There are 3 key elements to survival tactics: preparation, preparation, preparation. OK fine that’s one word three times but that just goes to show how important it is. You can brush up on your fire-making skills and train with a crossbow on the weekends as much as you like, but the best way to be sure you and your family are safe should the worst ever happen is to have a plan for when the ‘Shit Hits the Fan.’ It’s so important that it even rhymes.
Being prepared with a Shit Hits the Fan (SHTF) plan is a way to ensure that you and your family will have all that you need to deal with any disastrous situations that come your way. In other posts we’ve detailed how you would survived were you unceremoniously dropped into a deep dark jungle, or left stranded on a desert island. It’s far more likely however that something drastic will happen that will affect you and your family where you live. This could be anything from natural disasters to terrorist attacks or even outbreaks of disease.
“Fortune favours the prepared” – Louis Pasteur
The renowned French microbiologist Louis Pasteur is famously quoted as saying that ‘Fortune favours the prepared,’ and while he was more about dairy than danger he made a fair point. If we’ve learnt anything from history, disaster movies and season 4 of The Walking Dead, is that those who are prepared have a better chance of survival than those who are not.
Plan for the downward spiral
A crisis rarely stops after the triggering event and the aftermath of any major disastrous event can create an environment of panic and chaos that quickly spirals out of control. This needs to be taken into account and your SHTF plan will need to be comprehensive, flexible and prepare you for the unexpected.
Varying layers of preparation
It gets to a point when you have to plan your planning so that your SHTF blueprint is progressing in the most helpful way. This means that in order to create a SHTF blueprint you’ll need to start by preparing for different types of events in the order they’re most likely to occur, rather than just what’s easiest to prepare for.
1- Everyday Disasters
Start by preparing for those everyday disasters that will have a shorter-term influence on you and your family. This could be simple things like power cuts, storms, injuries and emergency evacuations.
2- Significant Events
Next prepare for disaster that will have a longer influence on your family and your society as a whole. These are situations such as economic collapse, long-term power failure and disease outbreaks. We’ve seen these things happen before and all fairly recently; in these uncertain times there’s no guarantee that they won’t happen to you.
3- End of the World
Finally start preparing for the a serious apocalypse, something along the lines of war, radiation or anything that ends the current way that you live your life. These are the less likely situations, but the ones that if/when they do come will completely change our lives and end the world as we know it. This means preparing food and water supplies, security, retreat properties and long-term plans.
The basics of a SHTF plan
Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, everyone’s SHTF blueprint will be different. However there are 4 simple (and slightly less simple) measures you can take to begin preparing yourself should the worst ever happen.
1) Create a food pantry
Stocking up and creating a long-lasting food supply makes sense as both survival tactic and a sensible investment. If any major event occurred that restricted your access to food, a food pantry will make sure that you and your family will have what you need to get by and wait out any storms, power cuts or any long-term threats.
Items such as soups and other canned goods have an incredibly long shelf life and can stay in your stash for nigh-on 20 years without spoiling (they may not taste great in 2030, but they’ll be edible). You can even buy emergency food kits from suppliers such as Costco or Amazon which include enough freeze-dried and canned goods to last years.
2) Simplify your lifestyle
This is especially important when preparing for potential economic disasters. Reducing the amount of family debt and simplifying your lifestyle will help to decrease your family’s dependence on others.
3) Invest wisely
Think about where you’re putting your money and if you’re investing in your family’s future and consider putting your money into hard assets such as land, precious metals, livestock and skills. These long term investments will better hold their intrinsic value and as such will help to insulate your family from economic downturn and inflation. As an added bonus, putting your money into investments means you can’t spend it and help you to save and become more self-reliant.
4) Go off the grid
We’ve seen how an economic downturn can send people into panic, and getting yourself and your family off the grid will mean you’re less likely to be taken down with everyone else. You could start growing your own food, raise livestock, barter for goods and services, invest in independent energy such as solar or wind power for your home. If the economy crashes around you and the supermarkets run out of food, you’ll be laughing at all those who mocked your vegetable patch.
There are plenty of great books available detailing how you’d get yourself off the grid such as The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre by Carleen Madigan or Earth-Sheltered Houses: How to Build an Affordable Underground Home by Rob Roy; both of which are available on Amazon (although it may be best to get a hardback copy in case your Kindle does work when the world ends).
Plan to Prep and Prep to Plan
No SHTF plan will be fool-proof, there will things that you just can’t manage to store up and some that you can more easily, however the most important thing you can set aside is time. Time to plan out what you and your family would really need in order to survive in the worst case scenario.
Set aside time on a weekly basis to assess where you stand with your current level of preparations and what you need to focus on in the coming weeks and months. Write up a detailed list of things that you can prepare straightaway and things that you can’t prepare just yet. The more detail you have the better you’ll be able to build up your prep over time and make sure that when the shit hits the fan, you’re not the ones getting splattered.