Surviving the Unthinkable: Essential Strategies for When SHTF

By MakeSurvival - November 13, 2023
Surviving the Unthinkable: Essential Strategies for When SHTF

Surviving a catastrophic event, whether it be natural or man-made, is something that many of us fear and hope we never have to experience. However, in today's uncertain world, being prepared for the worst is essential. This article will provide you with the necessary strategies to survive when SHTF and give you peace of mind in uncertain times.

Key Takeaways:

  • Have a game plan for potential SHTF scenarios, including natural disasters, pandemics, economic collapse, cyber attacks, and civil unrest.
  • Stock up on supplies, learn basic survival skills, have a bug out bag ready, establish a network, stay informed, and stay physically and mentally fit.
  • The most important items to have in a survival kit include water and water purification tools, non-perishable food, first aid kit, and shelter and warmth supplies.

What Does SHTF Stand For?

SHTF, or "Shit Hits The Fan", is a colloquial expression that refers to a catastrophic event or situation where everything goes wrong. This term is commonly used in the prepping and survivalist communities to describe scenarios such as natural disasters, economic collapse, or societal unrest. It emphasizes the need for individuals to be prepared and self-reliant in a state of emergency. Knowing the meaning of SHTF is essential for those who prioritize being ready for unexpected circumstances.

A prime historical example of an SHTF event is the Great Fire of London in 1666. The fire originated in a small bakery and quickly spread due to strong winds and the city's narrow streets. In just four days, the fire destroyed thousands of buildings and left nearly 100,000 people homeless. This disaster brought the people of London together, leading to the rebuilding of the city and the implementation of new fire safety measures that are still in use today.

What Are The Types Of SHTF Scenarios?

When it comes to preparing for emergencies, it's important to consider all potential scenarios. In this section, we'll take a closer look at the different types of SHTF (shit hits the fan) situations that could occur. From natural disasters that bring extreme circumstances and lasting damage, to pandemics that could affect post-pandemic generations on a global scale, to economic collapse that leaves individuals laid off and struggling to survive, we'll cover it all. We'll also discuss the potential consequences of a cyber attack that could leave us without vital resources, as well as the chaos and uncertainty of civil unrest. Buckle up, because we're about to dive into some intense and thought-provoking topics.

1. Natural Disasters

a wildfire and hurricane aftermath scene with abandoned cars, smoke and debris on a street

When it comes to surviving natural disasters and extreme circumstances, being prepared is crucial. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Stay informed: Keep track of weather alerts, evacuation orders, and emergency instructions.
  2. Create an emergency plan: Determine evacuation routes, establish a meeting point, and communicate the plan with family members.
  3. Stock up on supplies: Have essential items like food, water, flashlights, batteries, and a first aid kit.
  4. Secure your home: Reinforce doors and windows, clear gutters, and trim trees to minimize potential damage.
  5. Have an emergency kit: Include items like blankets, a radio, a whistle, and a multi-tool.
  6. Know how to turn off utilities: Learn how to shut off gas, water, and electricity in case of emergencies.
  7. Prepare for specific threats: For example, if you live in an area prone to volcanic eruptions, secure heavy furniture and have a plan for aftershocks.

History has shown us the devastating impact of natural disasters. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD buried the city of Pompeii, leaving lasting damage and a preserved snapshot of ancient life.

2. Pandemics

an eerie scene of a group of people walking in a urban setting during  pandemic while wearing masks

During a pandemic, it is crucial to take certain steps to increase your chances of survival and protect your health. Here are some important strategies to consider:

  1. Follow official guidelines and stay informed about the latest updates regarding the health crisis.
  2. Practice good hygiene by washing your hands frequently and properly.
  3. Maintain social distancing to minimize the risk of infection.
  4. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves.
  5. Stock up on essential supplies, including food, water, and medication.
  6. Stay connected with loved ones and support each other during these challenging times.
  7. Seek medical help if you experience symptoms or suspect you have been exposed to the virus.
  8. Stay physically and mentally fit by exercising, eating well, and managing stress.
  9. Adapt to the changing circumstances and be prepared for the challenges that may arise.

Remember, while pandemics can be devastating, they are not the actual apocalypse. By taking these steps and remaining vigilant, you can navigate through this health crisis and contribute to building a stronger future for post-pandemic generations.

3. Economic Collapse

worthless dollar bills in a pile on the ground after an economic collapse

In the event of an economic collapse, it is important to be prepared and take necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.

  1. Assess your financial situation: Evaluate your savings, investments, and debts to understand your financial standing.
  2. Secure your assets: Diversify your investments, consider tangible assets like gold or real estate, and protect your savings in a secure bank.
  3. Reduce expenses: Cut unnecessary spending, create a budget, and prioritize essential expenses.
  4. Develop alternative income sources: Look for additional job opportunities, start a side business, or acquire new skills to increase your employability.
  5. Stock up on essential supplies: Build a stockpile of non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, and other necessities to sustain during an economic crisis.
  6. Prepare for disruptions: Have backup power supplies, alternative communication methods, and learn basic repair skills to handle potential infrastructure failures.
  7. Stay informed: Follow reliable news sources to stay updated on economic developments and be proactive in adapting to changing circumstances.
  8. Seek guidance: Utilize in-depth guides and resources to gain knowledge about surviving an economic collapse.

Remember, an economic collapse can rear its ugly head and be devastating, but with proper preparation and resilience, you can navigate through challenging times.

4. Cyber Attack

a shady hacker figure with his back turned to the camera in a dark room with brightly lit computer monitors on either side of him

A cyber attack can be a highly disruptive event, but there are steps you can take to mitigate its impact:

  1. Ensure strong network security measures are in place, including firewalls and up-to-date antivirus software.
  2. Regularly back up important data and systems to an offline storage device.
  3. Train employees on cybersecurity best practices, such as recognizing phishing emails and using strong passwords.
  4. Have a response plan in place, including clear communication channels and designated roles.
  5. Stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and implement necessary updates and patches to prevent over capacity.

History has shown the devastating effects of cyber attacks. The 2017 cyber attack on the Ukrainian power grid caused a widespread blackout, leaving thousands without power for hours. It serves as a reminder of the importance of preparedness in such situations.

5. Civil Unrest

a dramatic civil unrest scene with a group of people looting an urban area with fires in the background

During civil unrest, it is crucial to prioritize safety and security. Here are steps to take during such situations:

  1. Stay informed about local conditions and follow official guidance.
  2. Secure your home by reinforcing doors and windows.
  3. Stock up on essential supplies like food, water, and medications.
  4. Establish a communication plan with family and friends.
  5. Avoid unnecessary travel and large crowds.
  6. Maintain a low profile and be cautious of sharing personal information.
  7. Consider joining community groups for support and assistance.
  8. Stay calm and avoid confrontations whenever possible.
  9. Be prepared for the tip of the iceberg and have a contingency plan in place.

Civil unrest has occurred throughout history, from riots and revolutions to significant chaos. Examples include the French Revolution, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, and the Arab Spring. These events were often the tip of the iceberg, representing underlying social and political tensions. While fictional scenarios like zombie invasions or city-wide blackouts may capture our imagination, real-life civil unrest requires preparedness and caution to ensure personal safety.

What Are The Essential Strategies For Surviving SHTF?

When disaster strikes, it's important to have a plan in place to increase your chances of survival. In this section, we will discuss the essential strategies for surviving when SHTF (shit hits the fan). From creating a game plan for different emergency situations to stockpiling necessary supplies to learning basic survival skills, we'll cover all the necessary steps to prepare for potential SHTF scenarios such as zombie invasions or global crises. Additionally, we'll explore the importance of having a bug out bag, a network of support, and staying physically and mentally fit in extreme circumstances. Finally, we'll emphasize the need to have a safe haven and to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

1. Have a Plan

Having a well-thought-out plan is crucial when preparing for emergency situations or potential SHTF scenarios. Here is a list of steps to help you create a solid game plan:

  1. Assess potential threats and identify the most likely scenarios you may encounter, such as natural disasters, pandemics, economic collapse, cyber attacks, or civil unrest.
  2. Research and gather information about each scenario to understand its characteristics and specific risks.
  3. Create an emergency communication plan to stay in touch with your family or network during a crisis.
  4. Develop evacuation routes and establish meeting points for different situations.
  5. Prepare a comprehensive emergency kit with essential supplies like water, non-perishable food, first aid items, shelter, navigation tools, communication devices, self-defense weapons, and necessary tools.
  6. Train yourself and your family in basic survival skills like first aid, fire starting, water procurement, navigation, self-defense, foraging, and communication.
  7. Regularly update and review your plan to adapt to changing circumstances.
  8. Practice drills and simulations to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
  9. Maintain a level-headed mindset and be prepared for the worst-case scenarios, even if they seem unlikely, like zombie invasions.

2. Stock Up on Supplies

Stocking up on supplies is crucial for surviving SHTF scenarios. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Assess your needs: Determine how much food, water, and other essentials your family will require for a specific timeframe.
  2. Create a stockpile: Build a reserve of non-perishable food, water, medical supplies, and other necessary items.
  3. Rotate supplies: Regularly check expiration dates and use and replace items to ensure freshness.
  4. Diversify storage: Store supplies in multiple locations to minimize risk of loss or theft.
  5. Secure transportation: Keep your vehicle fueled and in good condition to avoid winding lines at gas stations during emergencies.

During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, stockpiling supplies became crucial as empty grocery shelves and disrupted supply chains made access to necessities extremely difficult.

3. Learn Basic Survival Skills

Learning basic survival skills is crucial for anyone preparing for SHTF scenarios. Here are some important steps to consider:

  1. Start with the basics: Learn how to build a shelter, start a fire, and find and purify water.
  2. Master navigation: Develop skills in map reading, compass use, and navigating without modern technology.
  3. Acquire self-defense skills: Learn how to handle and use weapons for protection.
  4. Investigate foraging and hunting: Understand how to identify edible plants, set traps, and hunt for food.
  5. Develop resourcefulness: Learn to adapt to changing situations and make the most of available resources.
  6. Cultivate self-sufficiency: Acquire skills in growing food, preserving food, and basic medical care.
  7. Practice survival scenarios: Regularly test your skills by simulating survival situations.

Remember, learning survival skills is an ongoing process. Continuously strive to improve and expand your knowledge in order to increase your chances of surviving SHTF scenarios.

4. Have a Bug Out Bag Ready

Having a bug out bag ready is essential for surviving SHTF scenarios. Here are the steps to prepare one:

  1. Choose a durable and waterproof bag.
  2. Include essential shelter and warmth supplies like a tent, sleeping bag, and extra clothing.
  3. Pack navigation tools such as a compass and maps of the area.
  4. Include communication devices like a portable radio or satellite phone.
  5. Pack essential survival items like a multi-tool, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  6. Include personal hygiene items like toilet paper, soap, and hand sanitizer.
  7. Pack enough food and water for at least three days.
  8. Include a first aid kit with necessary medications and supplies.
  9. Remember to pack any necessary prescription medications.

5. Establish a Network

Establishing a network is crucial for surviving SHTF scenarios. Here are steps to build a reliable network during challenging times:

  1. Connect with like-minded individuals who share survival interests and goals.
  2. Exchange knowledge and skills to enhance self-sufficiency and resourcefulness.
  3. Create a communication plan to stay connected and informed.
  4. Establish a system for sharing resources and supporting one another.
  5. Regularly communicate and coordinate with your network to ensure collective security and survival.

By establishing a strong network, you increase your chances of surviving and thriving during SHTF situations. Remember, collaboration and communication are key to overcoming challenges and building resilience.

6. Stay Informed

Staying informed is crucial in emergency situations and potential SHTF scenarios that can escalate to global proportions. Here are steps to ensure you stay informed:

  1. Keep a reliable source of news: Regularly check trusted news outlets for updates on current events and potential threats.
  2. Follow official channels: Stay updated with information from government agencies, emergency management organizations, and local authorities.
  3. Monitor communication platforms: Utilize social media, emergency alert systems, and community forums to receive real-time updates from reliable sources.
  4. Sign up for alerts: Register for emergency notifications and alerts through text messages, email, or apps to receive timely information about potential dangers.
  5. Join community groups: Engage with local emergency response groups or neighborhood watch programs to stay informed about local developments and share information.

7. Stay Physically and Mentally Fit

Staying physically and mentally fit is crucial when facing extreme circumstances during a SHTF scenario. Here are some steps to prioritize your fitness in such situations:

  1. Exercise regularly: Engage in physical activities like walking, running, or bodyweight exercises to maintain strength and endurance.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet: Consume nutritious food and stay hydrated to ensure optimal physical and mental functioning.
  3. Practice stress management: Learn relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to cope with the stress and uncertainty.
  4. Stay connected: Maintain social connections with loved ones to provide emotional support during challenging times.
  5. Seek professional help: If experiencing a health crisis or struggling with mental well-being, reach out to healthcare professionals or support networks.
  6. Grieve and heal: If facing the loss of someone close, allow yourself time to grieve and consider seeking counseling to navigate through the mourning process.

8. Have a Safe Haven

A safe haven is crucial for survival in life-altering scenarios or an actual apocalypse. Here are steps to establish one:

  1. Location: Choose a remote area away from densely populated areas and potential danger zones.
  2. Security: Fortify your safe haven with strong barriers, surveillance systems, and self-defense measures.
  3. Resources: Stockpile essential supplies such as food, water, medical kits, and tools for self-sufficiency.
  4. Self-sustainability: Cultivate a garden, raise livestock, and generate renewable energy sources.
  5. Community: Establish a network of trustworthy individuals who can support each other during the actual apocalypse.

Remember, surviving SHTF requires careful planning and preparation. Stay vigilant and adaptable to increase your chances of survival.

9. Be Prepared for the Worst

Being prepared for the worst is crucial in emergency situations and potential SHTF scenarios. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you're ready for an actual apocalypse:

  1. Create a detailed emergency plan, including evacuation routes and communication strategies.
  2. Stock up on essential supplies like food, water, and medical provisions.
  3. Learn basic survival skills such as first aid, fire starting, and navigation.
  4. Have a bug out bag ready with necessary items for a quick evacuation.
  5. Establish a network of trusted individuals for support and assistance.
  6. Stay informed about current events and potential risks.
  7. Maintain physical and mental fitness to handle challenging situations.
  8. Identify and secure a safe haven where you can seek shelter if needed.
  9. Remember, being prepared for the worst doesn't mean living in fear, but rather being proactive and ready to face any unexpected challenges.

Fact: According to a survey, only 39% of Americans have an emergency plan in place for their households.

What Are The Most Important Items to Have in a Survival Kit?

a well stocked survival backpack with it's contents on display surrounding the backpack

In times of crisis, having a well-stocked survival kit can mean the difference between life and death. But with limited space and resources, what are the most important items to include? In this section, we will discuss the top three essential items to have in a survival kit: water and water purification tools, non-perishable food, and a first aid kit. These items are crucial for sustaining oneself during emergencies, whether it be due to natural disasters or societal collapse.

1. Water and Water Purification Tools

Water and Water Purification Tools: Essential for Survival

  • Store Water: Keep an emergency supply of at least one gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation purposes, especially in situations of over capacity.
  • Purification Methods: Learn various techniques such as boiling, using water filters, or adding purification tablets to make water safe to consume.
  • Rainwater Collection: Set up rain barrels or tarps to collect rainwater during emergencies.
  • Find Natural Sources: Locate nearby rivers, streams, or lakes as potential water sources, but ensure proper purification.
  • Water Conservation: Practice water conservation strategies to minimize the risk of running out of water.

Fact: In extreme situations, people can survive without food for weeks, but only a few days without water. It's crucial to prioritize water procurement and purification to stay hydrated and healthy.

2. Non-perishable Food

When preparing for SHTF scenarios, it is crucial to stock up on non-perishable food items to ensure survival during unexpected emergency situations. Here is a list of essential non-perishable food items to include in your survival kit:

  • Canned goods: Choose a variety of canned vegetables, fruits, and proteins like tuna or chicken.
  • Dehydrated foods: Opt for dehydrated fruits, vegetables, and meats that have a long shelf life.
  • Granola bars: These provide a quick source of energy and are easy to store.
  • Peanut butter: Rich in protein and healthy fats, peanut butter is a versatile and long-lasting food item.
  • Rice and pasta: These staples can be stored for a long time and provide a good source of carbohydrates.
  • Dried beans and lentils: High in protein and fiber, these can be cooked easily and last a long time.
  • Nuts and seeds: Packed with nutrients and healthy fats, these are great for snacking and adding to meals.
  • Crackers and cereal: These dry goods can be easily stored and provide a quick and filling meal option.
  • Powdered milk: A good source of calcium and protein, powdered milk is a versatile ingredient for cooking or drinking.

By stockpiling these non-perishable food items, you can ensure that you have a sufficient food supply even when faced with empty grocery shelves during unforeseen emergency situations.

3. First Aid Kit

A well-stocked first aid kit is crucial for surviving SHTF scenarios and navigating health crises in extreme circumstances. Be sure to include essentials like bandages, antiseptic solution, adhesive tape, pain relievers, and sterile gloves in your kit. It is also important to have medications for chronic conditions and any necessary prescription medications. Familiarize yourself with basic first aid techniques such as wound care, CPR, and treating fractures. Remember to regularly check and restock your kit, and consider enrolling in a first aid training course for even greater preparedness.

Fun fact: During natural disasters, injuries from falling debris and contaminated water are common, making a well-equipped first aid kit a lifesaver.

Shelter and Warmth Supplies In a drawn out situation where you may need to weather it out for an extended period of time, having the necessary shelter and warmth supplies is crucial. These supplies can help protect you from the elements and ensure your survival. In this section, we will discuss the essential shelter and warmth supplies that you should have on hand in case of an emergency. We will cover the importance of water and water purification tools, non-perishable food, and a first aid kit, and how these supplies can help you survive in extreme circumstances.


What does SHTF stand for?

SHTF stands for "Shit Hits the Fan."

What are the worst SHTF guns to have during an emergency?

The worst SHTF guns are those that are difficult to maintain, have limited ammo capacity, and are not versatile for different situations. It's important to have a reliable and efficient firearm in case of an emergency.

What is the literal sense of SHTF?

The literal sense of SHTF is when a catastrophic event occurs and life as we know it is turned upside down. This can include natural disasters, pandemics, economic collapse, acts of war, and more.

What is the true meaning of SHTF beyond the prepper slang?

The true meaning of SHTF is to be prepared for any dire situation that can cause chaos and stress. It involves stockpiling supplies, learning survival skills, and having a plan in place for different emergency scenarios.

What should I do if my life is turned upside down due to an SHTF event?

If you find yourself in an SHTF situation, it's important to stay calm and refer to your emergency plan. Make sure you have enough supplies to sustain yourself and your family, and be prepared to adapt to the changing conditions.

What situations can be considered life-altering SHTF scenarios?

Life-altering SHTF scenarios include natural disasters, pandemics, economic collapse, acts of war, EMP attacks, cyber attacks, and martial law. These events can have long-lasting effects and cause major disruptions to society.

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