‘Are you ready for when the SHTF?’ As a survivalist, I've heard this phrase more times than I can count. For anyone who is still wondering about all these acronyms this one means when the ‘s**t hits the fan.’ This phrase, much like it's partner TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it), is used to describe a situation where all hell breaks loose, and there is a total breakdown of law and order. Personally, I never want to be stuck in a SHTF situation. Especially with my young family it's a very dangerous spot to be in as the thin veil of society drops to reveal the ugly nature of humanity. Remember the calamity that New Orleans went through after Hurricane Katrina? That was a SHTF scenario. For the typical survivalist, we've got all the minor incidents covered. If my utilities are cut off for a couple of days, I'll be fine with my generator and stockpiled water. If my car breaks down, I've got enough tools on hand to get it operational, alongside my get-home bag which has enough supplies to keep me alive, happy and fed for at least 72 hours. But what about a bigger crisis? Would you be able to determine when it's the right time to flee your home, or would you leave it too late and find yourself stuck in traffic, or walking through empty supermarkets that have had their shelves wiped clean. Everyone who makes the conscious decision to prep for a disaster is concerned for the well being of their family and themselves, and being able to identify the warning signs of a SHTF scenario can give you an edge over everyone else. The hard part is actually defining when an event becomes a SHTF scenario. Especially if it's not a nation or state-wide disaster, a massive terrorist attack on New York is going to have very few ‘real’ repercussions for Americans who live in Los Angeles. If you live in New York, this is going to be a completely different story as you may now be facing forced evacuations, food shortages and all of the fallout from the attacks as the city tries to regain order. Every situation needs to be taken within your own local context.
Early warning signsThe best way to stay prepared is to remain vigilant. Being updated on the local news and pulse of your city gives you an insight that allows you to determine when it's time to kick your ‘survival mode’ into gear. There are many triggers which can influence a SHTF event, and all of these need to be evaluated against the real impact they will have on your community. Everything depends on the crisis you face. What may be happening in your town could be a very different situation to other towns in the country, which is why it's important to make your own assessment based on the information you have available.
- Large-scale blackouts across your region, lasting weeks at a time
- The media/press is censored from providing updates
- Martial law is declared and enforced
- Police are going door to door to confiscate registered weapons
- Banks place restrictions on the money you can withdraw
- Terrorist attacks on your home soil, in your local area
- A viral outbreak that is not able to be contained
- EMP devices are set off that cause massive power failures across the state
- Meltdown of a nuclear reactor
- Any number of natural disasters (flooding, fires, tsunami, hurricanes)