Putting together a comprehensive SHTF plan is a responsible and necessary undertaking, but it can also be extremely overwhelming. For one thing, there is a myriad of natural and man-made disasters that can occur. For another, you likely have other family members and even pets to account for and take care of. The fact of the matter is, you will need to create several plans that cover the various types of disasters that can occur, and then you need to communicate these with your family.
Depending on the situation at hand, you will have to determine if it is safer to “bug out” or to shelter in place. You will need to have adequate supplies on-hand, and you will want to know how to use them. It is also important to have important documentation handy and in a safe place. Organization and communication will be your greatest assets as you prepare for anything.
Steps to Take:
Determine SHTF Scenarios
Before you can create a plan on how to react to a situation, you need to know what that situation might be. Scenarios that you’ll want to be prepared for are:
- Natural Disasters – Earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, severe flooding, tsunamis – whatever your region may experience
- EMP Attack / Long-Term Loss of Electricity
- Economic Collapse / Great Depression
- Nuclear War
- Global Pandemic
- Terrorist Attack
- Civil War / Civil Unrest
- World War
While many preparations will overlap, there will be times that your reactions vary, such as whether to stay in your home, take to the woods, or get in your bunker.
Whether it’s your bug out bag, camping gear, non-perishable food supply, first aid kit, or tools, the time to prepare is before disaster strikes. Consider the unique needs of your family members and be sure you have supplies for everyone. This is when your organization skills will really shine, as the speed with which you can locate everything you might need could give you a valuable headstart as conditions deteriorate.
Consider using binders for each family member, storing checklists and important documents for each person and pet. Be sure to include local maps and schedules, so that you know every route possible to be able to reach your family members.
Know Where You’re Going
Determine where the safest place is for you and your family. This could be your own home, the woods, a survival shelter, or a piece of property you own in another state. In addition to where you’ll be going, select an emergency meeting place in case you are all coming from different directions (i.e. work, school, activities). Choose routes that take back roads when possible, as highways can turn into gridlock as disaster strikes.
Communication is Key
Not only do you need to communicate all types of plans for your family so that everyone knows what is happening, but you also need a way to contact them. Cell phones could be one of the first tools you have that stop working. Be prepared with two-way radios, walkie talkies, and ham radios. You can even buy solar-powered and hand-crank radios. These will also be important for gaining information about the situation as it develops.
Have Reference Materials Handy
You should do your research and develop your skills prior to a disaster situation, but keep reference materials and how-to manuals with your gear so that you can easily research how to do certain things. Your internet access may be a thing of the past.
Keep in mind that a situation can morph and you will have to adapt as new information becomes available. A terrorist attack could lead to a world war and a great depression. Stay calm and make decisions and new plans as necessary, keeping your family informed about changes and what to expect.
Like any large undertaking, break the process of creating your emergency plans into smaller tasks. Stay organized – checklists are your friends! Storing your gear is clearly labeled bins on shelves in your closets or garage can also be helpful when you’re in a hurry. Whenever you remove gear, such as for a camping trip, be sure to put it back right away upon returning home. Keep batteries charged and food and water supplies stocked.