However, prepping accidents can get you killed. These accidents can be caused by neglect, complacency, or ignorance. By definition, accidents cannot be prevented, they are unintentional and often unexpected, but there believe it or not there is a way to reduce your risk. By becoming more aware of the things that can happen to you, you reduce the risk of getting into an unfortunate accident that may cause you your life.
Below are five common prepping accidents categories to watch out for:
HOUSE FIRES AND WILDFIRES
Every prepper knows that fire is very important to survival. Fire provides you warmth, light and heat – all of which you will need if you want to survive in the wilderness. Fire helps you to be aware of your surroundings, it keeps you warm, allows you to cook a warm meals etc. etc. etc.
Unfortunately, fire is as much as your best friend as it is your worst enemy. It can be as dangerous as it is helpful. The most important thing to remember is that you need to always try and contain fire. If you fail to pay proper attention to your surroundings, the risk of getting caught in a fire accident increases to the point that it’s almost certain that it may cost you your life. Lighting an uncontrolled fire in an open space surrounded by flammable grasses, leaves, and other objects that can easily catch fire is not a good idea.
Another common cause of fire accidents is spontaneous combustion. In trying to stockpile for the coming seasons, you may have stored dry hay or grain. In hot weather, these stockpiles are likely to catch on fire because they are very flammable. The bacteria in wet hay or grain can cause a pile to increase in temperature until it starts to smolder. If your storage area is also made of flammable material, it will only help spread the fire.
Failing to consider things such as the wind and the temperature of your surroundings when starting a fire, will also increase the chances of a fire accident happening. It only takes a slightly strong gust of wind to quickly make your fire unmanageable and this can happen before you know it the fire is too hot or the flames are out of control.
The best way to prevent a fire accident is to always be aware of what is in the area around it. Move any flammable materials, away from the fire. Monitor your grain or hay storage to ensure the right amount of moisture to prevent a fire. Contain fire before you start by surrounding it with non-flammable materials such as stones or large rocks. If you are in the forest or in an open space, managing your fire is critical as it can set off wildfires that will burn for days. Always put your fire out when you go to sleep or leave your camp site.
The same applies if you are starting a fire near your home. Be aware of landscaping that may be flammable, trees that are hanging too low over the fire, or leaves and grass that could catch fire if an ember jumps out onto the ground.
For more information on how to survive house fires and wildfires, click here.
If fire can cause you so much damage, water or rather, the lack of, can do the same thing. The most common problem related to water is dehydration. You may have been too focused on trying to make it through the day or to your bug out location to stop for a drink, or you may have forgotten to store enough water in your bug out bag or forgot to bring a water filtration system.
Forgetting to stay hydrated is actually a very common issue for many people. But it can prove to be a fatal mistake, especially during a SHTF scenario. Your body needs a constant supply of water for your organs to function efficiently. Heat stroke is one of the most common effects of this neglect to your body. During a bug out trip you will likely be physically and mentally pushing your body to its physical limits and maybe beyond, making dehydration even more of a possibility.
Another accident related to water is drinking it without knowing if it’s clean or not. If you’re lucky, you’ll only suffer a stomach ache and hopefully barf it out. If you’re unlucky, you’re exposing yourself to an unimaginable number of bacteria that can poison you before you have the chance to wonder what could have possibly caused it.
Even the water you use just to clean your body or dirty dishes can be dangerous if you’re not sure where it came from. A common illness related to water that can kill you if you don’t get yourself to a hospital fast enough is leptospirosis which shuts down your kidneys in the worst case scenario.
Stockpiling water is also dangerous if stored improperly. Exposing your water to direct sunlight and organic matter will cause bacteria buildup. Storing toxic chemicals alongside your stockpile can contaminate your water. If your water containers aren’t properly sealed, this can cause you problems too. Make sure that you keep your stockpile in a cool and enclosed environment and regularly check for any signs of leaking or holes in your containers.
Although every prepper has some idea of how to make a water filter or has one bought for critical situations, being aware of the dangers of water can reduce the risk of an accident. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated with clean, drinking water.
Food mistakes can also put your life at risk. The most common is food poisoning due to ingesting expired products or raw meat that may have accumulated too much bacteria. It’s common for preppers to have a stockpile of things that have a long shelf life. There’s nothing wrong with it but at the same time, having a stockpile requires you to pay attention and rotate it regularly.
First in, first out. That is the general rule. Many cases of getting sick, or even infected with botulism, result from ingesting canned goods that are dented or from eating otherwise spoiled food. When you keep a stockpile, always prioritize the ones you put in first. Also, just because you know you added something in your stockpile in perfect shape doesn’t mean it wasn’t harmed over the course of being in the shelf before you decided to use it. Pressure can dent canned goods or crack jars and is a sure sign that something isn’t right inside.
Before you use anything in your stockpile, look at it closely. Is it dented? Is it sealed? Does it smell? Is it expired? Being complacent about your stockpile can cause illness that you could have avoided simply by paying closer attention.
Obviously, there are injuries that can kill you before you can do anything about it. However, a common prepping accident is getting even the most minor of injuries infected, such as a small cut or even a splinter. But whether you are aware of it or not, whenever and wherever there is a cut, there is always the possibility of contracting an infection.
Aside from infection, loss of blood is another problem that can be fatal. If you are cut, your priority should be to stop the bleeding and then clean the wound out as best as you can. Put pressure on the wound or in worst case scenarios, gather what strength you have left and fashion a tourniquet to prevent further blood loss. Some people think that the bleeding will stop on its own at some point but by the time you realize it isn’t going to stop, you may have lost too much blood to survive.
Another form of prepping accident that can get you killed is internal bleeding. This may happen when you’re trying to defend yourself. Perhaps in trying to escape you left yourself vulnerable to getting hit. With this type of accident, your only hope is to get medical help. If you suffer a blow to the head or center mass and it is at all possible, get yourself to the doctor or have someone help you to the nearest hospital.
Never underestimate an injury. It could be a papercut but believe it or not, that can still get infected if not cleaned properly. Protect your body from yourself and your habits by knowing what you’re prone to. If you often get cuts because of the things you hold, learn to protect yourself either by wearing gloves or by using pliers or something to hold the sharp things instead. If you’re prone to tripping and getting gashes on your knees, wear heavier pants or even knee padding. Take care of your body following a SHTF event because medical help may not always be available despite your best efforts to prep for critical situations.
Homesteading is a way of life that exposes you to a number of accidents the most common being tractor accidents and the dangers of manure. Because a prepper’s homestead has all the things that the people in it will need in case of an accident, it’s easy to feel safe and become complacent. One of the deadliest consequences of this reaction is a tractor accident. Tractor accidents holds the record for the most common accident experienced on farms or homesteads.
Often people think that tractors invincible to rolling or turning over because of how it looks and its general weight. They are not. If you have children, it would be wise to remember that anything that has an imbalanced weight can cause it to tip over, thereby crushing whatever or whoever is unlucky enough to be underneath it.
There’s also the possibility of being run over by a tractor. Because people assume that the driver can see them because they are up higher, they stand too close to it. As a consequence, they may find themselves under the tractor before they could say stop or even before they can react to being knocked over. Children should be reminded that to stay a at a distance away from one, and to never assume that the driver can see everyone.
Another homesteading accident can be caused by manure. Because you want to keep your soil fertilized to ensure a constant yield of crop, you may keep animals to give you a considerable amount of manure or more commonly known as animal dung. The problem with this lies within the process of managing that manure as it excretes methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and ammonia as it breaks down. Most large homesteads have a pit for it and the common accidents happen because people go into the pit without take precaution and they suffer the lethal consequences of being exposed to high levels of poisonous gas.
The best way to prevent manure-related accidents from happening is to manage it properly. Don’t let it sit on the ground as it can contaminate the soil and in consequence, the crop. It can also contaminate the water thus robbing you immediately of the two most important things in prepping and homesteading. Manage manure wisely and keep the quantity of animals at a number that will keep your soil and water safe.
BUGGING OUT ACCIDENTS
Bugging out can also lead to a plethora of accidents. For example, fleeing and trying to move over unfamiliar terrain may lead to sprained ankles and minor cuts and bruises. These accidents happen even to most experienced and prepared hikers and that’s why it’s important to know exactly what to do should you find yourself with injuries.
If you’re bugging out in a wet environment like somewhere with a nearby waterfall, remember that the ground around it will most likely be moist, if not wet. Keep a lookout for sharp rocks and jagged edges and take extra care with your footwork. If you slip and slide, protect the vital parts of your body like your head and limbs.
Another bug out accident is that occurs often is heat exposure. Because you will most likely be functioning on adrenaline, it’s natural that you might forget the limits of your body. Be conscious of your physical and mental state at all times. If you detect the slightest hint of dizziness, slow down and even your breathing. Pacing is also an integral factor that you need to remember at all times.
As society collapses and the economy can no longer sustain technology, the most likely scenario that you will find yourself in is returning to the basics. To build a shelter, you will need to do manual labor. To build a fire, you have to go out and collect anything that is combustible. To make weapons, you have to rely on what is immediately available to you.
Woodworking accidents happen even to those who do it on a day-to-day basis. It can’t be helped, especially if you’re handling sharp tools like the saw, which has caused an average of almost 7,000 injuries annually. The hammer can cause bruised up fingers, a part of your body that you need full mobility from, especially in circumstances where survival is priority.
By far, tetanus is the most dangerous injury you can acquire in a woodworking accident. This can be caused by rust or bacteria as it enters your bloodstream. So if you’re going to do manual labor or if you want to build something, take extra caution in your materials. Before using your tools, see if there’s rust buildup. As much as possible, avoid using deteriorating materials. Even if you want to utilize all the materials that are immediately available to you, the injury is just not worth the risk.
Though we generally don’t have control over the things that can happen to us, a little caution goes a long way. Most accidents can be prevented when people take extra care in the things they do and when they stop being neglectful and complacent just because they think that they’ve prepped for every possible situation.
Prepping is a continuous endeavor. It doesn’t just stop at getting all the things that you need. It doesn’t stop at stockpiling or putting a band aid over a wound. Prepping involves constant caution and taking steps to avoid putting yourself in critical situations that you may not be able to recover from.