Last week I posted up a contest, the prize being a Lifestraw Family water filtration device which was donated by the good folks at Eartheasy.com. If you haven’t checked out the EarthEasy website it doesn’t hurt to spend a few minutes going through it, they have wide range of products from chicken coops to solar ovens and even eco-friendly rechargeable lanterns.
Anyways, in order to participate in the contest people had to submit entries which detailed their biggest prepping mistake and how they resolved it. The winning response from J is below, along with a few others I selected to post below it.
Winning Response from J:
My biggest mistake to date in my prepping has been something that was so obvious I completely overlooked it. I know, we all say that after the fact; this one really gave me a dose of humility and changed the way I approach things in this particular area.
First, a bit of background to this story. My home is an older one, built in the early part of the 20th century with several additions to it over the years. It was originally a small place with a root cellar under it, which is fairly common for where I live. The cellar was given a halfhearted remodel during one of these periods of expansion and a cinder block wall was erected in front of the original stone and mortar walls. The floor is concrete and while it leaks a bit when it rains heavily, there is a sump that keeps everything pumped out. As my home is on basically the highest mean level around town, I thought little about the prospect of flooding, given the sump pump that was installed.
When I began prepping, I started with what I considered the basics, food and other common household supplies we often take for granted; toilet paper, toothpaste, over the counter meds, etc. Everything was stored on shelves and I was feeling really good about myself on the way things were progressing (even a bit smug, I can now admit). Who drops in for a visit? Everyone’s dear friend, Mr. Murphy.
There was a heavy snow storm for the area during this particular winter; followed by record warm temperatures. As you can guess, this saturated the ground, putting my much praised sump pump to good use. Then came a record level ice storm, causing a massive power failure virtually statewide. No power, no sump pump; and a generator was still a few places down on my list of things to buy. I lived in town and had never seen the power be out for more than a few hours at a time here. The outage lasted 2 days for us. In rural areas, others lost power for up to 2 weeks. The basement filled up overnight to waist level in near freezing temperature water. This basically ruined everything I had on the first 3 levels of my shelves, including the before-mentioned toilet paper, paper towels and meds. Also ruined were the rice, dried beans and pasta stores that I had in plastic containers, still in their original packaging. The canned goods were still ok, but the labels on many of them came off, due to the water damage. As we cycled through these, it was like playing “Wheel of Fortune” as far as canned vegetables for dinner.
I did manage to borrow a small generator from a friend who was in Florida during this time. I got everything pumped out with a minimum of damage to everything but foodstuffs and stored supplies. I learned a valuable and fairly expensive lesson from this, as well. The generator got moved up on the list to the next immediate purchase; foodstuffs have been replaced and work done to improve the basement. While it is impossible to stop the leakage problem, it has been significantly reduced. Items that are susceptible to water damage have been relocated to a better location, as well.
Also, canned goods that are stored also have an abbreviation as to what they are written in Sharpie marker on the tops!
I am able to poke fun at myself over this now and share a rather embarrassing lesson with others. This proved to be a very informative “Dry Run” (pun intended!) for my family and I. We all took some very valuable lessons from it.
Response from Kim:
Okay, I am a pretty new prepper and one of my greatest mistakes in putting together my survival go-bag, is not making a complete list of what I need and what I have purchased. While doing research on different websites and shopping for items on Ebay and Amazon, since I cannot afford to purchase everything at once and I was trying to get the best prices, I would pick up an item or two at a time and then put them in one box for storing and sorting until I had the majority of my gear and more importantly than that, I had to find the right survival bag to stock and carry my gear in. I have found that I have either purchased too much of certain things like first aid items, because I could not find a first aid kit that had everything I felt necessary in it, so by doing it piecemeal, I have ended up with a surplus of ointments, bandages, disposable scalpels, and so on. If I had made a master list of gear to go into my bag and checked them off when I ordered them, I would not have bought too many things and in some instances, I would not have purchased duplicates. There is a bright side to my madness. I am going to update my home first aid kit with those extras and with the extra survival gear, I am going to put together a separate go-bag to keep in my car, my main one will be at home, but this way, I won’t get caught unaware without anything if I am out and about.
Response from Yum Yucky:
My biggest mistake prepping so far has been lack of organization. It’s great to be buying my preps, but if they’re not organized in my space, the chances of me grabbing my prep in a hurry when it’s most needed is not real good. If I have to spend 30 minutes searching my prepping storage area for a specific prep, then I’ve failed (which has already been put to the test. Total failure!). I’m currently working on better organization in the basement.