Planning for SHTF: What to Expect When Things Go South

Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

First, let me tell you a bit about my experiences and explain my reasons for writing about SHTF planning. That way, you will know what I say is true.

First, my experiences. I served for 15 years in the British Army during the 1990s in Yugoslavia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. I saw firsthand what happens to human nature and society when everything goes to hell.

As for my reasons, I’m somewhat tired of people painting a rosy picture of what they expect might happen in a major terrorist attack, civil emergency, or severe natural disaster.

Don’t get me wrong.

People have been preparing for SHTF with impeccable plans for food, shelter, and similar. However, they seem to think everyone will remain reasonably well behaved and keep observing the rules of  “polite society.” So in a way, this is a thesis on human nature.

Will it offend?

I hope not.

Will it shock?

I hope so.

If what I write makes one person revise a plan and, as a result, saves a life or the lives of a family, then it will have been well worth the time it has taken to type this.

What is SHTF?

SHTF stands for “Shit Hits the Fan.” As in all hell breaks loose. The worst of the worst has come to pass. It’s a common acronym in the prepper community.

Examples of SHTF Scenarios

Most preppers think of apocalypse-type events when they think of SHTF. How many ways could something like this happen? Let me count the ways:

These are just a few examples.

What should I do immediately after SHTF?

The first thing you’ll do is address any life-threatening circumstances. Once those are addressed, you’ll likely want to try to gather your family together, if possible and unless you had prior arrangements about what to do. Then, you’re probably going to answer a question.

Do we bug out, or do we stay put?

If you choose to bug out…

In the event of ANY situation where the Emergency Broadcasting System goes into action for real, the accepted policy of both law enforcement and the military is a policy of containment, not suppression. Curfews may be established, also.

In other words, if a specific area has something terrible happen, the National Guard and police will cordon off the area with roadblocks and road closures. This crimps any plans of “bugging out” unless you have alternative routes laid out that avoid major bridges and roads leading out of the affected area.

Also, on this topic, don’t be too surprised to see police and military helicopters patrolling areas of ground too rough to drive over, watching for people heading out of the affected area on foot. These helicopters carry FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) imaging systems to pick out body heat or see, even in total darkness.

Most major road arteries will be closed and patrolled by law enforcement and National Guard elements. They’ll have orders to stop, search, detain, or turn back anyone they find.

So, plan your routes well, have at least three ways out, and make sure you go for a drive and check them out regularly.

TIP: Plan for both urgent and planned evacuations. The first allows you minutes, possibly just seconds, to get out, while the other affords more time for packing and taking care of more details. Read more about these two types of evacuations here.

Where do you bug out?

The time for planning where to go when SHTF is NOT when SHTF.

If you’re bugging out, you should already know where you’re going. However, where you go is a personal decision influenced by many factors. So, if you don’t yet have a bug-out location but want to, you must devote some serious effort to identifying and acquiring your bug-out property.

If you choose to stay put…

Hunkering down may be the better option for you. Here are five reasons you might choose this:

  1. Higher security
  2. Knowledge of the neighborhood
  3. Knowledge of terrain layout in the surrounding area
  4. Home base as more supplies and resources
  5. People who love you will look there first

This article discusses these five reasons in much more detail.

Planning for SHTF Regardless of Your Location

For those of us who plan to stay where we live, nearly all local emergency services will be busy keeping the local government safe and sound or working at the site of the disaster.

Inevitably, a somewhat distasteful topic comes up. This part brings back some very unpleasant memories of seeing it firsthand and the after effects.

How will you keep what you own and keep your loved ones safe from looters and pillagers?

If you don’t think this will happen, guess what? Go see what happened during the Los Angeles riots or after Katrina in New Orleans.

If you don’t know what I’m going on about, allow me to explain.

In Los Angeles, gangs and others looted everything of value they could lay their hands on from stores and houses. In New Orleans, a regular Army airborne unit was brought in to patrol the streets and deter looting.

How would a pillager or looter choose or find targets?

  1. They will listen for sounds of hand tools or engines being used.
  2. They’ll smell things like wood smoke or cooking.
  3. At night, they’ll look for lights because this usually means life.
  4. They’ll have a scanner to listen for insecure radio traffic from things like walkie-talkies.
  5. They will use optical devices day and night to look for movement, especially near water sources or woods.

Once a group like this finds you, expect to be scouted. This might be an observation post or a probe if the group is big enough. They would look for things like:

  1. How many people are in the home or community?
  2. How many weapons do they have, and what type?
  3. How many defenders are there?
  4. Who seems to be in charge?
  5. Does the target have any patrols or regular movements that can be expected?
  6. Do they have any defensive emplacements or dogs?

How might an attack transpire?

When it’s time, an attack will first target any leader or owners of any heavier weapons.

If they can get close enough, any defensive structures will get a petrol bomb, grenade, or CS gas canister thrown into it. (Yeah, you can buy CS gas grenades online for general sale.) Any lone defenders will be isolated and eliminated.

However, if things are not going well, any first group will draw off and wait and watch how the defenders respond. A large number of injured take up much more resources and lower morale. If numbers are in their favor, the attacker will encircle the position and try to eliminate a few defenders any chance they get.

If you have a defensive position set up, a good counter plan is to have a trench or something similar with a grenade sump. Then, ensure every person in your group has a gas mask on them at all times.

Also, make sure any building has fire fighting equipment for flammable liquids. If worst comes to the worst and a fighting retreat is needed to avoid losing everything you own except what you have on you, pre-pack a backpack of equipment with something like this:

  1. Personal first aid kit
  2. Spare magazines, ammo, and cleaning kit
  3. Personal survival equipment
  4. Full change of clothes
  5. Food and water

This gives you the basics to survive if you were driven out of your shelter or structure. The list is by no means comprehensive but gives you a general idea.

TIP: For a full list of suggested survival supplies, click here for a free printable.

How does the average prepper family survive a disaster AND also survive the locals, too?

This raises the issue:  If a person or family who are preppers tells a neighbor, “Oh, we are ready for whatever comes up,” you can bet that person will go and tell maybe a dozen others.

Then when SHTF, that person will immediately have a moment of perfect memory recall, and with those others, come and pay you a visit. They or may not be armed and will most likely not be interested in the statement, “It’s for my family and me to use.”

How do you prevent that?

First, not talking about it to anyone who is not 100% trusted comes to mind. This might seem insulting, BUT it has a precedent.

During World War II, posters were put up saying, “Careless talk costs lives” and “Loose lips sink ships.”  You might not have a ship, but the life it might cost could be yours, your spouse, or your child—just something to think on.

What threats do you suppose could be out there beyond the lonesome guy four doors down who suddenly craves foodstuffs he assumes you might have?

  1. Well, how about your not-so-friendly garden variety drug-dependent thug, for one. It might be a prescription or illegal drug dependency, but it doesn’t matter once their supply is gone and withdrawal sets in. Then, they’ll become desperate and go to any lengths and dare anything to try and obtain whatever it was they usually take.
  2. Also, many people who suffer from psychological issues live at home. Any major SHTF scenario presents the possibility of very scared, paranoid, and desperate people exiting their homes for reasons of survival. Please factor that into your thinking, too.

NOTE: These drug-dependent folks might be your friendly neighbor or grocery cashier, who just happens to also be on medication for a significant emotional or mental disorder. In many, many cases, you can’t tell the difference by their appearance or your casual interactions with them.

The Threat of Well-organized Gangs

On the other extreme, you have the threat posed by gangs who already have access to firearms and other weapons and have the attitude and propensity for using violence at a second’s notice.

They have a well-organized social structure based on violence. You can fully expect them to wheel out their whole arsenal of weapons and crappy attitudes without local law enforcement to keep them in check. In some cases, gangs have more firepower than local police. They will have no hesitation looting any abandoned building they find or robbing anyone they see.

Equally, they will have no problem entering a home, even if occupied and taking anything they want from the occupants by force. As distasteful as it sounds, I’m afraid that will include crimes against female members in your household. They run the risk of being taken away by said gang members for their “entertainment,” being molested, or raped. It’s extreme sounding, I know, but it has happened in the past in other places.

As a result, the dug-in prepper has absolutely nothing to lose when facing this threat. The gloves are off, and all nicety should be packed away, along with any thought of reasoning with animals like this. Work as a team and shoot to kill.

Protect Your ‘Fort’ with Force

When planning for SHTF, you’ll need some way to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your home.

Firearms for Self-defense

What is the “ideal” caliber or system for defending yourself or your family?

That’s the $10,000 question. You could write several books on the subject and still argue the issue.

I say a firearm style and caliber — anything you are either familiar or comfortable with — should be your go-to defensive weapons.

Given my time in the Army, I prefer the calibers and weapons I used during my time in uniform. These choices, however, should reflect how you want to use them. An AR15 is an excellent rifle, but a shotgun is a better choice inside a house.

Older Weapons can be Options

On the topic of personal choice, it’s an excellent idea to consider former service rifles as far back as World War I. Yes, they might be nearly 100 years old and not be black or have polymer or have all the whistles, bells, and gadgets of a brand new tricked-out AR15. However, not that many of us have $1,000 or more to spend on a new rifle or handgun.

You need to remember that these weapons were picked for war.  Yes, they might be old, but even back when the Army used them, they were lethal. They haven’t changed over the years.

The WWII Russian Rifle Mosin Nagant

An excellent example of this is the WWII Russian rifles made by Mosin Nagant. They have a 5-shot magazine and fire a 7.62mm bullet that hits just as hard as a 30.06. They travel to 1,000 meters or drop a bear without many problems.

One supplier I’ve used is Century Arms International. They offer a variety of former military rifles and are pretty reasonably priced. I found this out firsthand as I could not afford a basic AR15 and instead was able to get a rifle that fired a 7.62 NATO round and never quits on me.

The Benefits of a Bayonet

While on the subject of former military rifles, it’s a good idea, if your rifle has a bayonet lug, to invest the time and trouble finding the bayonet for the rifle. This would give you a helpful tool for everyday chopping, cutting, etc. However, it’s also a very effective weapon psychologically and physically if a bad guy got too close.

Trust me. If he sees that his target has a fixed bayonet on the end of their rifle, he will think twice about showing himself. The thought of getting impaled on a bayonet sends a shiver down even a seasoned combat veteran’s spine.

Once you are in your “fort,” how would someone get in from the outside? 

Another point to consider for house preppers is how others might enter from outside. You can bet the first place they’ll do is look for a garage or shed out in the backyard. 

It might sound old-fashioned, but an old container of gasoline thrown through a window will drive you out of that house as sure as if a bomb had been dropped on it. Chances are, if you have a storage area, you also have a can of gasoline on hand for the lawnmower.


I can’t stress this enough. In any significant SHTF event, many people won’t make it simply because they cannot think outside the comfort zone of the “rules of civilized society.”

A large percentage of people will suddenly find themselves without the protection of society. When that happens they will no longer be at the top of the food chain. And unfortunately, there are people out there who will prey upon them without remorse for what they feel they need to survive.

I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve seen and heard this happening before, and it isn’t pretty.

READ MORE: Do you know the three warning signs that it’s too late to prep? Click here to find out what they are!

Guest post by D.T. Originally posted on November 1, 2011; updated and revised by Team Survival Mom.

132 thoughts on “Planning for SHTF: What to Expect When Things Go South”

  1. GoneWithTheWind

    Typically what posts like this and the popular books don't tell you is more shocking then what they do tell you. If it gets as bad as the worst case described then no worries because you will die. There is no home in this country that could stand up to an attack and your home will be your grave if you stay. On the other hand unless you are really skilled in living of the land and evading capture bugging out will get you killed. We better hope that whatever the SHTF situation looks like that it is not the worst case described in the post.

    1. People will die only if there not prepared. If you are a prepper then most likely u won’t die. I am a mother of 2 kids 2 dogs & one husband. I am a hot bad-ass prepper. That won’t die when shtf.


      P.S. survival

      1. I am a widow and I am getting ready too. Luckily for me , I have land in the mountains with a creek.
        I have several hiding places that people will NOT think of . But I will have to be careful not to have lights at night. I tell ya people , you better be getting serious like some of us are doing. This economy can’t keep going on like it is. The ones that didn’t prepare won’t be laughing anymore at the ones of us who planned for this. I love preppers.

      2. Ayla, honey, I regret to inform you cocky will get get you killed quick. I don’t care how prepared you are. Youjabe announced it to the world. Not a wise thing to do. Low profile os the key. I don’t care if you have enough ammo and food for 5 armies.
        You are making yourself a target. See bad ass that was an invitation to kick your ass.

    2. You hit it out of the park…bug’n in is a death sentence, Period, but people just won’t listen. It’s my home and I’ll never leave it. What a mess.

      1. The Survival Mom

        You’re partly right. 🙂

        There are many preparedness and survival minded people who truly have no choice but to hunker down. This could be due to physical limitations, ill family members, or, like tens of millions of Americans, they have no money at all to make a move from where they are. In a worst case scenario, it’s my hope that they will be able to find others who are like-minded and band together for survival.

        1. taxedn2poverty

          I know what you are saying, but the bottom line is almost all of the invalid people have someone that should be helping them and they just won’t. This is a no kidder, today I just finished dehydrating enough food to fill nine five gallon buckets for a lady with MS. The food is in the mylar now with oxygen absorbers, and the buckets are ready for storage. While her full grown children just sit and stare at Netflex, while refusing to lift a finger to help her. I have no intentions whatsoever of charging her for my time, electricity, or wear on my equipment. The trouble is, she still has no water stored, she sure can’t use a weapon to defend herself, and probably won’t make it through the first day of a real teotwaki situation. So why help: At least I can say I tried. That’s an old worn out saying, but what else can a person do? There is one more thing though. After teotwawki, if I catch those 30 year old “kids” consuming one ounce of that food, I’m gonna do something I would enjoy very, very much. Thanks for your website and God bless.

        2. I agree with you Mom. Some of us just won’t be able to hit the road after an apocalyptic event. There was a time when I had all those plans made and thankfully I never had to act on them but with my 68th birthday coming up soon those plans are no longer applicable.
          Most of my shtf materials and training have been transferred to my son and we’ve had the discussion about him taking care of his young family and letting the old man take care of himself. It wasn’t an easy subject to discuss but it was necessary.
          We have a secure bug out location about an hour away and if I can make it there; fine, if not I can dig in here.
          I figure if things get really bad the riff raff and gang bangers around here aren’t nearly as bad as the Vietcong were 50 years ago.

          1. The Survival Mom

            If past worst case scenarios teach us anything, it’s that survivors will be found everywhere, not just out in the boonies. There were plenty of people who survived the bombing of Berlin, the battles in Bosnia, and similar urban scenarios. I encourage people to prepare as best they can, link up with others, and not give up hope.

          2. The Survival Mom

            Merle, for what it’s worth, you would be an AWESOME neighbor to have! Perhaps some of your neighbors and acquaintances are preppers (you just don’t know it) and y’all could band together for mutual support and assistance.

          3. God bless you, Merle, for what you’re doing. These millenials who grew up in an era of streaming, UberEats and working remotely won’t have a clue what to do when something bad happens. Wait until they can’t get their Hungry Root delivery because of food shortages or can’t post their daily selfie because cell towers and internet go down. What WILL they do??

        3. The article mentions that we should not reveal to anyone that we are prepping. How do we find like-minded folks to form a group of protection if we are not to reveal our prepping plans?

          1. The Survival Mom

            Kim, that’s the $40,000 question, isn’t it. No one is going to survive completely on their own. You can network with other people who have similar interests, and that would be a good way to get started — gardening clubs, canning classes, Meet Up groups, maybe church women’s groups.

          2. This is the Catch-22 I see on social media. I follow various individuals who prep for information, how to’s, tips, tricks, etc from gardening to canning to making a compost bin. Anything to be more self sufficient. The problem is is that these accounts (I’m only on IG) have their photo, first name, state in their bio and scrolling through their feed you can piece together by their photos the outside of their home, how many kids they have, what town they shop in, a sticker on the back of their car with their kids’ school, not to mention photos of their land from animals, to garden, to solar panels, to water filtration system to a barn full of equipment and hunting stuff (translation: firearms) I don’t know if anyone is familiar with Prepper Princess on Youtube, but she actually had a viewer wind up on the doorestep of her new home because they were able to pinpoint her location using one of her outside videos then went on Zillow to narrow down recent home closings in her area and matched to her first name. There is one guy who does YT videos hooded and masked so his identity is protected and never shows all of his preps. If it goes sideways, followers of these prep accounts will know who has what and how much!

      2. Bugging in can be a death sentence, as fixed positions can always be ground down by a seige. Bugging out makes you a refugee, and they NEVER fare well in a crisis. Name your poision…

        1. The Survival Mom

          Exactly. I believe that all any of us can do is pray that we make the best decisions when the time comes, and then be at peace with the results and consequences.

        2. I can’t put up an effective counter comment to ‘pick your poison’. But i can say this. My degree is in History and the history of history is war, war, war. Nothing good has ever happened to the civilians domiciled in the cities and towns. The German Civilians were bombed into oblivion, suffering unspeakable tragedies. Hamburg and Dresden to name too. A good online movie to watch is “A Woman in Berlin”. But buried deep in history are those few that chose to bug out to an undisclosed location known only to them and most survived. Difficult indeed, but they did survive. Refugees walk the roads, and you are correct, being a refugee is not the way to go, but bugging in is suicide. History proves that point. God bless and thanks.

          1. Most of us will be forced into uneasy alliances. Too many people hear ‘survival group’ and think ‘commune’. Most raiders will avoid direct conftontations. They are more likely to try to pick off individuals iether alone or in small groups.

        3. You are all giving many good ideas to consider. No one knows everything, and no set of tactics works every time and everywhere, but having lived through several urban riots and numerous combat zone deployments, I recommend that you hunker down for the first 3-5 days of any major civil unrest, then consider going mobile, depending on your appraisal of the continuing or increasing threat.

          I recommend the above because in most situations, the major intensity of the destruction, looting, etc. subsides after 3-5 days due to people becoming tired and needing to rest and recover. Examples: LA 65, LA 92, Katrina, Ferguson & Baltimore.

          2 suggestions:

          1) Begin to build small elevated gardens (4ftHx2ftWx6ftL) around a couple of corner areas of your home. Using either railroad ties or masonry to keep about 2 feet of soil against your exterior walls will stop bullets, giving you protected areas inside your home where you can sleep. I especially suggest you do this around the outside of a bathroom area. Plant something like strawberries, carrots, potatoes, spinach, herbs, etc, that will grow year round.

          2) Develop a 4-man tactical team for mutual assistance & survival. It is not that difficult to find former military or police buddies. It’s best if they are family men, more likely to understand the need for mutual protection of women, children, elderly, and other vulnerable family members. Some women are better at this stuff than some men.

          Knowledge, Skills, Tools, Training, Training, Training! Go shooting together. Go hunting & fishing together. Buy or build a bow & arrows. Practice survival skills. Learn the edible, medicinal, & poisonous plants & animals of your area. Develop written contingency plans, maps of escape routes, rally points, and critical infra-structure, especially water. If you are not former military get a US Army Ranger manual and start practicing. Attend survival courses, shooting courses, etc. They are fun for the whole family. A few days of desert or winter survival training is an amazing, life-changing experience.

          1. The Survival Mom

            Those are all very good suggestions and I appreciate your perspective. Especially your mention of family. Too often on survival and prepper websites, it’s so male oriented that I wonder if the guys even think about how their grandiose plans will fall into place with babies, toddlers, a pregnant wife, special needs kid, etc. in the mix.

        1. The Survival Mom

          I agree. It’s not easy to form a survival community ahead of time when most people don’t see the need. Even preppers who are working toward this goal have a hard time finding people with whom they are truly compatible. One group that I know of couldn’t come to an agreement about anything — and that’s now when everything is peachy! It takes a long time to build trust.

    3. GWTW, you are correct. The likelihood that you, I, or anybody will survive the first 30 days of a full-on SHTF situation is below 30%, and more like 15%. And that is IF the person has fully and completely prepared, to include a full package of supplies (Water, Food, Security, Medical, opt Shelter, and Bug-out) and the necessary skills to implement these… and don’t forget a great deal of luck.
      Then you have the drawn-out (TEOTWAWKI) long-term resetting of society back to medieval rural pre-industrial times. This will require a great deal more skills, such that Daniel Boone or General Washington and Lewis/Clark had to have, to survive. Eventually, dysentery or the flu will take us all.
      But, that does not negate my responsibility to prepare and plan; to make the best of it. When I die a bloody and excruciating death, I will know I did my best and I did not shirk my duty.

  2. While bugging out by land might difficult due to police/military roadblocks, what about bugging out by air? Surely those of us with sport pilot licenses or those who are ultralight pilots (don't require a license) should be able to escape a containment area fairly easily.

    1. It may be possible to bug out by air, even if they close the airspace. But keep in mind how far the sound of an engine carries, and how far away others can see you. If they close the airspace, you will have to avoid being seen by whoever declared it closed, which means flying low and slow. That's dangerous even in clear skies with the grid up. With the grid down you may lose navigational gear, you will have a limited fuel supply, unless you have military experience you certainly won't have practiced this kind of flying, and there is a possibility of drawing ground fire. You should also remember that when you are landing, it may be as little as a few minutes before people show up to find out why you chose to land "there." Having said that, bugging out by air probably isn't any better or worse than any other way. People have to consider their personal situation, balance out the pros and cons, and make their own decision.

    2. Are you stockpiling fuel? Where? Protected how? Protecting your neighbors how (lucky hit equals fireball equals you’re a bad neighbor). How do you get to your airfield? How do you prevent an enemy drone from taking you down? What about your enemy having shoulder-launched RPGs? etc etc etc

      1. The Survival Mom

        Jojo, for long term survival in a worst case scenario, there are no easy answers. I think the advantage of prepping, any type of prepping, is that it will buy time until the initial chaos dies down. At that point, groups and communities will have to figure out how best to come together in order to survive. Some will, some won’t. At any given moment, post-SHTF, there will be a million different variables and life will be completely unpredictable. A scenario as you describe, an airplane being shot down, could happen — and then again, it might not. Who’s to say that “the enemy” will be more organized and better equipped? Too many variables to know anything for sure at this point.

        1. Mom, You are right that “there are no easy answers”. Prepping does many things. Prepping invigorates us and gives us a sense of purpose, despite the nay-sayers. Prepping does indeed help us be ready for the personal, short-term crisis. And it does give us the means to practice our skills and learn what does not work. I think a key is to practice in real conditions… go camping.
          In reality, as you say, there will be countless “different variables” that are unpredictable. The best-laid plans will likely be worthless a second after the bad guys test your metal. But being organized and practiced will give you the best chance for survival, surviving only for the next threat. It will be indeed a fight. Likely every day, against enemies you never knew existed, and against those who you thought were neighbors or Americans.
          Just get prepared, and be prepared, then… increase your preparedness.

  3. Dang, that scared me. The strategic annihilation of innocent people shocks me, even though I realize that it will be a reality in certain situations. I still have a very hard time coming to grips with it or hearing it. It gives me daymares.

    (BTW, I am not the DT who wrote this post!)

  4. Mike in Virginia

    GoneWithTheWind, a better take-away from this post might be that a SOLO prepper or a SMALL GROUP in a normal suburban setting simply will never survive against a larger, organized gang of attackers. A lot of preppers don't want to hear it, but in this type of SHTF situation you really do need the resources of a reasonable-sized community. Say, 20 or 30 houses/families minimum. And even then, with structured organization and disciplined defensive capabilities, you may still come out on the losing side. But hopefully, the threat of getting whacked themselves might make the attackers look for a softer target. THAT is the best that could happen — they move on.

    So it makes sense to continue working on your friends and neighbors to get with the program, so they're part of the solution and not part of the problem. Good luck, I know from experience it isn't easy. But at least the news from Europe the past few days has shaken things up a bit, so a lot more folks are getting nervous and are willing to entertain notions that even 6 months ago would have made them think you're a nutcase.

    1. taxedn2poverty

      @Mike in Virginia: Ok, I can’t argue your point, but where do you find these people that will band together and save the day. Hell, I live in Victoria, Texas and no one in my subdivision is prepping but me. Absolutely no one. Anyone I bring in is just another mouth to feed. I’m not venting here, but people as so stupid that it is beyond hope. One of my neighbors has, since birth, been plagued with frail health. Yet, nothing would do her but to have another child against all warnings from her doctor. Now we have a new born in an incubator, a mother in ICU that will probably not live. Where to from here! As a believer in Christ, how can I possibly walk away and leave a newborn that through no fault of its own was born to parents that were so dismally stupid as to not save up one gallon of water for shft. It is beyond insanity. Is this suicidal insanity prevalent in every state or is just Texas? I’m at wits end as how to survive and meet Christ on good terms. I either give to kids that were born to parents that have the self preservation mentality of one cell animals, or I leave them to their own fate, and condemn my soul. Why won’t people listen?

      1. How do you know no one else in your subdivision is prepping? If they have sense then they do not share the fact that they are prepped for a disaster. Just in casual conversation with the neighbor I found out that he is prepping; he doesn’t know that I am because I know to keep my month shut, but now I know there is someone who can help me and someone I can help without too much risk to myself.

        1. The Survival Mom

          GREAT COMMENT! If you passed by me at the grocery store or even lived right next door, you would never, in a hundred years, think that I’m a prepper. I look completely like the typical suburban mom, running her kids to their sporting events and classes, bicycling around town in yoga pants, LOL, etc. Isn’t that a part of prepping? Making it a part of your lifestyle so it’s not obvious AND it’s just another facet of your everyday life.

      2. TAXEDN2POVERTY, The “good news” and the “bad news” is the same, in these scenarios. Meaning that the extremes of the situation will make it such, that it becomes a zero-sum game. Where you have supplies, and others don’t, your neighbors will attempt to take yours. Not out of meanness, mind you, but out of desperation and need to survive.
        Those who have will be attacked and robbed by those who have not. If you cannot put together a community of preppers, you will be attacked by those whom you tried to help.
        A best-case scenario is to find a group that is already organized, and to work with that group in the present day, to develop a rapport with them for the future.
        Barring that, You are on your own… and likely dead at some point.
        But that is not to say, that we are not all destined for death, at some point, in any case. It’s just the timing and the manner, that we are trying to control.

  5. PreppingToSurvive

    Excellent post, DT.

    I think a lot of preppers survivalist have a pretty idealist about what the collapse of society may bring – a return to rugged independence, not having to slave away in a cubicle but rather spend our days hunting the pristine land and gathering from nature's abundance.

    That's far from the case as you've pointed out so very well in your article.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. Some people think they’ll be mostly left alone on their self-sufficient homestead. Sure.. let’s go with that…

      Rape and terror have ALWAYS been used as weapons. Look at Baltimore and Ferguson, and keep in mind that these people were not having any trouble having their basic needs met. Hell, the cable was still on.


    1. I too wonder how to find like minded people in my neighborhood without sounding like the crazy one. And I thought of this: there are lots of people near me who raise chickens, grow large gardens, do rainwater harvesting, can fruit and veggies, and who are savers and thrifters, etc. I'm going to talk to them one at a time, and ask what their motivation was to do x, y or z., and I'll listen for 'prepping' terms like "just in case" or "what if." That's a conversation opening. I just learned a friend of mine is a prepper when she was talking about buying land up north on a lake because people who live near water will be the ones to survive….and the conversation turned at that point.__To get your hubby on board, give him something from the backup pantry when he runs out of something he needs, like shaving cream, razor blades, contact solution. Then say "aren't you glad we have an extra stash?" When you're cooking dinner and need something, ask him to get from the backup pantry. He'll come around when he sees your planning/prepping as useful for everyday things, not just dire emergencies.__

    2. My husband was the same way. For years he thought that I was being over reactive and crazy. I prayed that if I wasn’t being that way for him to understand why I’m doing it. Ive also shown him things that I find in the news and some of the books that I’ve gotten from the Catholic book store that talks about being prepared for what’s to come. He is now the one pushing me to be more prepared and even finds things that I never thought of. It took about 7 years but he did come around. Even if your husband doesn’t you can show him how the stuff that you are doing are good for natural disasters like hurricanes and how you not only saved time but also money by stocking up over time instead of having to run to the store and being able to get only what they have left on the shelves which usually isn’t much. Whatever you do, don’t give up.

    1. You might be surprised if you think 'bad guys' will be the only ones armed and prepared to defend their homes and families.

      1. I intend to be better armed than the gangs, and I hit what I aim at. My wife finally told me she needed a gun.

        1. taxedn2poverty

          Robert, I’m a veteran, and trained to hit what I aim at too. The trouble is there will be so many targets, and targets with nothing left to live for, that one of them is going to get us. Now, tell me how to change the outcome, not just improve the odds. Allow this one example. Chu Lai: An entire company of Marines wiped out to the last man. All good shots, all well equipped, all dead, because there were far too many targets coming much to quickly to deal with and survive. Odds are, no matter what, we can’t win. But we will always try, won’t we? Best wishes.

  6. There is some really good advice here, lots to think about. We are fairly well prepped in my family, and have three closely located family houses in a semi-remote location. We are well armed and can all shoot. However, as well as we have tried, the fact that we are prepared is not a well kept secret. The main enemy to secrecy has been the desire to help others prepare, which of course reveals your own resources and efforts.

    The one scenario I fear the most, which I have not seen covered much, is the kidnap invasion. A person that knows you have food, firearms, etc. would not try to shoot their way in or break down the door or throw firebombs, etc. They would simply stop your daughter's car on her drive in from work/school, and bring her home with a gun to her head. All of a sudden, your safe combination, your stores of all kinds, possibly even the ownership of your "fort" change hands without a single shot being fired.

    Out in these remote locations, a sniper with a rifle in your treeline could also end your survival without endangering himself. Pick off the occupants as they show themselves. What is the defense to that? We cannot get the law to respond to problems now, so in a breakdown we would be entirely on our own. Having alert dogs with good senses, and patrolling the area might be the best we could do aside from serious prayer.

    Secrecy of your resources and situational awareness are of utmost importance!

    Charlie Bob

    1. Get rid of your treeline, create a perimeter, 4 O/P’s watching the perimeter and an over watch. Thermal sights work day or night (Better at night) you know your surroundings better than anyone…..As far as neighbors go, determine their threat assessment……All of them. Have a plan to shut down and close off your neighborhood….Any one coming in will be on foot and a target……This will not be a time to make friends…!

  7. Please people, take heed. ____There is power in numbers. We need as many functioning and self-sufficient groups to out number the marauders.

    Me and mine can disappear in the hills and hollows of the Ozarks. There is plenty of deer, turkey, fish, wood, caves and caverns. It won't be easy, but it is doable. The most important thing at the end of the day is, there are more of us than them. God Speed.

    1. If anything happens me & my family will go to my farm in the mountains of calorado. We have others how are going w/ us, the farm is very preped.i’m a mother of 2 dogs,2 children,& 1 husband. I am a bad ass saxy prepper.

    2. Horseshit. During the 1930s depression, game was hunted to extinction in many areas. There are deer all over the place, but only because they can feed on the crops intended for humans.

      If we can’t farm on an industrial scale and have cheap energy, the carrying capacity of planet Earth drops by about 6B humans.

      1. Spot on Hillbilly: I read an article by the Texas Game and Fish Commission that by 1940, eleven years into the Great Depression, that they estimated there were less than 5000 deer remaining in the entirety of the State of Texas. The rivers and streams were fished out, dove, quail, turkey, squirrels, rabbits, and other game were virtually non existent. Now we have lots more people, almost none know how to grow their own food, almost no preps, and well it is a dismal picture, isn’t it?

        1. The Survival Mom

          I’d love to find that information — about how many deer were remaining in Texas, etc. Do you happen to remember where you read it? Keep in mind that back in the Depression, people either lived on farms (about 20%) or had farming and hunting skills that relatively few people have today. Sure, give a thug a gun and maybe he can manage to shoot something big, maybe, but being able to butcher the animal and know what pats to eat? Nope. Hunting, like gardening, a lot harder than most people realize! 🙂

          1. I have read the stats on deer population during the depression etc. I subscribe to Off The Grid News. They have free downloads of PDF’s on a whole bunch of different subjects. I read those stats on the deer etc. in one of their “booklets” that they publish. Try there and use keywords like hunting, depression. I have a lot of them and they cover everything from ammunition, to going off grid, 101 uses for hydrogen peroxide, keeping things cold when there is no electricity, becoming an expatriate, etc.

          2. They don’t have to be able to butcher anything. They will kill anything they are able to kill, and scare the rest into hiding. Much of what IS killed will be wasted. How many people can eat from one cow or deer? Few people are presently able to preserve the rest without refridgeration.

        2. It was the same situation in Georgia during the depression. Since we have the most obese population in the world, there are a lot of people who are prepping and don’t even know it!

  8. This article is so disheartening — it's just one of those bare faced slaps on the face that wake you up from your regular rhythm of life and peek into the dark abyss of what can happen. And it is a reality, all that food and water we've saved up is not going to be enough in a SHTF situation when the gangs come through the neighborhoods. One will need a small arsenal of guns and skilled shooters to fend off the ruthless.

    Most people live in La La Land in our great USA. It's a soft, easy life. No one is really ready for something like this. I read all of those fiction survivor books and I know that it is fiction, but the possible reality of those scenes play in my head daily. Has the possibility of such a scenario as described in the article caused any other reader acute anxiety? I have trouble sleeping these days, not from my lack of preparedness, but what are we going to do with the hoards of people who are not prepared?

    My family forbids me from talking up survival with the neighbors for fear they will view me as crazy. Neighborhoods aren't the same anymore. We know the people on each side of us, but that's it. People don't sit out on the front porch in rocking chairs here saying howdy to the folks as they stroll by on their nightly walk.
    People work here in order to be able to live here. It's not cheap. It's a unique existence.

    We have the APEC meeting here this week. 21 heads of countries on this small island of ours! YIKES! There's no where to run here.

    Let's keep those prayers and positive mediations coming……!

  9. Hey Lisa, this just in, an IRS employee told me they're getting memos advising them to stock up and be prepared for an emergency. She didn't want to elaborate, and she looked scared. This is getting very serious indeed.

    1. Someone on Twitter who says he works in the administration section of a major hospital recently told me they got an email from senior management advising all employees to have BOB's setup!

      1. All these tidbits of news, from different sources, all have a common denominator.
        Just today I was thinkin', it's been a long time since I was so happy I had to look down to see cloud 9.
        Looks like another busy weekend of prepping…sighhhh

  10. A friend of mine is going through chemotherapy and can't find her chemo drug. There's a huge shortage of
    chemo drugs and life sustaining drugs!!! Where's it all going? Is someone BIG out there stockpiling?

    1. Heard a news story saying that some life-saving meds are being sold to rich people for cosmetic reasons and those whose lives should be saved can’t get them because the supply runs short.

  11. I'm inclined to think that such Mad Max scenarios call for prayer more than prepping. The only scenario I can conceive that could have such a heinous nationwide impact would be an EMP that ruined the power grid across the entire country. Or some species extinction-level event like the asteroid that extinguished the dinosaurs. I live in Washington, D.C. — smack in the middle of the city — and have over the past few years tried to imagine what life here would be like in such a total societal meltdown. There is no preparing for it, unless you can commandeer a remote island somewhere and live off seafood and coconuts. If civilization broke down to such a degree then nearly all of us, our friends and family, will be going the way of Tyrannosaurus Rex – either by starvation, disease or violence. That's why I commiserated with the wife in "The Road." I prep for natural disasters and terrorism and have for nearly 20 years. As for IRS employees being instructed to have BOBs, that is probably related to the recently announced Office of Personnel Management policy that federal employees will not automatically be dismissed early in the event of a snowstorm or other event – that is to alleviate traffic jams, especially around the DC area. Instead, they would be directed in some situations to "shelter-in" and those drills have been going on since 9/11 (I've participated in some such drills). Instructing federal employees to also have BOBs in their office or vehicle is long overdue and would be useful the next time the mid-Atlantic gets a few inches of snow.

  12. This post may be removed from a family-oriented site such as thesurvivalmom, but I'm going to say it anyway. We need to prepare other ways to eliminate the enemy. I would have no compunction about using chemical or biological weapons against anyone trying to kill my family. If defenses fail and I am killed, I still want to take out the enemy. Certain highly desirable food items in my pantry are poisoned for this purpose. The looters may take my oats, but they'll die when they eat them. When looters attack my family in a manner that totally disregards all civilized behavior, that person is saying they want a world with no rules. Okay, fine by me. That's a game two can play. If we are to survive, we must be capable of becoming more evil than our attackers.

    1. I hope no one in your family gets the munchies for any of the "certain highly desirable food items" in your pantry.

      If I ever forgot that I'd laced the Thin Mints with arsenic…. well, one memory lapse and I would not have to worry any longer about TEOTWAWKI.

      1. That was my same thought. Unless everyone in the family knows which packages are poisoned and can remember, long-term, that\’s a pretty dangerous strategy.

    2. While I harbor similar sentiments, let play this out some. If they cannot surprise you and bust down the door. There will be a fire fight. And unless you have sand bags to hide behind. They can Swiss cheese your house and you, or smoke or firebomb it, trying to force you out. If you have a slab, sorry. But maybe if SHTF has fallen, you cut a trap door in the floor and make a food/root cellar that maybe is fire proof enough to hide in. You may lose the house but keep you and your family alive and save the food.

      Think outside the box to survive. And WROL, you can set up defense that wouldn't fly in this litigious society.

      To maximize your chances. You should consider how and where an attack might come. Fishing line and bunches of cans are super cheap and can be made into an early warning system in millions of ways. Adding fish hooks is probably illegal with today's laws. But if some would be attacker stumbles into some fishing line with hooks and cans in the middle of the night…

      You have the smarts and the time to prepare to maximize your chances of living. Don't think about some risky poison pill option.

    3. I’ve seen the suggestion of putting rubbing alcohol in vodka bottles in case you are driven from your shelter. Most people who will attack you would also partake of your stash of ‘vodka’, allowing you to reclaim your shelter in short order.

  13. I don't think it's coincidenince that all of a sudden in the past 2-3 years there have been all sorts of public announcements about having BOB's and 3-days of supplies on hand. If that had been initiated after 9/11 or right after Katrina then that would be understandable. But events like that are years old. Granted it takes time for the wheels of gov to work. But I don't buy coincidences.

  14. So I have to ask, since I'm a fairly new prepper – How do those of you who are Christian preppers reconcile the whole "get a gun and be prepared to use it on the invaders" mentality with the Bible? Specifically troublesome for me is Matthew 5:38-42. It says a lot, but my particular sticking point is "Do not resist one who is evil. (Not just don't retaliate, but don't even resist…) But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" and towards the end there "if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." I have really struggled with this! I want to have a weapon to acquire meat if things do go south, but I am afraid that I would then be caught in a bad situation if there were to be invaders. Don't the experts say you shouldn't have a weapon if you are unprepared to use it? I'm not trying to be confrontational and I sincerely hope no one feels offended by my questions. Just hoping to get some wisdom from you folks!

    1. If someone takes that particular verse to mean they must turn away when watching their daughter being gang raped, their home robbed before their very eyes, or their own life taken, then I'm not sure what to say. I don't believe that's the intent of the verse.

    2. Jesus was speaking to His disciples at this time, and He wasn't talking about the town bully or someone attacking your family. What this means is that if the disciples offend someone with their teaching of the Word, and that person reaches out and strikes them because they are offended by the truth, then the Disciples should take it all in stride and not retaliate. There are many areas in scripture where you are to defend yourself, retaliate in kind and etc. A KJV of the Bible helps considerably as you can get the Greek/Hebrew translation with a Strong Concordance. Example: Thou shalt not kill. That was originally the Hebrew word "ratsach", which in that context of the scripture could be worded as, Thou Shalt not Murder. Hope that eases your mind.

    3. Christ Himself said, “Ye cannot enter the strong man’s house, unless you first bind the strong man.” As for myself, there is no way I can watch my family being harmed w/o putting up a fight. If that is a sin then I as Christ to forgive me. thanks

      1. The Survival Mom

        At least you’re thinking how you’ll handle these types of situations as a Christian. All too often I hear Christians talk with glee about how they’re going to be shooting anyone and everyone who crosses their property, comes down their street, etc. Jesus never gave us a loophole and said, “Under these circumstances, feel free to steal, kill, loot, destroy, lie, etc.”

    4. “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one”.

      Those who beat their swords into plowshares end up plowing for those who don’t.

  15. I think it's a great post. My biggest concern is exactly what kind of disaster is most likely to happen. Coming from someone whose been there and seen it I'm getting real time information. We went through several weeks of no power/gas/water due to hurricanes. I can tell you, the stores are empty before the storms even hit. With no power there was no gasoline, therefore no shipments came in to replenish the stores until well after the storms. Desperate people formed lines in front of churches the day after the storms, looking for water, food, diapers and formula. It was sickening. Can you imagine those people after a week, 2 weeks, a month?

  16. I am the man of the house as such its my responsibi lity to worry and prep for this situation,just bought the wife a 40 caliber s&w,i have most of the weapons and ammo now but still buying for barter,she is finally starting to listen and help prep.The article is scary to be sure and realistic,have talked to a few close friends,safty in numbers,but all i can do is my best and pray its enough,as im positive its coming and fast.I will defend my family to the death no doubt,the movie ,,,the road,,,,is a must watch,good luck to all going to be a white nuckle ride.

  17. This is a very interesting article. No matter how well prepared you are for any situation, chance is still in play.

    I’m a mother of 2. My entire family is disabled in some way. If it comes to a ” last ditch and run” my husband is to leave me and make sure the kids get to safety. If I have to point a gun at my head to make him leave, that’s what I’ll do. We also know that he might have to “leave” my son behind if he can’t keep up. And if you think I’m cruel for thinking like this, you should know I cried while typing it.

    We’ve dicussed several unpleasant senarios and we both agree that “just in case” there will be enough ammo to take ourselves out of it. Because people are people and people are animals when pushed beyond their breaking points. I’m determined that at least one of my children will live, but not at all costs. Somethings really are worse than death.

    My son is Autistic, I have severe RA. In post-SHTF world I will likely be useless in a few months for physical work (I am, however, a font of useless knowledge so I have some value) and if my son doesn’t improve, he’ll be a (very adorable) liability to the survival of the 2 fittest members of the family, my husband and daughter.

    If these are not situations you’re prepared to examine now and be willing to steel yourself for the possibility, I don’t really have high hopes for your survival. It’s all well and good to be prepped with water, guns, ammo and food, but if you’re not ready to make the hard choices NOW before hand and with a clear head, you’re simply not mentally prepared at all. The most dangerous and cruel animal on Earth is man. Be prepared for that.

    1. This reminds me of Walking Dead. Lori is pregnant and didn’t want to have the baby because it would be a liability that put the whole group in jeopardy every time it cried. Not that I’m comparing your real life situation to a tv show. I watch shows and movies like Walking Dead, The Road…..not because I enjoy the downfall of society but because I am fascinated at how people respond, how situations change people, and how they adapt and overcome, or surcome, even fictional people. I may be idealistic but I believe that their are far more good people out there who will band together to get through whatever comes than evil people. My hope is that people will band together to care for the group as a whole. The children, elderly, weak, and disabled.

    2. You can make tough decisions and that is very admirable. If you are ever in Victoria, Tx. send an email to [email protected]. Win, lose, or draw, we’ll live or die with you. God bless you lady, you are one of a kind. Blessings always.

  18. Keep up the preperation ,especially small well organised groups ,remenber even in normal times police and emergency services have great difficulty keeping order ,example Katrina,Los Angeles riots 1991.Be social and friendly with you neighbours ”whilst keeping you preperations largley secret”.
    In a genuine crisis those same friends and neighbours can be a great resource ,i Have sufficent funds for spare food medicine and fire arms .Some of my neighbours are ex Military like myself ,these men and women are a great potential escource .

  19. how does one get the extra meds from the doctor/pharmacy? I have plenty of bandaids, aspirin, alchool, and peroxide……., but the prescription meds have alluded me. any suggestions?

    1. One strategy that may work for you is to get your refill on the very first day it’s eligible to be refilled. Over time, you will begin to stock up on extra doses. Some have been able to find a doctor who is also survival minded and is willing to provide free samples or prescribe extra dosages.

    2. Remember, all chemical drugs have expiration dates, including your aspirin. Two suggestions.
      First, start working on going drugless. Common conditions like BP, cholesterol, asthma, and so on can be managed with exercise. I have dumped migraines by knowing my triggers and eliminating the ones I can control (weather is still a problem).

      Second, study up on how to be a granny lady and grow your own “roots” and what not. I have a nice stand of horehound that I need for asthma because the chemical meds have dangerous side effects for me. Feverfew for pain and fever; lavender and catnip for bug repellent; if I had enough land I’d put in witch hazel for burns and poison ivy.

      Third meds are part of our modern comfort zone that we all have to reconsider in case things get too bad.

  20. Such a scenario is my one bug out situation. If I have any warning that such a group is travelling through my neck of the woods, I intend to disappear into the middle of the forest . My place would make a poor base of operations for such a group, so I would expect them to loot and move on. If they do set up I can get to close friends places with half a day of stealth.

  21. Pingback: When Things Go South or What to Expect When SHTF | Prepper Junkie

  22. I am new at prepping tell me this I live in a subdivision when all hell breaks loose I have nowhere to go planning on hunkering down in my home what would be my odds against gangs of people looking for food etc

    1. No matter what you do to reinforce your home, one match and it’s over. Get out of dodge, it is your only hope!

      1. The Survival Mom

        Maybe, maybe not. Being isolated, miles from help of any kind, carries its own risks and significant dangers.

  23. Hire a master carpenter to armor your outside doors. (Coupla hundred bucks per door- maybe as much as $1,000). This makes it is very difficult for someone to break in – especially if you are home – UNLESS, OF COURSE, IF YOU VOLUNTARILY OPEN THE DOOR YOURSELF! (Don’t do that! Not even for crying children outside! Under instruction of his/her starving parents outside, a child can slip in through the crack that you foolishly opened so as to tell the supplicant outside that you have nothing to give him; the kid will then wrap his/her arms around your legs and bring you down, while the starving parents outside, push their way inside!). Don’t open the door! They will soon leave for greener pastures.

    Invest now in burglar-resistant windows and have them installed on every ground-level window – even those little windows in your garage door. They are very difficult to smash open. This will prevent someone tossing a gasoline-filled can through the window to burn you out. It also makes difficult someone smashing the window to climb in.

    If a crowd surrounds your house, they eventually will get in. You must attack them with all you’ve got before they can launch an attack. Invest in a magazine-fed (rapid reload) 12 gauge automatic shotgun and seven or eight 10 to 12 round magazines. Load up, open the front door, and charge – firing as fast as you can – directly at the leader of the mob. You will either succeed in driving away the mob, or die quickly. Either is preferable to hunkering down and being burned out an hour later…

  24. Thanks for re-posting that, Lisa. My paranoid meter just sky-rocketed! 😉

    This is the scenario I am NOT prepped for, probably because I think (like a lot of us do) that it’s the absolute worst-case, end-of-the-line scenario. I’m not even sure I would want to survive it, if it really is THAT bad.

    On the other hand, I know this is my “hole” in my preps, and it does need to be filled, either to defend my family and home or to give up at the end. I’ve put off getting guns for a long while, not for fear of having them in the house (I grew up out West and know how to shoot); but simply because I have this thought that lingers in the back of my head that if they aren’t here, we won’t need to use them. Naive, yes. Fatal, definitely. Good excuse, not even close.

    The Manlings have been yelling at me about this for a long while now, and I finally told them that weapons have moved toward the top of the Priority List. Even before my kitchen gets refinished.

    Thank you so much for this article. It’s an awful read, but it makes its point very eloquently…and it slapped me hard enough to pull my head out of the hole.

    1. The Survival Mom

      I know! There are some really hard truths in this article and they aren’t easy or pleasant to think about.

  25. Pingback: Prepper News Watch for July 30, 2015 | The Preparedness Podcast

  26. I live in a log b5uilt house in the mtns. I plan to bug in since the house is more secure than any improvised shelter in the woods. It will stand a casual raid by criminals since that already happened. We won. No matter what you say stay home if you can you have all your food and supplies there When things collapse the locals will attack you for your gun as proved by history. Moros attacked Americans for their guns in the fall of the Philipines During long march of Chinese commun6sts locals attacked isolated units for their guns also

    1. The Survival Mom

      Isolation isn’t always a good thing. Ultimately, I don’t believe that any place will be 100% safe.

  27. Great article and poses many points of interest to discuss. Should an SHTF occur, I have begun my preps, acquired firearms and am trained in their use with many rounds put down range. My plan is to hunker in, however, I do have 3 alternate ways to exit my subdivision to get on either of two highways or backroads to two potential bug out locations as well as a large forest behind me where I’ve set up a temporary bug out location should we have to leave in a blink. I have been making survival kits and bags since I’ve been in Cubs. As of today I’ve made three all out, we’re gone, Bug out bags, (me, my wife and son (16), as well as car kits for each vehicle, and a get home/survival bag for each of the cars. The problem I have is my wife not seeing the importance of making the final preps to our house to make it more self reliant, like a wood burning stove and a larger solar system to ensure our basic electrical needs can been met. Though this is troublesome right now, I am fairly confident I will be able to acquire these through my own savings. Her big concern is “space”. Why buy all this stuff we don’t need right now; we don’t have the space for it? However, whenever we are camping, out for a drive, etc., when a problem occurs, I usually have the fix or temporary solution to what may have come up. Even my buddies, who aren’t so called ‘preppers’ always say “Go ask Joe if he has something for…”, when we are out and about, on vacation, and so on. I have a large and very close network of friends, but they don’t see the need to obtain anything in preparation for a SHTF situation except for a generator. That’s their total solution. I agree with many of you here who say a large group would be best in a SHTF situation for safety, but how many generators does a group need, when I would be the only one to have anything to feed anybody, basically my own family. I’ve attempted to sidle up to some of my more open minded pals, and they just don’t see the need to????? And others, in indirect casual discussion, I bring it up to see where they stand on the issue of prepping, and they say its “crazy”. So I have the possibility of a perfect situation, but nobody seems to buy in to a SHTF group situation even if its just a loss of power for a couple of weeks. They don’t know about my food preparations, acquisition of silver, and other survival necessities; they only know that when we all go camping or on vacation or hanging out, I’m the go to guy for a band aid, nail clippers, pliers, etc., though they make fun of me for having it I know they appreciate me having the desired need. It’s frustrating, I know I can’t make them better prepared, but if anyone had a suggestion to use as a spring board to discuss the idea with them or if I should leave it alone, I’d appreciate some thoughts other than “frig them, let them perish”. Be well everyone.

    1. The Survival Mom

      Joe, I hope you never have to bug out but, if you do, your wife will thank you for having spent so much time and effort putting things into place for your family’s survival. I applaud you. 🙂

    2. I don’t consider myself a prepper. But I am working on a stash of food. I would like to have a few months food & household supplies around. It would help in the event of major storms, unemployment, … Just evening out the cost of eating what we want to.

      While you may not want to reveal your prep. You might be able to get your friends started on a full pantry. Stockpiling, Look for ‘thrifty’ terms and push on those behaviors. Each step they take here reduces the liability to the group.

      Do they have food and a way to cook it if basic services were out for a few days? (Flooding, snow, power outages)
      Government agencies are recommending 72 hr kits. What about getting that group to co-op buying supplies for those?
      Could they be portable in case of wildfire/industrial chemical accident requiring evacuation?

      Some people (me?) aren’t ready/willing to consider the end of civilization, but there are reasons to start this work that are much less “crazy” and don’t disclose your prep.

      1. The Survival Mom

        Those are all great starting points and definitely don’t fall into the “paranoid prepper” category.

  28. Gosh so many comments to make about this article, so let me contain my remarks to the whole bug out and roadblocks staffed with military and LE question, since fleeing to a favorite bug out location is such a passion for so many preppers.

    Just a little bit of a reality check here – no intent to offend, sorry if I do. As a 22 year law enforcement veteran and senior commander with my agency’s special operations group. I can assure you my jurisdiction and, I think LE in general, have absolutely no desire to set up check points to “contain” citizens. We couldn’t even if we, for some reason, wanted to.

    Here’s why – we don’t have the man power. Containing large groups of people on foot or in cars, particularly angry or panicked motorists is dangerous. They’ll drive around you, through you, over you. Don’t believe me try working a DWI checkpoint sometime or close a road for a fatal traffic accident. I’ve seen people drive down railroad tracks, across lawns, on sidewalks and through crash scenes. In my town, a city of 800,000 in the southwest of the US, people will just drive off into the desert.
    Nobody’s going to contain anything cause we know we can’t. And here’s a dirty little secret – as a law enforcement officer during a critical incident there’s nothing I want more than for you to go away. I’ve got my hands full with a thousand other things and questions from you (and this doesn’t include the inevitable insults, threats and snide comments) that I can’t answer is only going to frustrate us both. – remember the “nothing to see here, move along” joke you hear about – yeah that’s what you’ll see a lot of. So if you want to run for the hills please by all means do so. And yeah I know because my agency and I have worked riots, wildfires, floods, lots of other natural and man-made disasters, and yeah Hurricane Katrina.

    Consider this the average cop to citizen ratio in the US hovers around 1 to 1000 so we’ll be pretty busy with other things – professional and personal. Like I said in my jurisdiction I mentioned that there are about 800,000 in a 200 mile square area. All the LE agencies in my home town combined, everyone state police, local sheriff’s, city PD’s, federal agencies, Bailiff’s – everybody is probably less than something like 4000. So you see my thing about staffing for checkpoints on every major highway, country road, bike trail, hiking path, railroad line and secondary street out of town.

    Now what we will be doing is providing point defense of critical infrastructure – think hospitals, transportation hubs, power supply systems, supply distribution points, refugee camps (those folks have been through enough and we don’t need any thefts, riots, rapes or murders there do we) and cultural centers, and yes maybe our homes. Believe it or not we actually live in this community too, we have friends, family, and children here and we don’t want to see our communities, not to mention our homes, burned to the ground or looted.

    Think about it this way. How many law enforcement personnel did it recently take to find two escaped convicts, how many helicopters, patrol cars, road blocks, etc. and how long did it go on. Its not because the entire New York law enforcement community is incompetent, its because its really hard.

    Or think about it this way, everyday hundreds of people and hundreds of pounds of contraband cross the southern border of our country, despite fences, thermal imaging cameras, horse patrols, ATV patrols, drone and helicopter patrols and the best efforts of our border protection agents and sometimes citizen groups.

    This author served in Kovoso with the Brits – I’ll not disparage his assessment but keep in mind that Kosovo is relatively small geographically and was the middle of a war zone with various factions fighting each other with some bent on genocide. When that happens in the US please disregard my comments, until then lets all stay calm and carry on.

    1. The Survival Mom

      I’ve found that people who see the need to prepare and have a survivalist mentality view the future through whatever lens their past experiences have taught them. In your case, it’s law enforcement. I have no doubt that what you say about LE officers in a worst case scenario is true and your point about the amount of manpower and resources needed to find those 2 fugitives is reassuring! This article, and lots of survival type websites, was written by someone who wasn’t in law enforcement but saw combat as a soldier. If he had been in Vietnam and had those experiences (different terrain, different type of combat, etc.), his point of view would have varied a bit. I traveled and spent time in Eastern Europe when it was controlled by the communists and in the Soviet Union, so my POV is one that is certain of food shortages, empty stores, hungry people, etc.

      This is very interesting to me, and helpful, because I believe that ultimately, all these different scenarios will play out, just in different places.

      The U.S. is a huge land mass, as you point out and there will be hundreds of different scenarios that are possible. In some urban areas, it may very well resemble Bosnia, and Texas where I live, I may not see LE road blocks, but road blocks set up by both law-abiding citizens or criminals is quite likely. If you look at a map of Texas and just how many roads there are, this would be quite feasible.

      For a lot of Texans, we’ll never forget LE forcing drivers onto a single route ahead of a hurricane and seeing how inefficient it was and how horrible it was for the drivers — so, I don’t fully put my trust in LE decisions, but I do know that they learned a lot from that experience and have made improvements for future evacuations.

      Regarding the southern border, how much of that porosity is due to various agencies not wanting to impede the flow of drugs, illegal aliens, etc? I know that gets into political issues, but truth be told, there are many borders around the world, and in less developed countries than the U.S., who somehow manage to control their borders.

      Thanks for your input. You provided a lot of food for thought — well-written and rational. Thanks!

    2. Red Rover Red Rover over

      LE may be out-numbered, but with all the acquisitions of military combat equipment & supplies now at LE’s disposal in most large communities, is a game changer. Add Jade Helm 15 training of special forces for civil operations that mimic martial law and massive civil upheaval. Strategically, this makes perfect sense. However, those who send the orders downstairs are shady characters at best. The foot soldiers are placed in a spot between a rock and a hard place. Many will put on their ” I Am Just Doing My Job ” hat and follow whatever sane/insane orders given. Those who refuse will be punished or made to be outlaws. Under a nation or several states-wide emergency. The marching orders will be lock-downs and containing potential rebels from escaping amongst the flow of refugees to cause mayhem elsewhere. Just try to bypass or rush through a roadblock during such a time, will mean certain death for runner. Miles upon miles of razor wire and stress levels at code red on both sides of the wire, spells trouble. Being on either side of that wire, would not be a place I would want to be.
      As you are very much aware that all the social ills that besets society, also besets the law and military. For example; 15 gang bangers can terrorize a neighborhood of 180,000 residents. 15 rogue/criminal police officers can be working with those gang bangers and/or terrorizing the good cops of the stations of that same neighborhood. Both will be in orgy-mode of crime and violence once all out SHTF. Sometime the righteous citizens and righteous officers will muster the nerve to administer the needed actions to neutralize the threats. In most cases through-out history, this rarely happens.
      Every nation in the world today is a powder keg waiting for some fool/situation to light it up. It will happen. The children of today are very likely to experience it in their lifetime. There is a ever growing undeclared war and genocide of children and their souls by the evil ones. The righteous are doing their best to love and protect and teach them the life skills they will need to survive and rebuild afterwards. However the evil ones have the upper hand and gaining ground everyday. This is our Black Plague.

  29. Thank you for all the “REALITY Checks” and comments on the variety of possible situations… It is all very important to think about. I am a Christian and have prepped, food, water, well supplies, EMP electronics protection, medical, guns, ammo and am storing up as much beans and rice as I can in Mylar bags, to share with people in need. I have not figured out “how” to safely do that yet but when the situation presents itself I trust the Holy Spirit will guide me. A week ago I was led to a garage sale, where I purchased a nice cast iron wood stove with complete 3-wall chimney pipe for a 2-story home for $200! The stovepipe alone was worth well over $1k. We need to ‘prepare’ the best we can but there is just no way to plan or prep for every scenario. ie: sniper as you walk down the road, 100 member gang attacking, your home and all your preps burning to the ground… It can be overwhelming to think about, even now before TSHTF. My point is, first we need to make sure we are right with God, (we are not guaranteed a tomorrow) then continue to learn about who God is and ‘His ways’. If we do, the Holy Spirit will personally guide us during the very difficult days that are coming soon. Even to the point of supernaturally feeding, protecting and hiding us from the enemy if necessary. God sees and knows everything. Just as we feel the strong need to prep and protect our spouses, children and even extended family (who haven’t seen the prepping light) God desires to protect HIS kids, those who believe in Him. Do all you can do to be prepared and then make sure you are right with God and trust Him to take care of the rest. AND store up extra to help the helpless when possible. If you do God will bless you and your provision – (storehouse – Deut 28:8).
    *Be sure to have a shortwave radio and batteries (EMP protected) to listen to what other countries are saying is the cause of any grid-down situation in the USA! When there is no way to communicate, no lights, internet, tv, radio, phones, people will be desperate to know what is going on. HAM radios are yet another option. God Bless!

  30. In my metro area it has become obvious since 9-11 that evacuation is not an option except to backpack out. In our obese society, some readers don’t have the fitness to do that. People who want to take this seriously should be working on their hiking skills. When they can do a 10 mile walk, they need to put on a kid’s backpack with a five pound load and build back up. When they can do that with a full load, they need to start with a larger hiker’s pack and so on. Then they need to be able to make 20 miles a day. And with the nuclear arms race in the Middle East, they have to understand that even backpacking out is hopeless if SHTF.

    As far as uneasy alliances, nobody here has posted about having marketable skills. Personally, I know how to brew wild yeast but somebody else has to supply the flour for the bread. I can knit but somebody else has to supply the yarn or the cleaned, roved wool for me to spin. I can run an organic garden but somebody needs to supply the seeds. Face it, a lot of the survivors will become forced manual labor because without machinery, we would drop back to what anthropologists call “horticulture” from the 5000s BCE and earth’s population would drop back by over 6 billion.

    As far as game, look at the weather map some time. The drought in the west is killing off edible animals and it will take time for them to recover their numbers. What’s more, we won’t have weather maps any more and if it gets dry where you are surviving, what do you do? Emigrate and you run into people’s turf, stirring their protective instincts.

    Hate to be a downer but all things considered, life could get very sucky in the next 10 years. Prepping for 3 days is a joke and for 3 weeks is almost a joke, for 3 months assumes that things will get back to normal quickly (but those needing meds could be SOL) and for 3 years assumes that SHTF does not become a euphemism in the interim. Do what gives you comfort but recognize that it’s all temporary and you may have to do without even that.

    1. The Survival Mom

      Jojo, you may be wandering down the path of many, many preppers of dismissing preps for more common emergencies and disasters and keeping your focus on things that, truly, might never become reality. If our country continues on a slow decline, we’ll end up something like Venezuela, where there is still power and water but increased violence and various shortages. However, there is still a strongman type government in control. Yes, that could be a reality here in the U.S., but in meantime, people lose jobs every day, their savings and retirement funds are drained, they’re overwhelmed with medical bills, floods, housefires, tornadoes — all those less glamorous events take place. Those “everyday emergencies” will continue to happen, while something completely catastrophic may remain in the realm of disaster novels and movies.

      You bring up some thought provoking questions, however. 🙂

  31. All we can do is to prepare ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually for what life deals out to us. Learn useful skills and strive to become as self reliant as possible. Supplies are important, but character, knowledge, connections, and fitness will carry you further. Be a good neighbor, become active in local organizations, work to improve the sustainability of your community.
    Remember that no one gets out of this life alive, and is the world a better place for your having been here.
    An old friend, that I once worked with, lived through the depression. I never tired of his stories of how he and his wife coped. After one of his stories he became quiet for a moment and said to me, “Paul, its a good thing the depression ended when it did, rabbits was about to play out”!

  32. I’m a retired police officer and I’m generally prefer a urban environment. 25-30 years ago I might have taken my chances and headed for the country but today I’m just too old and out of shape to go running around in the woods. In a serious SHTF situation I’m planning to hunker down and wait it out. I figure my best option is to join up with some of my neighbors. That way we can share resources and knowledge. My suggestion is to start now with a lot of backyard parties – meet the retired Army Sergeant across the street, the registered nurse down the road, the supermarket manager next door etc.

    If you are worried about gangs and looting then stock up for “your” neighborhood watch. Hopefully your neighbors will have some useful weapons and skills but if you want an extra edge then you might start tucking away a few Mossberg Model 500 shotguns. They run about $250-350 each and you can purchase bulk 12 gauge ammo at a reasonable price. For the price of two AR15s you can arm 10 of your neighbors with a 12 gauge “riot” gun. That amount of firepower should deter most problems.

  33. The great unknowns are the type of disaster and duration. In the event of a currency failure (like Venezuela), it could be generations before civilization as we know it returns. If several of the large electrical distribution centers were destroyed, it could be a few years. I do not think a high altitude nuclear burst is likely, but that would be the same. Anyway, these kinds of things ensure a die-off of biblical proportions. I believe hunkering down in a city would be suicide. Any serious prepper needs to locate a more remote bug out location and stock it well. Remember, one is none, two is one and three is two. Our prepper network consists only of family. We are well armed. Our house is made of concrete, not concrete blocks. I have the knowledge and ability to make it a very hard target. We have food, our own well, backup electricity, solar power for critical functions, medicine, trained medical people in the group. My biggest concern is my age and health. I grew up living a subsistence lifestyle, but no one else in our group has that knowledge. I’m trying to fill the gap by compiling an extensive survival library of books on paper. Still, I worry that I have overlooked something.

  34. Self-sufficiency after TSHTF is very challenging , and unnecessary. Before things fall apart, stock up. What you’ll need is CALORIES. Which is difficult and expense if you do it one can at a time. You can afford to store enough calories, if you know what you’re doing.
    You can figure 25-30 years storage life for hard red wheat, stored at 60 degrees in a 55 gallon drum, using 1 pound of dry ice to drive out the oxygen (wait 24hrs for the dry ice to “melt” before sealing the drum). 400 pounds per drum equals 400 man-days of calories, and costs you about $100. Fill 3-4 barrels. It’s Cheap insurance. Add a barrel of Winter Rye for variety. Add a barrel of oats. Then a couple barrels of WHITE rice, and 2-3 barrels of pinto beans. (You need the beans to balance what’s missing from the grains. The beans may be harder to rehydrate after 10-12 years without a pressure cooker, but then you just grind up the dried beans, and bake them in your bread.) For around $1000, you can be prepared to feed your family for close to a decade, if you also garden and have fruit trees and bushes. Honey is way too expensive to store on a dollar/calorie basis, but consider bee keeping. A drum takes up LESS than 2’X2″. And they stack nicely, at 33” tall. In a 2’X10′ strip along a basement wall, you can have 8000 pounds of food. Hang a peg board in front of it, and you’ve got very useful space in front, and on top of it. If you can’t spare that much space in your basement, to protect the lives of your family, think Venezuela .

  35. Thank you for your article. Unfortunately I think your summary of how bad people will be doesn’t even come close to the truth. Think Bad, then Horrible, then down right Evil.
    You have many fine points and truths keep up the good work.

    1. food for 12 months is not as much as you think and bullets for the mongrel hoards. dont speak, just shoot at 100 yards and keep it all silent. be very careful of your neighbors and look to ex-military etc. to align with.

    2. I’m afraid I have to agree!! Just look at the sense of entitlement that exists in society even now. There are those who think that because you have something that others want, they have the right to rob you for what you have. That’s on a really good day!! Add a little stress to the mix and you have a total break down. That neighbor that mowed your grass a couple times, when you were on vacation, is now your #1 enemy, with a gun.

  36. Pingback: Bug Out Locations - Survive Nature

  37. MajorMonkeytoes

    My husband is a gunsmith, and he gets calls every week from individuals wanting to buy guns or ammo. He always tells them there’s no space in his little shop to store any ammo or guns, and he just repairs and restores firearms. Still, I’m convinced that when it hits the fan our place will be the first to be “checked out.” My husband didn’t think of this until just recently, but there’s enough security in place that hopefully we won’t be affected too much.

  38. As a Christian, I believe the next, big event that will affect the entire world in ways you cannot imagine will be the Rapture. The SHTF that follows will be the Seven Year Tribulation. I plan and prepare as if Christ isn’t coming back for another 20 years, but live as though he’s coming back any moment.

    Before you fill one more mylar bag or can any more vegetables, ask Him to be your personal Lord and Savior, develop a relationship with him. All those preps may be for those left behind to find

  39. Thank you for the article, it has given me a lot of food for thought. I realized traffic jams would be horrendous, but it never occurred to me that I might not be able to leave, although I’ve been trying to find a BOL for 3 years, just to hunker down in. I know about the gangs, and hordes of desperate people with weapons, but never occurred to me about any type of gas, molotov cocktails etc.
    I guess I was picturing it more as a really bad riot, instead of the actual war it will be.

  40. I am sorry but you leave out a lot of shtf for places like Alaska that has very limited ways out to either evacuate or get to family in the lower 48 states. I have noticed a lot of prepper gurus and bloggers forget about places like that. Alaska is actually pretty crowded for the amount of land to go with it and the expense of the beginning of being off grid.

  41. Yay, another article claiming that the mentally ill are inherently violent and out of control! This discrimination is based on a myth. Most mass shooters, predators, etc. have no mental illness at all. In fact, “Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realize it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *