Every prepper and survivalist is preparing for that time they believe to be coming, which is known in their circles as “SHTF.” You may be a prepper yourself, and you may think that you have all your proverbial ducks in a row, but are you sure you know the first steps to take when disaster finally strikes?
What is SHTF?
In you ever see the lettering SHTF, it simply means when shit hits the fan. If you weren’t ever clear on SHTF meaning, that’s all it means. It is simply any natural disaster or doomsday scenario where some tragedy happens, be it an attack or solar flare that knocks out the power grid and set off a nationwide or worldwide emergency crisis.
This is, of course, the most extreme SHTF scenario. Smaller SHTF news could be any natural disaster, say a hurricane, tornado, flood, etc.
SHTF Survival: What You Need To Know
The survivalist knows what it will take to survive, that is for sure. Bug out bags are prepared, food, water, and ammunition are stored, and they have an array of devices and tools that will come in handy should there be no “grid” and no electricity or water. However, what about those very first moments? There will be a great clamoring and things will certainly be in disarray.
In light of that very situation, we have put this article together to give you a brief checkup on what to do at the very beginning of an SHTF scenario. While not every situation will adhere to every principle laid out in this article, it can certainly give you a good place to start. You can build on these, or go with the best derivative of that for your own personal situation.
When SHTF, Are You Ready?
1. Gather as much information as you possibly can on your current situation. During this step, you will want to set up some way to know what’s going on. An emergency radio can be good for this, as can the television and internet, if they’re still available. For long distance communication, you might need to access a CB radio, if you have one. You will also want to try to get in touch with your neighbors, not only to help figure out just what’s going on but also to set up some neighborhood security as well as utilizing skills they might have that you don’t.
2. Put together all the gear and people you need for movement. You may already be where you are planning to stay, and if you are, you will want to immediately fill everything that will hold water: tubs, sinks, outdoor cookware, jars, buckets and anything else that you can trust to hold water. Gather all of your must have gear and bug out bags into a primary location in the event that you have to leave quickly. Your plan must include preparations for leaving at some point. Even if you’d like to stay in your home, and have equipped it to do so, there could come a time when that is no longer feasible. Anyone else who might travel with you must also have all their gear together as well.
3. Set up a means of communication with your team or the people you are traveling with. Planning for this in advance is always best and a good handheld radio is the absolute best option. There are lots of them on the market, but try to find something that is waterproof or weatherproof, durable, easy to pack and easy to charge. Battery powered units are ok as long as you have the extra batteries for when they discharge. If radios are not part of your gear, for whatever reason, have a central point at which to leave a message, preferably that you have predetermined and leave a message there for anyone who is do be in your party. An example might be to bend a particular road sign in a certain predetermined manner.
4. Move to your predetermined gathering place. However, you also have to have a secondary place preplanned as well, because there are a variety of reasons your primary gathering spot may not be useable. In a SHTF situation, any number of variables can occur and you have to, as far as it is in your power, plan for the worst, even in the midst of your plan. Have a means of leaving a message at the place you were suppose to be for anyone who might arrive after you with directions to where you’re going. And example would be arranging rocks in the form of a number, with an arrow scratched in whatever direction you are going, indicating that you have gone that many miles in that direction.
5. Once you have a base determined, establishing security is the next step. Put people on your perimeter first and then establish a plan for improving other security features as well as who will be responsible for what. There may be some in your group that know how to use weapons better than others and these are the people you want to utilize in the event that people have arrived to do you harm. Nevertheless, everyone should have a job. Find out what it is, and assign that to them.
6. Take inventory. Once your defense system is set up you will want to determine exactly what you have as far as gear and skills are concerned, as well as what you don’t, what your immediate skills might be, whether medical treatment, water, etc., what you have access to in your general vicinity that can be of use or not and finally, what is within your extended range that be helpful or problematic. At this time, you will also want to go back to the ham radio, if you have one, and scan the frequencies for any information that might be helpful. In this way, you can determine what is presently going on, what might be looming in the future, and whether or not you can handle the situation from your current location.
7. Once you are all together, and things have settled for the moment, you will definitely want to decide for your next plan of action. Are you staying where you are or heading to another location? Some other things you will want to think about are: what you should do if others approach you, whether or not you should be moving to an unaffected area even if it’s a long journey, and if there is an immediate threat in your current location.
Do You Have a SHTF Plan?
Continue looping these points, especially as far as collecting information and establishing security are concerned.
Developing your own SHTF plan is essential for the safety of you and your family, so it is vital that you prepare now and before emergency strikes.
The best thing about prepping is it does not take long and it does not cost a lot of money to keep your family safe. Here is our basic SHTF survival list for every bug out bag.