SHTF Plan: Follow The Steps and Survive

shtf plan

If 2020 and 2021 were full of chaos and turmoil, would 2022 be any better?

We hope so. But nobody knows what SHTF situations we might have to face in the coming days. With global uncertainties reaching new heights with each passing year, you can’t afford to stay unprepared.

How do you survive if all hell break loose? Let’s face it, we all need a SHTF plan and those who plan ahead, will survive when the time comes. 

As the saying goes- “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” 

So, let’s get down to business.

What is SHTF Survival? 

If you don’t know this already, SHTF is the acronym for “Shit hits the fan”. While it may sound like another dumb acronym, the term indicates a grave survival situation that will put your survival skills to the test.

In short, it’s a term that’s used to describe a global catastrophe or disaster. The intensity of the term often depends on individuals. For some, a natural disaster can be an SHTF scenario. For others, it needs to be a complete doomsday scenario.

So, what is a SHTF scenario?

An SHTF scenario can range from devastating cyclones, earthquakes, food crises, nuclear war, a pandemic, or an asteroid strike that threatens to erase humanity.

Once you understand what SHTF means, prepare for a wide range of practical threats. Here are some of them.

  • Law and order breakdown
  • Long term power outages
  • Communication breakdown
  • Water supply disruptions
  • Sanitation issues
  • Economic hardships
  • Mental and physical health issues

nuclear explosion

Step 1: Understand the Possible Scenarios

We can’t foresee what disaster might strike next. And it’s not possible to stay prepared for every situation. But there are some that have a higher probability of striking us.

Natural Disasters

Global warming is turning out to be a real threat and the climate is becoming more unpredictable with the passing days. No matter the state you are in, you can’t remain fully shielded from natural disasters

In 2021, there were eight. severe weather events in the US including cyclones, floods, and cold waves. In total, there were 20 weather disaster events in the year, each of which recorded losses of over $1 billion.

Do I need to say more? 

Power Grid Failure 

As per the reports of the EMP Commission, the effects of long-term power failure on urban and suburban communities can be catastrophic. Imagine the effects of a prolonged power failure of food supply, emergency services, and medical facilities. 

There can be various reasons behind the grid going down. It can be due to an EMP attack or a cyberattack. And the social unrest that will unfold from such an event is not science fiction, but a reality.


The huge amount of electromagnetic energy released from an electromagnetic pulse can have a devastating effect on the critical infrastructure. A nuclear bomb detonated hundreds of kilometers above the ground, (actually in space) can result in an EMP that can destroy all forms of electronics and the grid. And EMP attacks are an emerging threat that can strike with minimal warning. 

And that’s not all…

The sun can spit out a massive stream of plasma that can be as devastating as an EMP attack. The last time such an event happened was back in 1859.

Nuclear War 

Nuclear weapons are a threat to human civilization and will continue to remain so in the coming days. With the ongoing pandemic, this threat may be low on people’s minds, but the reality is different.

As per the Global Risks Report 2021, nuclear weapons remain one of the greatest threats to the planet. A nuclear war can damage the planet’s ecosystem and reduce global temperatures, plunging us into a nuclear winter. The global devastation caused by such an event will be nothing short of catastrophic.

Worldwide Pandemic/Biological Warfare

Experts say that the arrival of Covid-19 was not a matter of if, but when. As we recover from the blows of Covid, we need to watch out for the next one. And there is no way to know what deadly form it will take.

At this point, you realize the next pandemic might be worse than the present one.

To make matters worse, the use of microorganisms as biological weapons cannot be ruled out. When you consider the advancements in genetic engineering, the risks of terror and chaos get even higher. Just imagine a scenario straight from World War Z.

Step 2: Know When to Leave

Here’s a common question- what to do when SHTF?

If your SHTF plan is solely focused on bugging out, you might be making a mistake. Quite often the primal desire to do something during an emergency can take over our senses. When that happens, we often ignore the most sensible option- doing nothing and staying home.

Let’s face it- SHTF scenarios are completely unpredictable.

Whether you bug in or bug out will depend on the type of emergency scenario and the prevailing conditions. Ideally, be ready to do both. 

We would say that staying at home should be the default choice. Only when that option doesn’t work in your favor, should you plan to move out. 

What’s the bottom line?

A predetermined decision in favor of one option isn’t going to help you to stay alive. Update your SHTF plan map based on your judgment and situational awareness.

When You Can Stay Home 

Here are some situations where you will be safer staying at home.

  • If you have enough supplies and have fortified your home, staying indoors will be a safer option. When your physical location is not under threat, there’s no place like home. And many people do not have the necessary skills to survive in the wilderness.
  • In case of a long-term power outage, you can survive at home by using your stored supplies. Even if the phones and computers might not work, you can always enjoy board games with your family after lighting a few candles.
  • In the event of a contagious pandemic, it’s best to lock yourself at home and survive as long as possible without moving out. In such cases, the less you come in contact with other people, the safer you are. (Unless the virus can travel through the air and infect you through air ducts).
  • When outside temperatures are extremely low, bugging in is a safer option. Unless you have a safe location that has a backup generator for heating, your home will be the most comfortable place.
  • If you have a strong community of like-minded people with established relationships, bugging in can be a smart choice. Working together with your friends and sharing skills will improve your chances of survival.

When You Can’t Stay Home

When you are bugging out, you need to time the departure perfectly. It’s best to leave the danger zone before the situation reaches the flashpoint. If you leave too late, you will expose your family to dangers before reaching a safe location.

Let’s take a look at some situations when you shouldn’t stay at home.

  • When your home is threatened by natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, or wildfire, leave at the earliest. In fact, it’s best to leave early for safety to avoid the massive traffic jams on the freeways. In case your home has been damaged by an earthquake, evacuate immediately.
  • When there is civil unrest, the risks from desperate and lawless people are a significant threat. In densely populated areas, the threat is even higher. If you feel that your home is unsafe, leave immediately for a safer location.
  • In the event of a nuclear war, you need to take shelter in fallout shelters to survive. These bunkers are specially designed to offer protection from radioactive fallout.
  • During an extended SHTF scenario, the critical supplies in your home can run low. There may not be supplies available in the neighborhood. In that case, move out to a more suitable place for survival.

survival knife

Step 3: Have a SHTF Gear List

The right tools are essential to survive in an SHTF situation. Let’s take a look at some of the important items to pick when the world is staring at an end.


The term gear includes a wide range of items and choosing the right ones for tackling an SHTF scenario can be tricky. Here are some must-have items.

Personal Defense Items knife

These are items that are a must to protect yourself from others in a lawless world. The first item you will need is a survival knife. They are a must-have in your bug-out bag not only for self-defense but also as a versatile tool. A dependable blade like the ESEE 5P-E is a perfect choice for survival.

If you want something absolute for self-defense, a 9 mm handgun or a shotgun might be a practical choice. Obviously, it needs some expertise and training to use a gun in the right way. Make sure to carry enough ammo and store it right so that it can be used for a long time. 

First Aid Kit

When you are heading out to tackle an SHTF scenario, a first aid kit is a must-have. It should have all the necessary items to help you handle small medical emergencies. The Surviveware Comprehensive Premium First Aid Kit is a great choice that offers all the essentials in a compact and durable pack.

Protective Gear and Clothingsurvival backpack

Protective gear and clothing should offer you the right level of comfort and protection. These items should also be durable enough to withstand rough use. Apart from clothing and footwear, make sure to include rain gear for tackling wet conditions.

A Survival Backpack

A durable backpack is a must to carry all the necessary gear. In addition, it should have the right design for long hours of use without any discomfort. The 5.11 Tactical RUSH24 Military Backpack is one of the best options that you can pick.


When the world has descended into chaos, a safe way to travel to your bug out location is essential. When fuel sources have dried up, traveling by foot is the best option. Walking will take more time but it allows you to be stealthy.

If you want to pick a bug out vehicle to escape quickly, choose a reliable and fuel-efficient all-terrain vehicle. At the same time, it should have enough space for all the people with you. Make sure it’s low maintenance. That way you will be able to fix it easily if needed. 

And if you’re a lone survivalist, a motorcycle will be the quickest way to move out of danger.


When you are staying at home, all you need to do is stock up essentials and keep your home secure.

If you have already planned and set up a permanent bug out shelter, great! A cabin can be a great option for riding out an emergency. 

If not, you will have to go through the hard work of building one on the spot. Make sure to learn the basics about building a shelter. Also, carry the essential hardware like shovels and survival saws.

That said, prepper shelters aren’t the most durable option. Since shelter is the foundation of your survival plan, we suggest that you make a long-term plan for developing a reliable solution. 

You can also choose a survival tent or an RV- They are a more versatile and easy-to-use solution as a shelter.

Finding Food

The first option for food in an SHTF situation is your emergency food stock. But in case you are planning to bug out for longer durations, you have four options- hunting, fishing, trapping, and foraging.

For hunting and trapping, focus on smaller games like rabbits, squirrels, raccoons. Also, hunting may not be the best option at all times. That makes trapping an essential survival skill.

Chances are your shelter will be near a water body. So, fishing is a practical option. Carrying a survival fishing rod like the PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel in your kit is a good idea.

Foraging is a great survival skill, but the right knowledge base about the local flora and fauna is a must. A plant or fruit might look appetizing, but can be lethal for your system in reality.

Making Fire

Fire is essential for any SHTF planning. When in the wilderness, fire will provide you with light, heat, and a sense of security.

The good news is if you have the right tools, starting a fire is a simple task. Make sure you include a fire starter kit among your essential gear. The überleben Zünden Fire Starter is one of the best options you can pick.

cutting wood

Finding Safe Drinking Water 

No matter where you are seeking shelter, locating a safe water source is a must to remain alive. There are various ways to purify water in the wild that you should learn about.

One of the easiest ways of filtering water is using a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. It’s a great addition to your emergency kit.


When communication networks have broken down, you need to depend on alternative forms of communication. AM/FM radios are a great tool to remain aware of the real-time emergency information delivered by local authorities. 

Including an NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio in your kit is a great idea. It will help you stay updated about weather warnings and other hazards throughout the day. Other than that, shortwave radios are also a great way to collect information from around the country.

For two-way communication, you can use a Family Radio Service (FRS) or a General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).

Step 4: Know the Safest Places to Bug Out

Choosing the right spot when SHTF can be tricky. Here are some of the best states you can pick.

Idaho and Montana

Located between the Rocky Mountains, these two states have plenty of untouched wilderness that’s sparsely populated. They are also away from the prime cities which will keep them free from the fleeing population.

Arizona and New Mexico

Not all of these two states are dry deserts. The northern belts are greener and have plenty of natural resources you can make use of. As a bonus, you won’t find many others heading your way.

The Dakotas

Since the Dakotas are away from major population hubs, they are a safer option during civil unrest and EMP attacks. The population density is low in both states and there is plenty of rich vegetation that will help you to survive.


If you are looking for wilderness and untapped natural resources, Alaska is one of the best places to head. But tackling the freezing winters can be a big challenge.

Worst Places to be When SHTF

First and foremost, avoid densely populated zones. Beyond that here are some states that you shouldn’t head towards.


Being a coastal state, California is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. Besides, it’s the most wildfire-prone state. Criminal street gangs are also a major problem in the state. Overall, not a suitable destination during an emergency.

New Jersey

Since this is the most densely populated state, the struggle for survival will surely be the hardest here. Then again, being a coastal state, you can’t ignore the risk of hurricanes.


With the Gulf of Mexico being a breeding ground for tropical storms, Florida isn’t the safest option during SHTF scenarios. Also, it’s another densely populated state and the danger of sinkholes can’t be overlooked.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bug Out Location 

If you have made up your mind to set up a bug-out property there are some factors to keep in mind. Here are seven points you should note.

  • It’s best to pick a spot that’s not too far from your base location. That way, you will be able to reach it with a full tank of gas or by a few days of travel by foot.
  • Choose a spot that is remote and away from roads. railway tracks, and paths.
  • Make sure that there is a steady source of water nearby that you can collect and filter.
  • It is best to choose a terrain you are familiar with. Heading to an unknown zone in the midst of an SHTF situation is a bad idea.
  • Make sure you have safe shelter in that location. If you are planning to stay in a tent, decide if it’s a temporary arrangement or permanent. 
  • Choose a property that will allow you to be self-sustainable. It should have land for gardening, adequate food sources like fish and game, and a supply of firewood.
  • You should be able to secure the property against intruders. Choosing high ground, using natural barriers, or camouflaging the structure are some steps you can take.

Final Thoughts

While SHTF 2022 plans can vary depending on individual situations, they have one thing in common- it’s all about maximizing your chances of survival.

If you have stockpiled your supplies at home you can stay put without battling the crowds at the supermarket. Otherwise, you can have your bug out bag packed and be ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice.

No matter the step you take, sound SHTF planning will make the difference between living and dying. So, check and revisit every step of the SHTF plan to ensure that you have left nothing to chance.

Can you handle it?