What are the most important things you need to do before SHTF?
The first thing you should be doing before SHTF is coming up with a SHTF plan. In other words, what things are you going to do both before and during a SHTF event such as a natural disaster, fire in your home or the total collapse of society? You should be sitting down and writing up something so you can get all your thoughts in order and so you can share it with your family or whomever you’re going to involve with your survival plan. This should be a 10,000-foot strategic view of your plan. As such, this plan should involve having a few other plans in place to both create and activate. This SHTF plan should involve these ten things:
1. Come up with a Bug Out Plan
If SHTF and you have to leave your home, what are you going to do? Do you know where you’re gonna go and how you’re gonna get there? I know a lot of people say that they don’t need a bugout plan because they’ll be bugging in if SHTF.
What are you going to do if you come home and there are twenty armed guys eating your cheetos and rifling through your Playboys? Since you need to plan for an unknown that will change your life, you need to come to grips with the possibility that you may not be able to stay home. There are a lot of reasons why you may have to bug out; a fire could sweep through your neighborhood, a tornado could wipe out your place, a hurricane typhoon could devastate your area, a flood could wipe out your town, a chemical or radioactive load could spill in your area, or one of dozens of other things could happen. You are a freaking prepper for chrissake. Why are you burying your head in the sand like the sheeple? The fact is that something could happen someday that could cause you to have to leave your home. Plan for it.
2. Come up with a Bug In Plan
The same goes here for those pig-headed preppers above. You can’t just plan on bugging out if SHTF. Are you gonna run to your bug out shelter every time the power goes out? The fact is that in most cases, it’s best to just stay put. Bugging in is the first step in my bugging out plan anyway because you need to assess the situation, grab your equipment and gather your thoughts before you do anything, so you’d might as well make sure that your stay at home during a SHTF event is comfortable and survivable. There are several SHTF scenarios where you won’t be able to move right away due to gridlock, confusion, you not implementing this plan like I told you, etc. Expect it and plan for it.
If you’re bugging in, you’ll need to have an ample supply of food, water and medicine. You should also plan for lighting, heat, emergency power, and communication. If you’re bugging out, you’ll need to figure out what you’ll need to bring and how you’re going to carry it. There are literally thousands of websites out there that will tell you what to pack, and even sites that will help you organize what to put in your bugout bag so I’m not going to go into all that here today. The big thing to emphasize here is find out what you’ll need if SHTF, find out what you don’t have of that, and go get it.
3. Come up with a Commo Plan
Commo plan. Unless your plan is to go off to a desert island by yourself and never speak to someone again, you need an emergency communications plan. If SHTF, you’ll need to contact other people to find out where they’re at, what they’re doing, and what they need, and then coordinate your next actions. After SHTF, you’ll need a commo plan to coordinate movement and to keep in touch any time you separate. This will also allow you to securely get in touch with others later on during a crises or after things have settled down. A commo plan will help you preserve OPSEC, which can keep you alive.
4. Come up with an OPSEC Plan
OPSEC plan. You need to protect everyone that you bring along after SHTF. To do this, there are things you’ll be stocking or carrying and activities that you’ll be doing that will need to be protected. By going through all the things you need to protect, you can figure out what a potential adversary would need to know to either take or defend against what you have and then you can take steps to mitigate that threat.
5. Decide who’s in and who’s out
If you haven’t been diligent with your pre-SHTF OPSEC procedures, there will be people knocking at your door when SHTF because they were too stupid to prep. Are you going to let them in? Are you going to share your 30-day supply of water with triple the people you’d planned for?
Are you going to turn away the Special Forces friend who happens to be in your neighborhood when SHTF and is looking to group up? Would you know how to tell if you could trust him?
What about your neighbors; the SHTF event may not be permanent so you may be coming back to live across the street from them. They didn’t plan for this to happen. Should your kid’s best friend be left defenseless because he was born into a family with their head buried in the sand?
What are you going to do about your own family? Are you going to help them be prepared in advance so you don’t have to use up your supplies on them or would that just give up the fact that you’re a prepper and nothing would happen until SHTF?
Your plan of who you’re going to involve if SHTF should include the people that you didn’t involve in your plan. Find out who and when you’ll take in and who and when you won’t.
6. Find out what you need to learn
Skills have no weight so they’re easy to carry. Certain skills can replace items because you can use your skills to make things with what you find. These are critical skills to learn before SHTF and not after. Medical skills are important to know too so you should probably take a class at the Red Cross or local community college. Sit down and figure out what you don’t know and then come up with a plan on how to learn. You should definitely be learning how to protect yourself. If you’re going to have a firearm (and you’re not going to have your stuff long if society breaks down and you’re the only idiot without a gun), then you need to learn how to use it and how to use it safely.
Make sure you know the basics of survival such as everything you need to know to build a fire (watch the video for a $7 manual), filtering water, making shelter, catching/trapping food, medical, communication, navigation, and any other basic skills you’re missing.
7. Maintain your equipment
Is your bug out vehicle ready for a 1,000-mile trip, avoiding the main roads? Are your weapons cleaned and oiled? Are your medicines and foodstores expired? You should be going through these things now. Wouldn’t it suck if SHTF and you got everyone together, threw in your bug out bags into the car, had your route all ready, and then your truck doesn’t start? Go through what you’re going to need to have with you and make sure it’s ready.
8. Make sure everyone’s involved
If you’re planning on having someone involved after SHTF, you need to involve them before SHTF. Get them to work with you on your plans. Not only will you get some helpful information, you’ll bet buy-in for the whole process. You need to know your team too. You shouldn’t be finding out after SHTF that your cousin’s an idiot and gets distracted at bright, shiny objects. Find out now and adjust.
9. Practice your plans
Every plan you have needs to be practiced. Theres an old saying I learned from engineering: In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they’re not. When running through your plans, you’ll see things you didn’t know before, discover roadblocks that you didn’t know were there, figure out better ways to do it, and most important: your family and group know by heart what to do. You need to do practice some things, like bug out roots or proof-of-concept runs on certain plans just to see if they’re going to work.
10. Keep your mouth shut!
You need to fully understand OPSEC before and during any kind of SHTF or disaster event. There are those in society who will take advantage of you if they know what you’re doing or what you have. There are also a lot of people, especially the asshole media, who want to capitalize on the Doomsday Preppers image of preppers. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to start protecting your preparations and your family. Make an OPSEC Plan and keep to it.