Furthest Right

Winter Is Coming III – What To Do When SHTF Events Happen


There are groups of people who have sensed what I have sensed in the current overdetermining Zeitgeist. They, like I, believe that winter is coming. One example of this is the Lifeboat Foundation. Another group consists of realtors who acquire, refurbish and sell old Cold War Era missile silos. Various other groups and individuals are taking similar steps to prepare for some tough history that seems destined to overtake our halcyon days in the Good Old US of A. An extremely formal example of this is the mission statement from the Lifeboat Foundation.

The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to encouraging scientific advancements while helping humanity survive existential risks and possible misuse of increasingly powerful technologies, including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics/AI, as we move towards the Singularity. Lifeboat Foundation is pursuing a variety of options, including helping to accelerate the development of technologies to defend humanity such as new methods to combat viruses, effective nanotechnological defensive strategies, and even self-sustaining space colonies in case the other defensive strategies fail.

Now most of us aren’t endowed foundations of survivalist-minded Ph. D Scientists. I, myself haven’t had the foresight to inherit several million dollars to acquire my very own used (hopefully not too often) thermonuclear missile silo. So just what can a simple, but thoughtful individual do to safeguard those she or he loves from the phantasmagoric gallimaufry of possible SHTF events I outlined in Winter is Coming II?

When actual excrement makes verifiable contact with the oscillating rotary device, there are two basic actions we can take upon contact. We can Shelter In Place (SIP) or we can Get Out of Dodge (GOOD). If you genuinely intend to survive WW III like the cockroaches, you have to be prepared, if necessary, to at least partially execute each strategy. We describe each strategy and how to prepare in advance to execute that plan below.

When planning on sheltering in place, the first step is to figure out what you are sheltering from. As I wrote in Winter is Coming I, SHTF events can occur on different time and length scales. The bigger and longer the event, the stronger and more fully stocked a shelter you will need to SIP without having to GOOD. The longer and more vast an SHTF tragedy you intend to escape, the further you may travel and the longer you will be away from home (if it still exists) after an effective GOOD.

So if you choose to SIP, the questions become, “Who all is sheltering?”, “How long are they staying?” Where are they staying?” and “What will they have to withstand?” The “who” question involves knowing how many people you have to feed and shelter and what characteristics of these people will create unique requirements. It helps determine how large of a shelter will be involved. The “how long” question determines how much and what sort of materials you should store.

Short-term SHTF events can easily be ridden out in place with a few basic staples. A Mossberg Special should handle untrustworthy neighbors. It will enable you to throw lots of lead with minimal skill or preparation. It’s the old-school version of point and click. Two cases of bottled water and a box of MREs will keep your standard family of four fed and hydrated for a week. A propane stove will allow you to eat your leftover meat from the refrigerator until that is no longer advisable. If you have a large enough kettle and good stock of propane, you can use it to boil some water for bathing and sanitation purposes. A good first aid kit may help. Use the Boy Scout Field Book as a guide for what to include therein.

Riding out a couple of weeks to a month may require a fuel store and a generator to rewire your place of shelter if the power is down. You can pay an electrician a reasonable amount of money to show you how to safely and effectively take your home of the local utility grid and put it on the generator instead if you are not the most blue-collar handy guy in the world. When you SIP this long, commo and transportation become issues. Make sure you have good spares for your car and a 5-gallon gas can in case none of the local fuel stations are functioning. A set of walkie-talkies with a charging station will allow you some short range commo ability. HAM or CB radios would be preferable if you are networking with people over distance during the SHTF Event or want the capability to at least try a distress call to the authorities under dire necessity.

Really prolonged disasters require a much larger scale plan. You can’t survive as just a small group unless one of you is Robinson Crusoe. Even he needed his man Friday. Long term SHTF Event survival requires a significant investment in recruiting the right people, buying some infrastructure* that can function off grid, and training yourself and others to perform tasks that most Americans haven’t needed to know how to do for at least 100 years. Canadian Prepper, Wesley Rawles, and William Forstchen know enough about this to give you some inclination of what you will be getting yourself into if you spend 10 or so years in SIP after a civilizational doomsday.

While being able to SIP is a luxury during most SHTF-like trauma, you may also have to prepare to make like horse manure and hit the road. The first part of an effective GOOD plan is a destination. Know where you are going and how you intend to occupy the place before you have to put the GOOD plan into effect. One thing Cormac McCarthy describes well in his apocalyptic novel The Road is the impossibility of living about sustenance level if you are constantly running. It’s like putting Tom Brady behind a crappy offensive line. He can’t throw you touchdowns while running for his life. You have to have a pre-arranged place to go.

Knowing how to actually reach your destination isn’t a bad call either. Have at least two routes in mind (and on paper map if the GPS system is Tango Uniform during the SHTF show). Drive all of your routes at least once. The map is not the territory. Have your back-up driver drive these routes as well. Plan on rest stops and rally points if you are travelling there in convoy. Don’t forget to have commo at least at the level of walkie-talkies. Don’t bet on your cell phone during an SHTF event of any magnitude or length greater than one.

Effective travel requires effective vehicles. If you can, get all your cars to the shop and at maximum repair prior to executing the GOOD. Keep them maintained and keep at least some spares such as batteries, and tires in case you can’t get to a repair facility during the SHTF event, while you are executing the GOOD. There is also something to be said for having a SIP location you can hike or ride a bike to as well. It’s a thought if you don’t have reliable cars and are not blue-collar handy.

Packing lists are a pain to put together. This is especially true if you don’t own a lot of the stuff you should be packing and wonder whether your Visa Card will melt. They are also a godsend in a panicky situation. So GOOD can be summed up in four steps: pick a destination, learn and practice at least two ways to get there, have a working car and know what to take along with you.

To wrap things up, SHTF events are almost impossible to prepare for completely or react to well. You have two primary strategies to deal with an SHTF Event. You can Shelter In Place (SIP) or you can Get Out of Dodge (GOOD). You will probably have to do some of each. Be proactive in preparing to do either. I hope that you have learned at least something from my efforts to write comprehensively and calmly on prepping and a greater respect for those who choose this as a hobby or a lifestyle.

*-Land, Farm Capital, Food Storage, Underground Fuel Storage and appropriate weaponry, maintenance, medical supplies and logistics.

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