If you search the internet, you will find many suggestions on how to prepare for the unexpected. Some of this advice is good and some isn’t.
Despite all the good recommendations, people continue to make mistakes when preparing. Many of these mistakes are so major that they completely defeat the purpose of getting ready for a crisis situation.
The purpose of this report is to share with you the top 12 mistakes people make when preparing so that you can avoid them. By following this advice, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to handle whatever comes your way.
Here are mistakes four–six…
MISTAKE NO. 4: FAILING TO SECURE YOUR HOME AND POSSESSIONS
My home is not only where I keep the majority of my emergency supplies, but it’s also the place I’ve spent time and money to secure. If society breaks down following a disaster, I want to be as prepared as possible to protect my family and belongings.
During a crisis, your home could become a target for criminals who want to take advantage of law-abiding citizens as society becomes lawless. So don’t forget to store the weapons you’ll need to protect what you’ve stockpiled.
Following are 10 tips for securing your home from invaders:
- Install secure doors. A door is the most likely entry point an intruder will use, so keep your doors locked whether you’re home or away. Solid wood doors or metal-clad doors are effective.
- Upgrade your locks. Grade 1 or Grade 2 deadbolts accompanied by heavy-duty brass strike plates should make it more difficult for doors to be kicked in.
- Install secure windows. You don’t want windows that can be manipulated from the outside. Keep your windows from opening more than six inches. Consider installing mounting brackets now so you can quickly install window bars later if necessary.
- Secure the perimeter. Install motion sensor lights all around your home. Fences can be climbed, but having one might be enough to make an intruder choose a different home. Keep shrubbery trimmed to reduce the number of hiding places on your lawn.
- Install an alarm. The louder the better. Even if you don’t have a full-fledged security system in place, the noise itself could scare away an intruder. Post an alarm sign near the entrances. Make sure your children or grandchildren know how important it is to keep alarm codes confidential.
- Secure breach points. Take a walk around your home — inside and out — and look for areas where someone could enter without much trouble. If there is a seldom-used door to the outside, install a 2×4 barricade on the inside.
- Join a neighborhood watch group. If your community doesn’t have one, you may have to take the lead here. Neighbors watching out for neighbors can be an effective deterrent against burglaries.
- Have a dog. Dogs can be trained in defense, or at least to bark when they hear a noise outside. If you can’t have a dog, you can still post a “Beware of Dog” sign in your yard.
- Don’t make it obvious you’re away. When you’re out of town, lights on automatic timers are very effective. Make sure newspapers aren’t delivered while you’re gone, and try to keep a car in your driveway. A trusted neighbor to keep an eye on the place is important to have while you’re away.
- Create a household plan. Every family member should know exactly what to do if an intruder enters the house. Getting out of the house quickly is best. If that’s not possible, head to a previously designated “safe room.” Always keep a pair of tennis shoes, a flashlight and a cellphone by your bed.
You must own a gun — and probably more than one. In fact, you should have at least two guns for everyone in your household who is trained and old enough to use them.
A gun is the only thing that might stop someone — or a group of “someones” — determined to do you harm and possibly steal your home right out from under you during a major crisis. Guns give you the ability to defend what’s yours against people who want to overtake you with their guns.
A shotgun will probably do the trick. The nice thing about this type of weapon is that you don’t have to be a marksman to be effective with it. Because it sprays a number of pellets in a circular pattern, it increases your odds of hitting a moving target. Plus, it can be lethal up to 100 feet.
A rifle is another good choice because it can shoot accurately at a much longer range than a pistol and will also accomplish a higher degree of penetration into the target. It would be the ideal weapon while you’re on the porch or leaning out a window as a mob approaches.
Lastly, make sure you have several handguns. The biggest advantage here is maneuverability. Semi-automatic handguns are the way to go. I recommend choosing .45-caliber bullets over .22s. A pistol’s range is limited, so they’re best in close-combat situations.
No matter which weapons you’ve chosen, make sure to practice with them regularly. The more accomplished you are with your guns, the better the odds that you’ll be able to protect your family and property during an emergency. Also, it should go without saying that you need lots of ammunition for each weapon.
MISTAKE NO. 5: FAILING TO CREATE A FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN
There is nothing scarier for a parent or grandparent than to be separated from their kids or grandkids during an emergency and not be able to reach them. If a disaster strikes when your kids or grandkids are at home or school while you are at work or out of town, will they know what to do?
There’s one way to make sure they know exactly what you want them to do in that type of situation: By creating a family emergency plan and discussing it regularly.
Your plan should include a list of each family member by full name; home, work and school addresses and phone numbers; cellphone numbers and email addresses; local emergency contacts; out-of-town contacts; and the family meeting place.
Here are nine more tips for parents and grandparents:
- Learn the disaster response policies of your kids’ and grandkids’ school or day care center. Have a backup plan in place for someone to pick them up if you can’t
- Ensure that your kids’ or grandkids’ school or day care center has your current emergency contact information
- Have at least two pre-arranged meeting places for your family and make sure the kids or grandkids know where they are in case returning to your home in a crisis is not possible
- Establish an out-of-state contact known by your children or grandchildren (and their school or day care center) in case local lines are down and only long distance circuits are functioning
- Teach your kids or grandkids how to use 911 and rehearse what they should say to a dispatcher
- Make sure your kids or grandkids know to stay away from downed power lines, utility poles and trees
- Practice evacuation routes and strategies as a family
- Teach your children or grandchildren responses such as “drop, cover and hold” and “stop, drop and roll”
- Prepare a small “bug-out bag” for each child or grandchild, including items such as a family photo, toy, game, book or puzzle, plus treats.
MISTAKE NO. 6: FAILING TO KEEP IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS IN YOUR BUG-OUT BAG
There are many scenarios that could cause you to have to hunker down or bug out at any moment. Extreme weather is probably the most likely one. But there are a variety of other circumstances — including an epidemic or pandemic, an EMP, a terrorist attack or an accident that causes a long-term blackout.
People always think first about emergency food and clean drinking water in situations such as these — as well they should — but there is also the possibility that you will need to quickly access important documents. This is especially true if you have to bug out and need to show proof of who you are, what kind of insurance you possess, whether your pets are vaccinated, etc.
Most people are not nearly prepared enough in this area. It’s important to rectify this situation ASAP. The key is to keep files containing all your important documents together in a safe place where you can quickly grab them. Actually, you should have several copies of all your important documents — one at home and at least one in another location.
What are the most important documents to have at the ready? Well, home, auto, health and life insurance policies are at or near the top of the list. You also want to have copies of photo ID cards, including driver’s licenses, student IDs, passports, etc. In addition, you should have a list of all prescription medicines you and other family members take regularly.
One document should include all of your banking information, including the names and addresses of your banks and the account numbers for your checking, savings and other accounts, while another document should include photocopies of all your credit cards.
Yet another document should contain the names, addresses and phone numbers of your physicians, dentists, attorneys and insurance agents.
Also keep copies of all of your vehicle titles, as well as copies of property ownership records. And don’t forget to include all key documents pertaining to your pets. If you have to check into a hotel that takes animals, you’ll probably need to prove they are up to date on their vaccinations.
As previously mentioned, it’s VERY important to keep these documents in a secure place — such as a fireproof safe — both at home and in a secondary location.