Don’t make these common survival mistakes

When you are in the wilderness or in a SHTF situation, your chances of survival may depend on what you do – and what you don’t do. Avoid these mistakes at all costs.

Not finding water

Dehydration could be one of your worst enemies, particularly if you are in an area with high temperatures. According to the Rule of Threes, just three days without water is enough to end your life. Prevent this risk by immediately finding a large enough supply of water or learning skills that will allow you to gather water and make it safe for drinking.

Not having food

The aforementioned Rule of Threes says you cannot survive longer than three weeks without food. While that may seem like a long time, keep in mind that hunger gradually weakens you day by day, increasing your risk of dying from starvation the longer you go without food. Learning to hunt and gather will help prevent this risk.

Being exposed to extreme temperature

Although the human body can maintain a steady internal temperature, exposure to extreme conditions can still kill. Having climate-appropriate clothing and learning to make fire and shelter are highly important skills and preparations for these threats. You will also need to learn when it is safe to move and when it’s safe to stay inside your shelter.

Getting sick

Diseases have been humanity’s bane since time immemorial. Whatever their cause may be, having the right tools, such as masks and gloves, can help save your life. Strict adherence to sanitation practices and quarantine protocols will also prevent you from contracting potentially debilitating or life-threatening conditions.

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Dying by gunshot

Desperate times can result in very desperate actions. When SHTF, even a loaf of bread can be a cause for murder. Make sure you are adequately protected from gun-toting crooks who want to steal your resources by wearing body armor and learning self-defense techniques. If you do get shot, knowing first-aid techniques will help extend your life.

Being crushed to death

Your unstable environment can make you prone to getting hit by falling debris, trees, or manmade structures. If you take shelter in an environment with a lot of these, consider what you can do to minimize your risk of injury. Planning for instances when you do get trapped from falling debris will also help.


Flooding is an ever-present threat in places close to rivers and similar bodies of water. Knowing how to swim does not guarantee your survival, however. You will need to pay attention to the possibility of incoming hurricanes and be prepared with a plan and the right gear that will keep you afloat should flooding occur.


Fires can kill you in many ways. Apart from actually burning your body, the fire can also produce suffocating smoke. Be sure to practice fire prevention procedures and have fire extinguishers at the ready. Just in case, learn strategies to quickly evacuate your area in cases of fire.

Being irradiated

Nuclear events release radioactive material that will cause you certain death. Having the right equipment, such as hazmat suits and masks, is great, but getting away from the affected area as fast as possible is better. If this is not possible, you need to find a shelter that will give adequate protection, as well as decontamination supplies to ensure that your provisions are safe for use and consumption.

Becoming stranded

What if your vehicle breaks down in the middle of nowhere? Your life will be at risk from the elements, wild animals, and other people who are interested in your resources. Prevent the risks by learning how to survive in the wild and find your way back to civilization.


Your overconfidence could be your greatest enemy. Keep in mind that even if you know the right survival skills, keeping yourself alive in extreme situations can be very difficult. Be prepared for this by training continuously and refining your survival skills.


Just because hurricanes have never bothered you before doesn’t mean they can’t the next time they come. Make sure you are prepared for anything. (Related: Basic mistakes of wilderness survival and how to avoid them.)


You can never be sure about other people, especially when the going gets tough. Mutiny can occur in any group, even among friends. To ensure your group’s chances of survival, make sure you select each member properly, exhibit excellent leadership skills, and maintain their morale.


Being desperate can kill you. Unfortunately, no prepping skill can save you from the effects of such extreme human emotion. What you can do though is to determine early on what you can and cannot handle. This will give you a better grasp of your limits and how you might face them later on.


Many situations can be survived with the right knowledge. Learn the right skills, prepare your equipment and resources, and keep yourself updated on developments in your locality to ensure that you are prepared for anything.

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