Nothing may ever prepare you for what’s to come after TEOTWAWKI, but that doesn’t mean you can’t anticipate the situations you’ll have to deal with when it does happen.
We know you’ve done enough prepping; let’s talk about surviving a fallout. Here’s everything you need to know about living in a post-SHTF world:
What to Expect Post SHTF?
Here’s the scene: a large-scale disaster has just swept away your town, and you’re now reeling from the immediate aftermath of it all.
Lots of things can happen after a major catastrophe but one thing’s for sure: the power grid will most likely be down. And when that happens, all our modern essentials go down with it.
So you won’t have the shock of your life, here are a few cases to expect immediately after a grid-down SHTF scenario:
- Pump stations need electricity to supply water throughout a city. Since electric power is down, running water will cease to exist, and you won’t have access to clean water.
- No power means no way to heat or cool your home.
- In a post SHTF world where there’s zero power, supply trucks that provide essential resources will stop operations. Many stores rely on the just-in-time delivery system. Since this whole process is reliant on computers, the system will eventually stop working due to the loss of electricity, thus cutting off important supplies. When that happens, stores are bound to close down. You can say goodbye to frozen meats, fresh vegetables, hygiene products, and medicine.
- Infrastructures like transportation systems and communication networks will be paralyzed, too. A power outage means all phone and internet services are gone. Transportation services will also be unavailable. If these services fail, it means you’ll have a harder time finding your way home and contacting loved ones. Seeking help and getting updates from first responders might also be an impossible task.
- Hospitals will likely be affected immediately, especially those without generators. Power is vital for healthcare institutions because they house life-saving equipment, and surgeons need electricity to perform procedures.
- Debit cards and credit cards will be worthless.
- Law and order will be a distant memory. With communication lines down and emergency responders overwhelmed, everyone else will be left to fend for themselves. Your security will be all up to you.
The First 2 to 3 Days Post SHTF
- In the first 48 hours, a power outage is not gonna cause panic yet. But if it goes on further, it definitely will send everyone to a tizzy, specifically on the third day when news breaks out that power won’t be back anytime soon.
- Folks will flock to grocery stores and supermarkets to stock up on supplies. Expect prices to soar as demand for basic necessities goes up.
- With thousands of individuals panic-purchasing, problems will follow. Remember when the pandemic first broke out? It prompted mass hysteria where everyone was in grocery stores hoarding toilet paper, which then resulted in a global shortage. By this time, all stores will be out of stock of all the necessities.
- Aside from grocery stores and supermarkets, gas stations will also attract masses. There will be long lines waiting for you as people try to fill up their vehicles with fuel.
1 week Post SHTF sitch
- During this time, the Federal government is expected to respond with short-term and long-term actions. However, due to centralized direction and lack of knowledge and communication in disaster-stricken areas, government agencies may have difficulties providing relief and recovery efforts. Plus, damage to transportation and communication infrastructures can further make things worse.
- Folks will completely dry out grocery stores, supermarkets, and drugstores. Gas stations will also be out of fuel. No surprise there.
- Cash will officially hold no value. This part is where bartering starts kicking in.
- Hospitals will be swamped with the injured and the sickly. Medical personnel can’t do much without power except provide first aid and offer medical assistance.
- From this point forward, it’s the survival of the fittest. People’s primal nature will start to emerge, and when they do, they’ll go to great lengths to survive.
- Since law enforcement is unavailable, armed groups and gangs will also begin to rise and take over cities like what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. There was widespread looting, vandalism, theft, assault, and murder. Sounds like a scene from a movie? It was real life.
2 weeks into Post SHTF
- If there are no signs of improvement after 14 days, bugging out is your best option.
- But if you can’t get out of dodge, you better have a long-term bug-in plan laid out.
- Groups and communities will gradually form. Working with neighbors could be a start because these people might be critical for your survival later on. Keep in mind, though, when you decide to join groups, that some can be hostile. Make sure you enter ones that make good trading partners. Build your alliances wisely.
- You better start thinking about how you’re gonna acquire stable food supplies. You might wanna get into homesteading or start a survival garden when you have a chance.
1 month Post SHTF realities
- Things are only gonna get worse from here as cities and regions are already depleted of any supplies and resources left.
- People who failed to prepare are feeling the effects of starvation, while true-blue preppers have either gotten out or are still fighting for survival.
- If no help arrives, it’s time to think of your long-term survival. This will be your new reality, whether you like it or not.
2 months Post SHTF truths
- Things going back to how they were will seem hopeless at this point, so you should implement your long-term survival plan.
- Your family and your group might consider moving to a new location where it’s more advantageous for everyone’s survival.
- If you haven’t established a group or community, see if you can find folks you can trust and build a troop together. Staying in a group of like-minded folks will make survival easier in the long run.
What to Do Post SHTF?
The doomsday scenario we feared has finally destroyed everything in its path. The crisis is here. The time to prepare is over. Heck, you should’ve done all the prepping ages ago.
During these series of unfortunate events, you need to think quickly on your feet. You must act like a true survivalist. If you’re still a little overwhelmed, here are 10 things every prepper should do after SHTF:
- Connect with your loved ones. If you’re away from family when disaster struck, you must establish communication with them as soon as possible. Do everything you can to find a working line or just head home if it’s safe.
- When everyone’s huddled in one place, it’s time to assess the situation and form a plan or implement it. As preppers, you should always have an SHTF plan ready when a crisis like this happens.
- Your family’s most significant decision to make in a post SHTF situation is deciding whether it’s best to stay home or bug out. If you’ve assessed the situation well enough, you’ll know the answer right then and there.
- Once the family has decided to stay put or move to their bug-out location, securing your area is a number one priority. The disaster probably left a few damages to your place; it’s smart to make rounds and repair what needs fixing. This way, you’ll know your family is safe and away from any threats or danger.
- Your family must observe operational security or OPSEC at all times. People will turn desperate one way or another. Keep your information private so that you won’t be a target by a gang of armed folks.
- Another way not to bring unwanted attention is to blend in as much as possible. Be the gray man and move unnoticed when disaster strikes.
- You want to stay informed no matter what in a post SHTF scenario because it’s critical for survival. Gather as much intel as possible and observe your surroundings.
- Don’t be like everyone else and panic-buy. The right thing to do is avoid large crowds because running to stores will only make things worse.
- Your home or bug-out location is already safe, stocked, and secured. All there’s left to do is focus on sheltering in place for the first 2 to 4 weeks. This plan of action is one way to keep yourself away from angry and desperate crowds.
- When a month has passed, and nothing has changed, it’s time to decide the next steps. For your family to make a sound decision, evaluate your situation first based on the information you’ve gathered and proceed accordingly.
5 Places to Avoid Post SHTF
Moving locations can be tricky, but it could be your only choice, especially when there’s no chance for things to go back to normal. You have to up your chances for survival, and to do that; you must seek safer areas.
Rebuilding your life someplace else sounds like a good plan, but this also means you’ll be exposed to the outside world and closer to danger. If staying alive is still part of the plan, here are places you wanna avoid at all costs:
High-density population areas are one of the most dangerous places to be in a post SHTF world. The congestion, dense infrastructures, and limited escape routes make it hard for folks to survive. Plus, these make them vulnerable to injuries and death after disaster strikes.
Big cities are also filled with unprepared folks who only have supplies that would last for a few days. Once their essential resources run out, these urban dwellers become desperate folks in a starving city. In short, they’ll be the biggest threat to your safety and security.
You’re better off in a remote area where there’s plenty of space, lesser people, and miles away from violence and diseases.
If you’re contemplating getting extra supplies from stores, don’t. Stay away from grocery stores, supermarkets, and food warehouses because mobs are surrounding these areas.
Essential items are scarce, so looting and fighting for supplies are expected in a post-apocalyptic world. Take our word for it when we say you don’t wanna be part of crazy brawls. Disaster preparedness could’ve stopped you from thinking of crossing these territories, but since you’re already here, you might as well extract yourself from imminent danger.
A massive portion of the world’s population heavily relies on prescription medicine. It’s expected that many folks will line up at drugstores even after a disaster to try and get refills of their meds. As if we’ve not pointed it out more than once, these types of places attract crowds, and you’d wanna stay away from them the best you can.
As mentioned in the first section of this article, hospitals will be overflowing with injured and sick folks. While medical centers exist to help, they won’t function like how they did pre-SHTF. On top of battling a power outage, hospitals will most likely be understaffed, and there will be no beds available for everyone.
It’s also important to keep in mind that diseases will start breaking out in a prolonged crisis. Catching infections and getting sick is the last thing you want, so if you can help it, swerve away when you see a hospital.
In a major crisis, roads, railways, ports, and airports will be full of stranded folks looking for food, shelter, and transport. Do you see where we’re going here?
Since they’re running out of supplies or have already run out, they won’t hesitate to steal stuff from you or even demand for you to give them what you have.
This situation could be dangerous because you’ll never know if they’re armed or not. You could flee or apply your self-defense skills if you encounter rabid folks along the way, but always be cautious first.
Things to Avoid Doing Post SHTF
In a total collapse, your best defense mechanism for survival is subterfuge. By definition, it means using deceit, tricks, or evasion to achieve one’s goals. Subterfuge is key for preppers like us so that we won’t draw unnecessary attention.
You must bring your A-game because in a life-and-death situation, it’s every man for himself. To help you focus on tasks at hand, don’t be a fool and avoid doing the following:
- As preppers, we’re always prepared for anything, but you don’t have to exclude yourself from government initiatives or services offered. Never act like you don’t need help because folks are gonna smell something fishy.
- Don’t be too cocky about asking others for assistance. The trick here is to pretend you have nothing but always ask within reason.
- In a post SHTF world, no one’s expecting you to look clean, so don’t be too conscious of your appearance. In fact, you should look poor, needy, and desperate to give off an impression that you don’t have a lot.
- Don’t carry anything of value, like gold jewelry or a bag of cash. You might not realize it, but your non-verbal behavior speaks volumes. Folks can tell when you’re trying to protect something.
- Avoid appearing too laid back. You’re in the middle of a crisis, for crying out loud! Look as though you’re on a constant prowl like everyone else.
- We know your prepper pantry is well-stocked, but you have to take it easy with your food intake. Limit your calories if you can. Folks are barely surviving with the little food they have, and you looking healthy as ever might raise some eyebrows.
- Don’t leave paper trails. The best way to achieve that is to minimize waste. You don’t want some nosy folks invading your property and demanding that you give them a ration of your hard-earned resources.
- Don’t be too careless when cooking. The smoke and smell coming from your food will potentially invite unwanted visitors, and you wouldn’t want that. You can try setting up a ground oven in your backyard to avoid folks pestering you.
- The bottom line for us preppers is to think, look, and act like we have nothing at all. There’s no room for charity work in a post-SHTF world. But if you want to appease your conscience, you can anonymously leave some of the food you’ve gathered from government initiatives on people’s doorsteps.
Surviving the effects of a major catastrophe is no easy job. You’ll have your work cut out for you to get out of this situation alive.
But you’ve prepared your whole life for this, so your chances for survival are pretty high. You just have to put your survival instincts to work.
Are you ready to wear your survivalist hat? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.