you clot your blood.
How to remedy: You can avoid getting sick or spreading disease to others just by washing your hands.Use warm water. Skip the antibacterial stuff as part of your daily routine, and save it instead for when the situation calls for it, like an epidemic or pandemic, so you can keep your body as healthy as possible in the meantime. So now you know Wash your hands more often!
Mistake #4: Canning butter. Rookies don't can butter, and advanced preppers shouldn't either!
Why it's a mistake: Botulism. There's no reason to risk botulism in canning your own butter.
Mistake #5: Having a bugout plan (but not a bug-in plan). The concept of bugging out seems a lot more glamorous and adventuresome than just staying home and bugging in, so preppers spend hours planning their great escape, thinking about bugout bags, bugout clothes, bugout bikes, bugout vehicles, and bugout locations. Bugging in is more realistic.
Why it's a mistake: After having spent years planning the great escape, it makes no sense to abandon everything you've worked toward accumulating. Besides, there's an advantage to staying on the turf you've got. When your adrenaline is pumping the flight or fight response kicks in.
Mistake #6: Trusting your old bottle of bleach. If you're trusting bleach to kill off bacteria in your water, then you'd better become a label reader. Make sure it's unscented bleach. The scented stuff is loaded with toxins. What's more, bleach expires quickly. It has only a six-month shelf life, which means that it loses is potency.
Mistake #7: Stockpiling Pool Shock for water purification. It's shocking that well meaning preppers stock Pool Shock. Intended for swimming pools, preppers aim to decontaminate large amounts of emergency drinking water with this toxic stuff.
How to remedy: Pool shock just isn't safe. Stock Potable Aqua tablets instead. In 35 minutes you'll have fresh drinking water without shocking your system. Read more about the best water purfiers for preppers.
Mistake #8: Not having a reserve water filter. Preppers have water filtration systems set up for everyday use, but they don't often have backups.
Why it's a mistake: Your everyday water filter, like the Big Berkey, has a long life, but if you're using it every day, then you're robbing yourself in crisis. Have a spare filter on hand, so you're ready to take on the raw water to filter it into safe drinking water for your family.
How to remedy: Have a spare filters on hand for your everyday water filter.
Mistake #9: Packing the bugout bag, but not ready to walk with it. Preppers talk the talk, but they don't often walk the walk. An easy fix is to take a local hike with a bugout bag atop the shoulders of everyone in the family. Experiment to see how walking affects the wearer.
Why it's a mistake. Poorly fitted backpacks will rub you raw, give you blisters and cause chaffing and discomfort.
How to remedy: Talk with a backpacker! Take a hike! You want the weight to rest on the hips and not have all the weight on your shoulders. If the weight isn't distributed correctly, your shoulders will get sore and you may have extreme discomfort on your lower back.
Mistake #10: Lighting a match after the floods. Surprisingly, many books and websites on survival tout the benefits of having a candle and matches after the floods.
Why it's a mistake: While a camp stove is valuable for heating your food, making water potable and providing heat, one light of match could ruin your whole day with an explosion!
How to remedy: Don't light a candle! For lighting you can use an LED flashlight or solar light, and you can survive on food you've stored that doesn't require heating provided it hasn't been contaminated with floodwater. Carefully check your surroundings for hissing and possible leaks well before you even think of lighting a candle. If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, call your fire department and leave the area.
Mistake #11: Not practicing your defensive skills. Bruce Lee once said, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
Why it's a mistake: You may be caught by surprise, but if you practice you'll know exactly what to do in the event your skills are called upon.
How to remedy: Target practice, karate class, self-defense class -- do what it takes to learn and practice.
Mistake #12: Putting food directly into a food grade bucket. As a prepper, you did the right thing and bought a food-grade bucket, then you bought oats, cornmeal flour, and sugar in bulk, and thought you'd do a quick dump and seal the lid and get on with your other prepping chores. Here's why that's not necessarily a good idea.
Why it's a mistake: Sometimes little critters get into your food stores, which is particularly true with grains. Without oxygen absorbers the little guys have all the oxygen they need to thrive, and you've left them an oasis of food to live their long life and even have enough for future generations. Oxygen absorbers would have killed them off, but your whole bucket has been contaminated. If you had packed the grain or sugar into individual mylar bags, along with the oxygen absorbers, you would have curbed the problem -- possibly only one bag would have the little critter population, and not the entire contents of the bucket. NOTE: Potatoes and brown sugar are among the few things that you should NOT use oxygen absorbers.
How to remedy: Get a heat sealer along with some mylar bags and oxygen absorbers and do things properly.
And another thing...
DO NOT ever use hand warmers instead of oxygen absorbers! Using hand warmers with food is misguided advice. Hand warmers are not a food safe material. Instead use them to keep your firearms dry only. Use oxygen absorbers for your food.
Mistake #13: Using plastic milk bottles for water storage. It's tempting to use a plastic milk bottle to store water, because it's a cheap solution, but using a plastic milk bottle can cost you dearly.
Why it's a mistake: Milk bottles, the kind that are not clear, will degrade quickly. They weren't made last! They were meant to decompose. What happens to many well meaning preppers, is that their bottles start leaking or they load collapse and suddenly there's water damage. Either it's a problem with your landlord, or a mold issue for your as a homeowner. Neither makes for a happy ending. Think you're a clever prepper and will store dried goods in them instead? Not so fast on storing dried goods in milk bottles, or soda bottles for that matter.
How to remedy: Get into dry canning or package your foods in mylar with oxygen absorbers.
Mistake #14: Hiding all the food storage in the garage or attic. It's tempting to store food away up high in the attic, or low to the ground on in the garage because you've run out of places to hide your food, but there are many reasons why its inadvisable to store food in the garage or attic, including:
Why it's a mistake: There are three main reasons why hiding your food in the garage or attic is a bad idea:
Temperature fluctuations. Storing food in the garage or attic subjects your food to fluctuations of heat and cold. A better place is to store your food is inside your home
Toxic cement. Putting food and water supply directly on the cement leaves it vulnerable. cement leeches toxins into your food and water supply.
Vermin. Mice and rats can chew through even the toughest food grade buckets to get at your food.
How to remedy: Instead of storing things in the garage or attic, find clever hiding places throughout your home. One of the most common is under the bed. You'll find clever ways to disguise your wares as a coffee table. If you're a clever prepper you'll also find room behind the couch, in crevices between appliances, under the stairs, in an ottoman, underneath a chest of drawers, or closets in the kids room.
In short, there are many well-meaning preppers on forums, blogs and Web sites who dispense unresearched advice. Be thoughtful in regards to your prepping activities. Just because someone says it's a good idea, doesn't necessarily mean it is one.
And another thing... Even well respected survivalists can dispense bad advice.
Cody Lundin says, "Beware the on-line survival expert as they are usually full of shit." Like we said, even well-respected survivalists dispense bad advice. We have something to teach Cody Lundin, about the art of keeping your ass alive....and that is to wear some shoes! Not only does the Occupational Safety & Health Administration regulation require wearing shoes, but it just makes sense). If the shoe fits wear it!
Twelve reasons why Cody Lundin should wear shoes or boots:
sharp stuff -- Rocks, class, nails, splinters, HIV-infected needles and such, all are pathways to pain, not to mention infection and mayhem.
rust - Did we mention the rusty nails? Have you had your tetanus shot renewed?
germs - You really want to bring in the germs from public bathroom floors into your home?
fungus - Microbial growth and infections from athlete's foot won't kill you, but have you ever heard of the flesh-eating fungus?
poop - when the poop hits the fan, do you also want to step in it? That stuff is loaded with contagion potential (disease and parasites).
frostbite - You're okay with gangrene? You'd risk loosing life or limb?
hot concrete - There's a reason why you don't walk your dog on a mid summer day. Dang, that smarts!
airplanes, restaurants, and stores. Yeah, the law says they can't let you in.
horse hooves - this isn't your first rodeo, is it? The horses wear them, and well, they might stomp on your tootsies.
ticks, chiggars, leeches, jellyfish, scorpions, snakes -- anything that bites!
heel and arch support, shock absorption
gait - you'll run faster when the zombies chase you.
So Cody, as much as we love you and your survivalist barefeet, and as much as we are happy to read your books, the bottom line is this: if the zombies chase us, we're tripping you. Sorry dude! You were a shoe-in for this little banter!
Happy endings... Your prepping journey can lead you in many directions. Consider always the source of the prepping advice. Prepare to live happily ever after. Do your research, but know that every prepper makes mistakes.
Being a prepper is just as much about creating solutions and making compromises, as it is about honing in on your intuition. It's a learning process, and a gamble. It's edging your bets, and thinking things through. The only thing you can do is to trust your gut and dig a little deeper. If it's too cheap or too fast, there might be a costly penalty involved.
If you read other prepping Web sites, you're sure to find a theme of the most common "mistake" newbie preppers make -- namely, buying unpalatable shelf stable foods that sit on the shelf until they expire, not rotating the food, etc. Death by boredom rarely happens! Trust us, you'd eat that food if there was an apocalypse: it would sure beat eating cockroaches. Tell us what you think. Write us!
Prepare to live happily ever after with us at happypreppers.com - the Web site of emergency preparedness, prepping, survival, homesteading and self-sufficiency
Common Prepping Mistakes Survival tips from well meaning preppers that will kill you!
Prepping Mistakes (and how to avoid them) It's a killer idea! Or is it? Discover the common prepping mistakes and how to avoid them. Prepping isn't always easy. There's an information super highway out there that's loaded with good- minded preppers who will steer you into harm's way with bad ideas and tips. They could be wrong… dead wrong!
Put on your thinking cap, not the tinfoil one. Below is our list of common prepping mistakes (and how to avoid them), so you won't wind up dead...
Common Prepping Mistakes Misinformation, un-researched notions, and prepping shortcuts put you at risk, leaving you unprepared when you need it most. You may end up with a more dangerous or costly problem on your hands, or wind up dead as a result of following well intended, but bad survival tips. It's the price you pay for not trusting your instincts.
Like your mother always said, don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Trust your instincts. The reason preppers will die is because they take on bad advice, much of it from well-meaning preppers!Someone in your circle of prepper friends has a killer idea and it looks good on paper (or online), but you could be dead wrong for following. The following list of common prepping mistakes illustrate exactly this prepper problem...
Mistake #1: Using plastic in the wrong way. Circulating around the Internet since 2009 is this idea (re-using plastic bottles), which is bad advice: