SHTF – What Is It And How To Prepare For SHTF?

Jeremy Bowyer
Written By Jeremy Bowyer

Jeremy Bower is a generational survivalist and expert outdoorsman.

There are not many things in your control during an SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) survival situation, but one thing you will be sure of is that surviving will be hard work. Of course, there are many different things you can do in order to prepare yourself for the chaos that lies ahead of you.

In today’s world, it’s not difficult to imagine things turning sour with how many political and natural disasters we face every year. Even the predictable events like flooding and hurricanes are getting worse, turning vast areas of the world into disaster areas.

Many of the threats you could be faced with when shit hits the fan are predictable, but others aren’t. That’s why I wanted to give you some of the things you can prepare to survive when things turn a little desperate.

No Law Enforcement


In an extreme SHTF crisis, it’s more than likely that both law enforcement and emergency responders will be scarce or almost impossible to find. We can see this would be a likelihood by looking at small-scale disasters and how law enforcement tends to look after their own families first. If and when things go wrong, it will be more than likely that you will need to defend yourself without waiting for the law to intervene.

One thing many preppers predict is that criminals and other bad guys will try to impersonate law enforcement and the military during a SHTF crisis. This will allow them to prey on the innocent, helping them to gain easy access to places that they could potentially loot.

Another thing that law enforcement does during any sort of disaster situation is to seize all civilian guns and firearms. An example of this was during Hurricane Katrina. The local law enforcement, as well as the National Guard, took over 1,000 firearms legally owned by citizens. It’s a very high possibility that if SHTF, they will come for your guns first.

Personal Safety

Protests and shit hit the fan

When things take a turn for the worst, there will be people who mean to harm others for their own gain. This is an inevitability and is something you need to prepare for and learn to handle on your own. People that aren’t prepared for when SHTF will have no idea what to do in order to survive if the safety net of society is removed. People become unpredictable and desperate during these kinds of scenarios.

Even when things are relatively calm, there’s definitely a portion of the population who tend to go a little wild. There are the people who go nuts and start destroying property when their sports team loses, and the gangs who terrorize bigger cities. The total collapse of society could make living in an urban environment nearly impossible for the rest of us.

So what can you do? There are a few things you can do now that could end up saving your life during a SHTF survival situation:

  • Develop an awareness of the situation – Being entirely naïve for what could happen will leave you in the most dangerous position of all. Begin learning how to defuse hazardous scenarios now so that when shit does hit the fan, your safety won’t be threatened. 
  • Protecting yourself from criminals – One of the scariest things about survival situations is how other people act around you. The mob mentality takes over, leading people to form groups and gangs of criminals who will go to any lengths for survival. Prepare yourself with self-defense skills and other ways you can get out of potential trouble.
  • Surviving shooters – This is an all too real SHTF scenario that we have to deal with in our everyday lives, let alone when a more significant crisis happens. Learning what can save your life if there are active shooters will help you to be as prepared as possible.

Sanitation Problems

Sanitation and trash

A part of SHTF survival that not many people talk about is the sanitation issue that will almost certainly arise. If the mobs and criminals don’t get you first, then the hygiene and sanitation risks could end up being more of a problem. Put a plan in place to deal with your garbage and sewage before they can become any sort of threat.

Something else you may want to stock up on as part of your survival kit is sanitation supplies. It’s not a very pleasant thing to prepare for, but having unsanitary living conditions could lead to a lot of nasty diseases being spread. Diseases outbreaks will likely be rampant in SHTF scenarios, so do your research and know-how to cope with them as best you can.

Trying To Stay Positive

SHTF situations typically mean that all hope is lost, and it’s tough to maintain a positive mental attitude during this time. If you start working on it now, you could end up making it through a survival scenario much more successfully than if you succumb to the doom and gloom.

There will also be different physical affects your body may have to go through during a SHTF crisis. Lack of sleep and dehydration are both real possibilities. One of the greatest survival skills you can use in most situations is to train both your body and your mind to survive. Motivate yourself to get fit and be prepared before it’s too late.


What Is SHTF Survival?

SHTF Survival is a prepper or survivalist way of saying that during any sort of long term survival situation, things are going to get bad, fast! How bad things will actually get we don’t know, but we do know that a lot of people don’t know the first thing about facing dangers during a SHTF crisis.

What Should I Do Immediately After SHTF?

People protesting

The first thing you should do when SHTF is to stay as calm as possible. The next thing to do would be to move away from any immediate danger. The danger could be random bombs, car pile-ups, or even a school shooter. The priority is to find somewhere safe, even if it is only temporary.

How Likely Is SHTF?

It all depends on where you live. Locations that are prone to natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis are much more likely to have a SHTF crisis on their hands. Similarly, countries with a lot of political unrest are more likely to experience SHTF survival situations in warzones and unsafe territories.

How Do You Survive Urban SHTF?

City shtf

There are specific skills you should learn if you want to survive an urban SHTF crisis. These skills include surviving an attack, cooking without a stove or oven, growing your own food, and preparing a survival pack.

What Does SHTF Mean?

SHTF has a lot of different meanings when it comes to survival, but the acronym stands for Shit Hits The Fan.

What Is The Most Likely Disaster Scenario?

There are two disaster scenarios that are much more likely to happen than most. The first is for the economy to collapse, meaning people will need to become self-sufficient and work out long term food storage solutions. The second is nuclear war, as so many countries arm themselves with weapons to do a lot of damage.

Final Words And SHTF Summary

Knowledge will be your ultimate tool in a SHTF situation and could end up determining whether you survive or not. Your ability to prepare and predict what could happen during this kind of situation is an essential step to being ready for when the shit hits the fan.

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