By Blackbird

Imagine, the S has hit the fan. Several years have passed and have made for trying times. You’ve managed to survive a famine, and defended yourself and your family from vicious groups of people that have threatened you. You’ve learned a variety of practical skills that make you indispensable to not only your group, but to your family. You’ve survived many difficult scenarios, earning a tough-as-nails reputation, only to be taken out by…dental problems…

While it seems like an unlikely way to die, it’s certainly possible both now, and especially in times of hardship that restrict your access to a dentist, it becomes all the more likely to occur. Economic ruin, inflation, sudden loss of incomes, pandemics, and even skyrocketing crime rates can hinder your access to dental professionals, which can put your health in jeopardy. SHTF can hinder garbage cleanup and overall sanitation in towns and cities, making good hygiene habits more important than ever before. As a disclaimer, the article I’ve written is in no way a replacement for a trip to the dentist, nor is it to be considered professional medical treatment. I am not a doctor nor a dentist. I’ll be the first one always to encourage you to seek out a good dentist, to get routine dental checkups and cleanings to maintain good dental health. This article is based on my own personal experiences, as well as my family’s experiences of maintaining good dental health when we weren’t able to go to the dentist for years due to loss of income during a severe economic recession.

Dental infections can be deadly.

Many folks are prepared for common emergencies, such as fires or defending their homes from burglars. From what I’ve noticed, however, is the lack of discussion surrounding dental emergencies. This is unfortunate, because this is a threat that can occur at the most unexpected of times and can happen to anyone. Whether you’re living in an all out SHTF or are suffering from your own personal financial disaster, it can strike you or your family without a moment’s notice.  

I’ll admit, if you’re living during a SHTF with a hungry stomach and bullets flying at you, the last thing you’re going to be thinking about is “Did I brush my teeth today?” 

Nevertheless, dental care is akin to health care. It shouldn’t be brushed off, just as maintaining physical fitness shouldn’t be scoffed at either. You’ll need it at a later time. This isn’t as exciting as talking about self-defense or how to survive an angry mob, but it’s still just as important. Dental problems don’t just stop with a bad toothache, they can contribute to other problems with your overall health as well. A number of credible studies have shown a direct correlation between poor dental health and other diseases such as chronic inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, weakened immune system, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and heart disease, greatly increasing your likelihood of developing at least one of them. So it’s not going to pay to eat healthy and exercise unless you’re taking care of your mouth as well. A buildup of bad bacteria can contribute to poor health. Poor health can not only make you feel sick and ache constantly, but it’ll hinder your quality of life and your chances of survival. Tooth infections can kill you in a matter of weeks if left untreated. 

My own family knew this, but due to a recession, combined with job losses and difficulty finding new jobs at the time, we couldn’t go to the dentist for years while we lived off-grid. So how did we make it for all of those years without professional care available and on a very limited budget? Without losing all our teeth or experiencing tooth and gum pain? Prevention. 

Prevention is the best method.

If you are able to, I highly recommend going to the dentist on a routine basis. Your dentist will be able to help you prevent a majority of dental problems from becoming worse or affecting other areas of the body. He or she will be able to nip problems in the bud before they become exacerbated, or worse yet, develop into a full-blown emergency situation. If SHTF occurs suddenly, you wouldn’t want to enter it with the additional stress of painful tooth and gum problems. Because at that point, who knows when you’ll be able to see a dentist again. It could be years, or even a decade. So be sure to make regular appointments while times are still good to maintain your dental health. 

When I was a small child, my family stressed the importance of taking care of my teeth properly to avoid future pain and decay. During our own personal financial disaster, they insisted that instead of just twice a day, I should clean my teeth and mouth after every meal, and very thoroughly too. To us, dental care was just as important as washing our hands and keeping clean. We had abided by routines to prevent these problems so that we didn’t have unnecessary dental expenses and costly bills. Sometimes we had to get creative and make our own toothpaste when money was really tight. I remember my grandmother would use baking soda with water to form a paste to clean her teeth. It worked for her, and it worked for us too. This is also an alternative to those who choose to omit fluoride from their routine. 

Homemade toothpaste

Here is a homemade toothpaste recipe: 

  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil (contains antimicrobial properties) 
  • Three tablespoons of baking soda
  • (Optional) you can add a few drops of peppermint or spearmint essential oil

Stir this mixture together and store it in a container at room temperature. This makes a cheap, natural and effective anti plaque and whitening toothpaste. A cheap jar of coconut oil bought on sale and a box of baking soda can last for quite awhile. The baking soda will eradicate any plaque that tries to cling to your teeth. This will also brighten your tooth enamel to a natural white color. 

Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, for approximately three minutes each time can help minimize tooth decay of course. You can opt to brush after each meal. You should wait at least thirty minutes to an hour after your meal to brush your teeth, or you could risk slowly eroding some of your enamel away. I suggest two types of toothpaste for the job; an anti plaque toothpaste, as well as enamel repair toothpaste. You can use the enamel repair one in the morning and the anti plaque toothpaste in the evening. Rather than just sticking to one type, this prevents plaque and tartar buildup while maintaining strong tooth enamel through remineralization, as well as preventing pains due to sensitivity. 

Cleaning your toothbrush

Plaque bacteria and other germs can still linger on your rinsed toothbrush and cup. Like dirty dishes, your toothbrush needs to be cleaned each day, otherwise you’ll just reintroduce harmful germs back into your mouth.

You can take hydrogen peroxide (The kind that says 3% and can be used as an oral debriding agent. More on that soon). Fill half the cup with peroxide and dilute it with an equal half of water. Place the toothbrush in to disinfect both the cup and the brush. Let this soak for a few minutes. You can empty this later and rinse with water. This offers a safe and inexpensive solution to disinfect. If you don’t have peroxide available, you can use a drop of dish soap to clean your toothbrush, just be sure to run it under water for at least 20 seconds to wash away the germs. 


As for mouthwash, be careful what brand you get if you buy it at the store. Some can do more harm than good, such as stripping away your tooth enamel, which leads to pain and sensitivity, as well as destroying the natural good bacteria in your mouth. Choose a reputable brand of either regular or natural mouthwash based on what’s best for you and your dental situation.

I wouldn’t recommend any that are made in China, some of these contain pretty questionable chemicals and lack quality control. Natural mouthwashes can be effective and frugal solutions, if properly prepared. Mouthwash should be used last, after flossing and brushing. Here are a few of my favorite homemade mouthwash recipes that my family and I used during difficult times.

Mouthwash Recipe 1: 

  • One cup of water
  • Three teaspoons of baking soda
  • (Optional) You can add a few drops of peppermint or spearmint essential oil

Stir the solution around with a spoon vigorously. Pour a small amount (about the size of a shot glass) into a cup. Swish around your mouth for 30 seconds and spit out. 

Mouthwash Recipe 2: 

  • One cup of water
  • Two to three tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

Simply mix together and pour a small amount into a cup. Swish around for 30 seconds and spit out. You do not want to add more apple cider vinegar than I recommended, as too much will be very acidic. 

Mouthwash Recipe 3: Best for Sore gums

  • One cup of warm water
  • Two tablespoons of sage, preferably ground
  • One tablespoon of salt
  • (Optional) Raw Honey

Mix together and swish around your mouth for a few minutes. It’ll help reduce swelling of the gums and soothe any sores. This works nicely for any wisdom teeth that are coming in as well. 

Mouthwash Recipe 4: (Not For Regular Use) 

  • One tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide for oral use
  • One tablespoon of water

Mix together the solution and swish around your mouth for 30 seconds. This should be used after each meal and no longer than a week. This will disinfect your mouth and can act as a deep cleaning agent. As a bonus, it can remove plaque, tartar and stubborn calculus from your enamel while whitening your teeth. Do NOT use it longer than a week. Be sure to dilute it properly and do not swallow it. This is something that should only be used every once in a while, such as every other month. 


I’d also like to add, despite the more recent controversies stating it’s no longer necessary to floss your teeth, please do not ditch this practice! Flossing gets out pieces of food that are wedged between your teeth that brushing and rinsing might not be able to dislodge. When you have bits of food stuck between your teeth, it can cause your teeth to try to accommodate it by trying to make room.

This not only leaves gaps, but can help force teeth to shift and crowd into each other, which can be painful. Neglecting flossing can cause bleeding gums and lead to gingivitis. Whether you use conventional floss or a water floss, be sure to floss at least once a day. Don’t forget to use a tongue scraper! It doesn’t pay to clean your mouth if you ignore your tongue, which also harbors food and bad bacteria. 

Dental nutrition

 Dental care isn’t just about keeping your mouth clean, it’s about giving your body what it needs to maintain the health of your teeth, blood vessels and gums. This means providing necessary nutrition through your diet, via food or supplements. A multivitamin is a good start to your day.

Some important vitamins and minerals I’d especially recommend for dental health (and your general health) would be Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D and Calcium. Vitamin C is excellent for your gum health, Zinc heals on a cellular level and can help heal wounds, including mouth sores faster. Vitamin D and calcium is a must-have for strong teeth and bones. Without these, you’ll be prone to scurvy, shifting teeth, bleeding and sore gums, gum disease, reduced healing, weakened teeth and other potentially serious consequences.  

Home Remedies for Toothaches and Gum Problems

Disclaimer: This is not a substitute for regular dental care, nor is it medical advice. Following are some ways that have traditionally been used for home support.

Nobody’s perfect. Sometimes we can try our hardest to prepare and prevent, but bad luck will strike anyway. I’ve included a list of home remedies that can help for when it does. 

  1. Salt Water: If you’re experiencing toothache or gum pain, be sure to swish and rinse your mouth with a warm salt water solution. Add a tablespoon of salt to eight ounces of heated water. Stir until thoroughly dissolved. Swish in your mouth for at least a minute. Use 3% one part hydrogen peroxide, one part water solution for even stronger disinfection.  
  2. Ice pack: Pressing an ice pack or cold compress against your cheek can help reduce swelling and pain. 
  3. Honey: I’ve found that this is best for reducing gum swelling and pain. Pour some on a teaspoon and let it in your mouth for ten to fifteen minutes or longer. Honey has natural healing antimicrobial properties. It can help kill germs and quell pain. Raw Honey works best.
  4. Garlic: Whether you have garlic powder, fresh garlic or crushed garlic tablets, it’s great to use to help combat potential infections. It has natural antibiotic and antiviral properties. 
  5. Clove Essential Oil: I haven’t personally used this yet, but it was recommended by friends who swear by it. They say it’s a great way to stop tooth pain and infections. Before using essential oil, it must be added to a carrier oil like coconut oil to dilute it. The proper ratio that’s recommended is ten to fifteen drops of clove oil per one ounce of a carrier oil of your choosing. 
  6. Enamel Repair Toothpaste: These can be pricey if you don’t get them on sale. This will help stop tooth pain that’s due to temperature sensitivities and weak enamel. 
  7. Tea bag: While peppermint tea bags work the best, green or black tea can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Just apply a warm tea bag to the affected tooth and leave it there for a while. 
  8. Vanilla Extract: I’ve personally never tried this, but my family members have and said that applying vanilla extract to the tooth and gum helped stop the pain. 
  9. Over-the-counter pain relievers: While not a natural solution, ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen can help reduce swelling and pain.
  10. Natural Pain Relievers:  If you’re looking for a more natural solution, I’ve found that white willow bark tea, sage and thyme tea, as well as calcium supplements, can really help reduce pain. I’d recommend calcium citrate, but I’ve already taken antacids with calcium carbonate in addition to ibuprofen to stop severe pains due to other injuries.

Everyone is different, and some solutions that may work great for other people might not work the best for you. The important part is trying to stop pain, irritation, swollen gums or potential infections before it becomes worse. Pain shouldn’t be ignored, it’s your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. It’s best to try remedies immediately at the first sign of discomfort. Do not procrastinate, it’s best to catch this early and try to stop it before it turns into something much more severe. 

If you try the listed remedies and aren’t seeing relief, and are experiencing symptoms such as a swollen face, swollen neck, severe throbbing tooth pain, tooth pain that spreads to other areas, bad taste and smell, you’ll need to see a dentist, because you have an infection. This can spread to other areas of the body and cause difficulty breathing. Head to an emergency room or dentist immediately.

Building Dental Kits and Dental Emergency Kits

Having a stock of necessary dental supplies, as well as a dental emergency kit is always a good idea. This doesn’t have to be some expensive venture. You can acquire a pretty decent stockpile by buying items on sale, purchasing items in bulk amounts, and using coupons or store discounts.

I always stock up on toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, tongue scrapers, mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, raw honey, coconut oil, baking soda and apple cider vinegar (a very versatile product). You can order stainless steel dental kits online. These are great tools for inspecting all areas of your mouth, scraping plaque from your teeth and checking below the gum line for plaque growth and to prevent decay. These instruments can be easily cleaned and sterilized for repeated use. You should make a habit of doing your own checkup once a month to catch any problems early. 

Emergency dental kits are always great to have on hand. You can buy premade kits or make ones for yourself. Here’s a list of important items to include in your kit. 

  • Tea bags 
  • Clove essential oil
  • Sage powder (for sore gums) 
  • Salt 
  • Thyme (can reduce toothache while cleaning mouth) 
  • Raw honey 
  • Vanilla extract with alcohol 
  • Dental dressing or gauze
  • Hydrogen peroxide 3% the kind that can be used as an oral debriding agent. It must be diluted, one part peroxide one part water
  • Gloves
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Dental mirrors 
  • Plaque removers
  • Headlamp or good flashlight
  • Oral anesthetic gel
  • Tooth Saver (to properly store a knocked-out tooth until you’re able to get to a dentist)
  • Tweezers
  • Temporary cavity fillings
  • Waterproof case
  • Antibiotics (Amoxicillin is a must-have for most tooth infections. You can purchase fish mox at online pet stores. This is great to have if you’re in the most severe type of SHTF where there are no medical professionals to help you. Adhere to the proper dosages for a human) 
  • Garlic (it’s great for infected gums and has natural antibiotic properties. Use large doses of garlic in conjunction with amoxicillin to kick an infection’s butt)

You may also want to stock up on cheap soft foods, such as applesauce, puddings, cream soups, pancake mix, instant mashed potatoes, and grits, as well as use a food chopper to prepare less chewy meals. Soft foods will be a godsend if you’re suffering from tooth and gum pain, not to mention other ailments such as tonsillitis. 

Whether you’re bugging in during SHTF, planning a bug out bag or an INCH bag, or a professional medical emergency kit, emergency dental kits should always be included in your plans. It may come in handy when you need it most. 

What do you think?

By following a thorough dental routine, we were able to avoid cavities, tartar, calculus, tooth loss, gum disease, infections, and yellow, unhealthy teeth during hard times for years. In the long run, it saved us costly dental bills, unnecessary pain, and stress, and it can do so when SHTF.

Do you have any special dental preps not mentioned here? How do you care for your teeth to prevent problems? Have your dental preps ever helped you through hard times? Tell us about it in the comments.

About Blackbird

Blackbird grew up in poverty in the rural Pennsylvania countryside during a harsh economic recession. She learned self-reliance from her family at a young age and is now a seasoned prepper of many years. She enjoys nature walks, reading, gardening, working outdoors, and drawing in her spare time.

The post A Prepper’s Guide to SHTF Dental Care appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

This content was originally published here.

SHTF scenarios are hard to prepare for, but training beforehand is essential for protecting yourself and your family. Add animals to the mix and it gets even more complex. Your cows and sheep don’t understand Category 5 hurricanes and EF5 tornadoes.

You may get lucky and have a few days to prepare for a significant natural disaster. Other SHTF situations won’t be so kind with warnings. How should you prepare for an evacuation? What if a getaway isn’t feasible? Here’s how to prepare for SHTF scenarios with your livestock.

What Challenges Arise in Animal Evacuation?

Preparing yourself and your family is hard enough during SHTF scenarios, but a cow weighing over 1,000 pounds may be even harder. Farmers, ranchers and survivalists face challenges evacuating their animals in dangerous situations.

The first hardship you may face is livestock behavior. Animals, like humans, can easily face anxiety and panic when thrust into challenging scenarios. Thunderstorms and disasters put them under duress. Studies have shown that extreme weather events affect livestock health with heat stress, oxidative stress, and other issues.

Tensions can run high when SHTF scenarios arise. Time is of the essence in evacuating every animal from the disaster. Livestock is more intelligent than you think and can sense fear in humans. When you’re scared, they can detect it. It’s essential to handle your animals with care throughout the process to limit obstacles in evacuation.

Another issue with evacuating your animals is coordinating transportation. It’s no secret that livestock can get heavy. Adult cattle can easily cross the 2,000-pound mark. Some people transport livestock to their land but don’t have ways to evacuate them if necessary. Your transportation might not be adequate to get every animal to safety.

How Can You Prepare Animals for Evacuation?

Among the best ways to protect yourself and your animals is with evacuation. Leaving the premises may be your safest option if your area is prone to flooding or vulnerable during torrential weather. These four strategies will prepare your animals for a good escape.

Emergency Contacts

The first step in an evacuation plan is to gather your emergency contacts. You’ll need phone numbers or email addresses from your family, neighbors, and friends. You’ll benefit from having the emergency phone numbers of your veterinarians, animal shelter, animal control, and more. In addition, give your contact information to these people and anyone else involved in caring for your livestock.

When it’s time to evacuate, it’s hard to load a cow on the back of your bugout vehicle and get away. You’ll need something more substantial with stronger suspension. You can use a bugout vehicle as long as you’re using it to haul a vessel like a trailer. The trailer you buy will vary depending on how many animals you have and their weights, so do your homework to determine what fits your needs.

The option that makes the most sense for livestock is a gooseneck trailer. These haulers are among the largest you’ll see in noncommercial use and are comparable in size to what you’d see hooked to an 18-wheeler. The gooseneck’s long arm hitches to the back of your truck, making it sturdy and stable for the long road ahead. Giving your large animals a smooth ride on a trailer will ease the trip despite unfortunate circumstances.

When buying a trailer, you’ll need to consider how much your vehicle can tow. The towing capacity affects your fuel economy, top speed, and how much you can carry. If you use a gooseneck trailer, you’ll need a towing capacity of at least 12,000 or up to 16,000 pounds. 

It’s essential to identify every animal correctly when evacuating your livestock. There are two types of identification you can use: permanent and temporary. The temporary solution may be easier for a quick fix, but if you have time, consider using a permanent ID.

Microchips are highly effective because they’re the easiest way to prove an animal belongs to you. They are about as tiny as rice and show your livestock’s identification number when scanned. Another permanent identification is tattooing. This method is standard for livestock, and ranchers usually place the tattoo above the ear’s first rib. Tattooing is beneficial because it doesn’t alter the animal’s appearance.

You could resort to temporary identification if you don’t have access to either option. In a pinch, you can use nontoxic spray paint for your livestock. Ensure it’s non-water-soluble if rain or floods are an issue. You can also use a livestock marking crayon to label each animal quickly. Other solutions may include chalk, tags, and collars.

Practicing the Plan

Evacuating your animals can feel like Noah’s Ark, whether you have a couple of cows or 30 animals to haul away. SHTF scenarios will give you little time to prepare, so you must be ready when the moment strikes. One way to get ahead of the curb is to practice ahead of time.

Give your evacuation plan a full practice run before disaster strikes. A simulation will allow you to work out the kinks in your armor. How can you make the evacuation more efficient? What were the struggle points? Did a particular group of animals not cooperate? It’s hard to predict how livestock will react in these situations, so do at least one practice run to find the bugs.

What if You Need to Shelter in Place?

There may be limited or no emergency services readily available for your animals if you live in a rural area. Evacuation can protect your livestock, but that isn’t always an option. Sometimes you have to shelter in place during SHTF scenarios. These five tips will help you stay safe on your property.

State Agriculture Department

If you know a disaster is coming, contact your state’s agriculture department to see how it can help. If you can’t evacuate your animals, the state may be able to send assistance your way. You can also reach out to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and apply for one of its disaster aid programs.

The USDA has an emergency assistance program for livestock that provides financial help. You can apply for the USDA to cover the costs of transporting feed for your livestock. 

Alternate Power and Safe Water

Disastrous storms can knock out power grids for days or weeks, or a separate incident like a cyberattack can cut power with no warning at all. You’ll need to find alternate energy and safe water sources.

At least one backup generator will significantly help your property stay powered. Some survivalists rely on technology to track livestock location, feeding schedules, and keeping milk at a proper temperature if you make dairy products. An outage would be devastating, so prepare your livestock with backup generators.

Another thing to focus on is finding alternative water sources. Heavy floodwaters often contain contaminants from sewage and animals that drink this water could quickly become ill from chemical contamination. Prevent them from drinking it and prepare with a stock of water ahead of time. Test it to ensure your animals will be safe when you provide water.

Native Trees

If you elect to leave animals outdoors, ensure the environment is safe for them to stay in while they brace for the SHTF scenario. One way to help them is to inspect your property for non-native trees. Native trees are preferable on any property for livestock protection because they’re typically much more substantial. They’ve been in the environment for years or decades and have adapted to the climate.

Native trees also provide other benefits, like protecting nearby plants and saving water. Non-native trees can be invasive and steal nutrients like water from other plants. Adapting to the climate helps trees survive harsh conditions. Find native trees for your livestock to take shelter under and steer them away from weaker non-native trees. 

Removing Barbed Wiring

Barbed wiring has been a staple among farmers and ranchers for over a century. Its invention led to a soaring cattle industry in the late 19th century. However, it may be best to remove it in SHTF scenarios.

You may need to evacuate without your animals when a powerful storm comes. In this scenario, consider removing the barbed wire from your property. When flooding happens, your livestock will search for higher ground, or if hurricane-force winds come, they’ll want to find low-lying areas. Though they may wander off, the animals will be better off without barbed wire on the property. 

Building Safety

One critical decision you’ll need to make is whether the livestock will stay inside or outside. You must ensure outdoor facilities are strong enough to withstand any SHTF scenario, especially a tornado or a hurricane. Good upgrades and preventive measures can be the difference in your animals’ survival.

The first step is to inspect every building for weaknesses that a storm can exploit. Check the paddocks and barns, especially the roofs. There may be loose shingles or weak siding that will break easily during heavy storms. Keep pesticides and other fertilizers above ground so they don’t become dangerous in floodwaters. You’ll also need to protect your heavy machinery by securing it to the floor.

Protecting Livestock in Any SHTF Scenario

A SHTF scenario can arise at any moment these days. A pandemic has already shown how bad things can get. The next disaster could be a Category 5 hurricane, economic collapse, or war.

In any circumstance, you need to consider how to protect your family and livestock. Losing your animals would be detrimental to any survivalists trying to sustain themselves. Take the proper measures to protect livestock, whether you evacuate or shelter in place.

This content was originally published here.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

As the saying goes, we are nine meals away from anarchy. In short, it means that after three days without new supplies, most cities would be completely out of food and gas. At that point, people will be desperate—and dangerous. Imagine if the taps run dry, too.

In desperate times, people do desperate things. How will you handle that? If people know you have the things they need (food to feed their family, ammo to protect them, medication to heal them), you will become a target.

Article continues below.

So, in an SHTF scenario, how do you avoid become a target? It’s all in how you conduct yourself.

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Play the Middle of the Herd

There is really one concept to understand if you want to avoid becoming a target after the SHTF. That concept is becoming a master of playing the middle. The middle of the pack mentality is pretty simple to understand.

When the world around you is full of predators and you are part of the herd—which you will be unless you are extremely isolated—then you want to be in the middle of the herd. You do not want to be the weakest or the injured member of the herd because they get picked off. And you don’t want to be the biggest and the baddest in the herd because then you stand out.

You wanna be nestled somewhere in the middle. The middle means you are likely to go unnoticed, and that is exactly what you are after. So, how do we take that principle from a herd of ungulates and apply it to an SHTF neighborhood in America?

There are many things you can do to position yourself in the middle of the herd.

If you have a lot of emergency food, you don’t want everyone to know about it, and you don’t want to appear full and satisfied if the people around you are starving and suffering. You could either ration yoru food, or you could fast and eat one meal per day.

In that way, you will stay lean and hungry at times. You might consider fasting once or twice a week so you can feel that hunger that everyone around you is feeling. It will help you relate, and it will keep you from becoming a target.

Gray Man Theory

I wouldn’t recommend avoiding interactions altogether, but there will be situations where you do not want to interact with people and just live out that middle of the herd mentality. When you are trying to blend in, there is no better mentality then that of the gray man.

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This gray man theory is often misunderstood. I have seen many people take this quite literally and start buying gray baseball hats and t-shirts as though the color itself is what will make a person go unnoticed.

The truth is that the Gray Man Theory requires that you understand what’s going on in the world around you. What are the people doing? What pace are they moving? How are they dressed? Where are they going?

To be an effective gray man, you don’t need a certain color shirt. Rather, you need to mimic the movements of the crowd. Again, you will become one of the herd. This is a great technique if you are leaving the safety of your community in SHTF, and you want to go unnoticed.

Build a Circle, But Not Too Big

You might think that being alone and not talking to anyone after the SHTF is the best way to avoid becoming a target, but as I mentioned, you want to avoid being unique and noticeable. That means that you should have a small circle of people that you talk to regularly.

The best case scenario is that you have a block of neighbors that are all working together to survive, and that becomes your circle. These people can vouch for you, and they can back you up if need be. They are people you can work with.

While you want to have that circle of allies, you do not want that circle to get too big. It will be hard to know and trust a very large circle, and after the SHTF, trust will be important. Keep a small, tight circle so you are not singled out for being isolated. People will make assumptions if they never hear from you or see you.

However, avoid spreading your name and face around to a much larger group of people as that will only get you noticed by the wrong kinds of people. Better that you do not exist to the larger world.

Hide Your Food, Inside and Out

The trickiest part about being a prepper after the SHTF is having the resources everyone wants but not having enough for everyone. You will want to help the people around you, but you also have to make sure you don’t starve yourself or your family.

When it comes to food, you can never let anyone know just how much food you have, and one of the best ways to do that is to hide your food. If you invite people into your home, you do not want them to see or find your food.

A wrong turn to the bathroom might take them to a backroom that is stocked to the ceiling with food storage. Then your secret is out. Storing food in multiple rooms and even outside is a much better plan.

Survival food caches can be as simple as a 5-pound bag of rice, 2 pounds of black beans,and some seasonings all stored inside a length of PVC pipe and buried somewhere on your property.

The point is to not keep all of your food in one place and to keep it hidden so you don’t become a target.

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Be Careful with Generators and Lights

Having a gas generator is the best way to get the lights back on when they go out. However, gas generators are loud, and lights are bright. If no one else has power, then you are going to stand out like a sore thumb with your generator thumping away and your house lit up in the dark of night when no streetlights are on.

While it might seem like you have done the right thing by preparing for this catastrophe with a generator, you need to be very careful how you manage it. One of the best ways to become a target after the SHTF is to show everyone that you have something desirable that they want.

When you run a generator, you have many things:

These will all be appealing in an SHTF scenario, and people will hear that generator from a long way away. So be very careful about what you show the world and the noise you make, too.

Have Worth

You can also be noticed if you’re no help to anyone. Remember this! If you bring nothing to the people around you, that will also bring attention. What if you are pushing a low-grade neighborhood security and you don’t have a firearm or any experience using one? Or you don’t know how to operate your radio and are always falling asleep on your shift?

You are going to be noticed for all the wrong reasons. You might be pushed out by the people of your own group.

If you really want to avoid becoming a target after the SHTF, you need to stick to the middle of the herd mentality. You cannot be the strongest or the weakest. Remember, there is always someone stronger who will look at you as an opportunity or a challenge.

The weakest always fall victim to the predators. So, you cannot be there either.

However, by being a viable member of the herd and being involved to some degree, you can become just what you are today: a regular person doing life. That life will be filled with much more risk, but you will still strive to be just another member of the fallen society, and not someone who will become a target.

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Accept reality

From a realistic perspective, recognizing what is in your control is key in handling any of life’s situations. According to experienced prepper Bob Rodgers, this acceptance of reality will help you manage your thoughts and regulate your emotions.

Think of survival and behave productively

Rodgers noted that even in the face of problems that you can’t solve, you still must make choices about how to respond. “Whining and moaning (and anything less than good) will keep you in a negative vortex that can rob you completely of your mental strength or quickly lead to demise,” he said.

“Survival is 90 percent psychology,” said Cody Lundin, an internationally recognized professional survival instructor. “When the chips are down, it doesn’t matter how many books on survival you’ve read [because] if you’re a mental and emotional basket case during survival episodes, you’re toast.”

Stay calm and do breathing exercises

Your survival depends on how you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for survival. Rational thinking can save your neck and keep your cool. Practice how to regulate your breath to control your stress and anxiety.

Learn how to practice quick progressive muscle relaxation exercises to relax your body and center yourself.

“Learning to control anxiety and panic reactions is a skill that can and should be used in everyday life – but finding yourself in a life-threatening situation is not the time to begin practicing those skills,” said combat psychologist Dr. Neal Olshan.

Be a leader and believe in yourself

You need leadership skills because you may find yourself responsible and accountable for people’s lives and safety.

Stay calm, assess the situation and avoid being complacent. This takes discipline to develop, but it could be as simple as being mindful of the state of the environment around you and generating what-if scenarios and making action plans. Having a Plan B or C to your Plan A wouldn’t hurt either.

Be decisive

Weigh the pros and cons to arrive at the best decision possible by evaluating if you will be the only one dealing with the effects of your decision or will other people be affected by it too. The bottom line is you have to stick to your decisions and run with them.

Find hope and a reason to be alive

Another fuel that propels a survivor’s mindset is what would motivate you to stay alive in a life-and-death situation. For Steve Callahan, author of “Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea,” it was family. Realize that you can do something and you have something worth fighting for.

Focus on how you can get better rather than focusing on how hard life is.

Control your mind and your thought processes

Ground yourself by becoming aware of your thoughts and learn to sift through them with a little mental exercise to figure out which thoughts are good, bad or neutral. Get rid of the negative ones that usually stop you from thinking clearly.

Breathe if you’re feeling overwhelmed so you can focus and recenter your thoughts. Think of your loved ones – your family and your friends – because you don’t want to see them panicking.

Develop a personal mantra

In the psychology of self-preservation, if you say something repeatedly, the brain will do everything in its power to make the repeated mantra occur. Therefore, repeating phrases like “I am a survivor,” “I can adapt” or “I am resilient” can help you survive tough situations.

Learn the power of focused anger

Anger is wasted emotion, and uncontrolled anger can lead to dire consequences. However, under certain circumstances, controlled anger activates the basic survival instinct that can alert your body’s physiology to be prepared for a challenge and force your brain to focus on a solution that leads to survival.

Develop your physical strength

Once your mind is prepared, you can begin the physical side of things.

Rodgers mentioned the four main attributes of general fitness: strength (your level of ability to produce a great deal of force to overcome a certain amount of resistance), endurance (your ability to continuously exert a certain amount of force for an extended period of time), stamina (a combination of both strength and endurance) and mobility (being able to securely move all of your joints through their full range of motion).

Train, practice… train again, practice again

You need to keep training your mind and practicing if you want to have a survival mindset. Staying sane in a survival situation is a feat in itself. It takes a lot of mental toughness to respond to hostile conditions and make it out in one piece – physically, mentally and emotionally.

“As a prepper, your focus should be keenly aimed at preparing yourself to become strong enough to be useful to those around you in times of a crisis – having your mind together and your body fit and ready,” said Rodgers.

Watch Dr. Pam Popper explain the importance of developing mental toughness below.

This video is from the .

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Disconnecting from the internet of things is something many hikers, hunters, and campers do anytime they hit a trail. Except as any experienced outdoorsmen knows, it’s important to be prepared for an emergency, and in extreme circumstances, be capable of communicating for rescue. While some smartphones are beginning to provide satellite communication, they shouldn’t be relied upon. For guaranteed emergency comms, you should invest in something called personal locator beacons, or PLB.

How does a PLB Work?

Most personal locator beacons can transmit to rescue personnel via more than one communication method. Generally, PLBs interface with one or all of the following:

VHF Radio w/ DSC: VHF radio’s been around for decades, but DSC, or “Digital Selective Calling” allows for digital comms with Coast Guard radios and personnel. This is typically reserved for rescue operations in maritime environments.

AIS GPS: The Automatic Identification System is a gPS-connected broadcast system that functions like any transponder. It, too, uses the VHF maritime radio band.

Local Area Systems (121.5 MHz): This VHF frequency is monitored by every air traffic control facility, and federal law dictates that all aircraft capable of monitoring this frequency must do so at all times. This is used for inland or maritime rescue.

COSPAS SARSAT: The big one: The International Corspas-SARSAT program is a global, satellite-aided search and rescue network. It is supported and monitored by over 45 countries and various international agencies. The network relies on satellites, ground stations, mission control centers, and rescue coordination centers to cover just about every corner of the Earth. The SARSAT distress process is as follows:

  1. An activated PLB transmits on a 406MHz frequency.
  2. COSPAS SARSATs in orbit receive the SOS message.
  3. Satellites transmit the signal to the nearest ground stations (Local User Terminals).
  4. The Local User Terminal towards the SOS to a Mission Control Center (MCC).
  5. The MCC coordinates with a local Rescue Coordination Center (RCC).
  6. The RCC works alongside local search authorities, providing the SOS location.

(Only Use a PLB in Real Emergencies)

Given this complex and naturally time- and cost-consuming rescue process, it’s important to never transmit an SOS signal using a PLB unless you are truly in life-threatening danger, or are in need of emergency rescue.

Many states, U.S federal law, and laws in other countries have expressly banned the frivolous use of a PLB. Because authorities must always respond to an activated PLB’s SOS, the consequences for using one incorrectly can include hefty fines and even jail time.

Why Buy a PLB (Personal Locator Beacons)?

The RescueME PLB1 provides 24 hours of active transponder time.

A PLB is a better emergency rescue tool than a satellite messenger, or a satellite-capable smartphone. Certain life-saving advantages that are unique to a PLB include:

  • A years’-long standby battery life (most require servicing for replacement).
  • A near guarantee of satellite connectivity anywhere on Earth.
  • No monthly subscription fees or payments are required.
  • PLBs provide stronger satellite signals than messengers and phones (open terrain is still best).

How Accurate are Personal Locator Beacons?

That depends on connectivity. If your PLB manages to acquire a GPS connection, accuracy can be as close as 10 to 100 meters. If only satellite connectivity is available, accuracy can be as poor as 2 to 5 kilometers. That’s 1.25 to 3.1 miles, for my fellow Americans. Considering the potential for a high margin of error, many PLBs have built-in IR or visible light strobes. At night, these strobes can be easily identified by aircraft and instrumentation from potentially miles away. Of course, we recommend having a proper bug-out bag loadout, or signalling devices handy in your camp kit. You should never rely on just one device.

PLBs vs. Satellite Messengers

Satellite Messengers function like Personal Locator Beacons — they just come with plenty of additional features and added costs. Although PLBs are generally considered to have more reliable satellite connectivity globally, satellite messengers can provide non-emergency and text-based communications.

There are other benefits of buying a satellite messenger instead of a PLB:

  • Units are rechargeable, like a cellphone or smart device.
  • Sat Messengers can provide GPS waypoints and navigation.
  • They can share your location with others, and embed coordinates in messages.
  • Some units provide weather forecasts, digital compasses, and basic maps.

There are drawbacks to going with a Sat Messengers instead of a PLB, too:

  • Global coverage varies based on the device and provider.
  • Coverage requires a paid monthly subscription, including for SOS.
  • Sat Messengers tend to have weaker signals, especially outside the US.
  • Because of added features, they can suffer from a shorter battery life.
  • In addition to subscription fees, the devices tend to cost more than PLBs.

PLBs and Satellite Messengers: Our Top Picks

RescueME PLB1

Best satellite coverage globally.

The RescueME PLB1 was originally designed for maritime rescue, but it works just as well as an overland SOS unit. The PLB1 is incredibly small and durable: It’s completely waterproof and rated for seawater submersion. It also provides a solid 24-hour operating time, in addition to 7 years’ worth of battery life when on standby.

The PLB1 includes a bright, eye-visible strobe light for aircraft rescue, and its 66-channel GPS receiver and MEOSAR satellite compatibility guarantee a reliable emergency SOS will transmit anywhere on Earth. MEOSAR is a secondary search-and-rescue satellite network that interfaces with the existing COSPAS SARSAT network.

ACR ResQLink 400

Alternative to the RescueME PLB1.

Like the PLB1, the ResQLink is designed as a maritime PLB that also works on land. Its fully waterproof, bouyant, and includes visible and IR strobe lights. It, too, is compatible with MEOSAR and COSPAS SARSAT. It also includes Galileo GNSS Sat Nav, a highly accurate triangulation said to be more accurate than conventional GPS. This ensures precise rescue locating, even without a good GPS signal. The ResQLink 400 provides 24+ hours of active transmission, with a 5-year standby battery life. Like traditional PLBs, SOS is free and no subscription is required.

Garmin inReach MINI 2

Overall best Satellite Messenger.

The rechargeable inReach MINI 2 provides the same satellite SOS reliability as any PLB, in addition to non-emergency text, GPS waypoints and navigation, and an IPX7 submersible waterproof rating. The Garmin provides Garmin Explore topographic maps for hikers and campers, plus a digital compass and touchscreen two-way messaging for non-emergency communication.

Battery life is impressive with 14 days’ worth of use under clear skies, or 4 days’ worth of use under moderate cover. Standby mode provides 30 days of battery life with USB-C recharging for its li-ion battery. Some say the battery life is optimistic, with actual power lasting as little as 24 to 48 hours with continuous use. This is something to keep in mind if you plan on bringing the MINI 2 with you as a rescue device.

Others say the GPS way points and navigation can be difficult and finicky. Monthly subscriptions start at $14.95 for basic safety communication, while the top-tier “Pro: Unlimited” plan costs $64.95 per month. The basic plan provides unlimited SOS, so you needn’t spend more if that’s your main draw.

Retail: $400.00

ACR Electronics Bivy Stick

A screenless, affordable Sat Messenger that uses a smartphone app.

ACR, maker of the ResQLink 400, offers an alternative to their traditional PLB with a screen-less Sat Messenger that interfaces with your iPhone or Android phone via an app. It relies on the well-established Iridium satellite network for SOS and non-emergency comms, with an advertised 120 hours of active battery life (depending on signal and location).

GPS accuracy is advertised to be within 10 meters, and the unit conforms to MIL-STD-810 for shockproofing. It’s also waterproof with an IPX7 rating, and features a rechargeable li-ion battery with a 1400-mAh capacity. ACR’s subscription service starts at $65.99 a month – much more expensive than Garmin’s service – but you get unlimited text messaging and there are no extra costs for GPS service.

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We’ve covered day-hike water filters like the Sawyer MINI and LifeStraw Go, but if you’re a survivalist, prepper, or person who believes in reasonable preparedness, then you know you need a long-term clean water solution. The idea of having to source water from anywhere, but your public utilities isn’t that far-fetched. In fact, at the time of this publication, Arizona residents have lost 21% of their water allotment from the Colorado River, with some locales requiring water to be trucked in.

And water reclamation – the process of treatment wastewater to recycle it – is difficult. Large chemical treatment facilities coagulate, flocculate, reduce sediments, filter, and disinfect every drop before it returns to your taps. If some of those words sound foreign, bother not. The gist is, providing clean water is becoming more costly and difficult. Everywhere.

Viable Untreated Water Sources

So, how do you source clean water in a “SHTF” scenario (which many folks are currently living through)? First, you need a reliable source of untreated water.

1. Natural Bodies of Water

Ok, so the local stream is a good source – as long as it’s consistently full. Other natural water sources, like rivers, springs, lakes, and seasonal reservoirs are perfect. Standing bodies of water – like stagnant ponds – aren’t ideal, but their lesser quality is inconsequential once the source is properly filtered and purified.

The USGS provides a national database of hydrologic unit maps. These maps highlight local bodies of naturally-occurring water. The only drawback to this method of collection is distance and quantity: Unless you’re lucky enough to have a nearby body of water, you’ll need to lug along containers — and water gets heavy, fast.

2. Rainwater Collection

Nothing beats good ole’ precipitation. Many states even encourage rainwater collection — save for two (Utah and Colorado), wherein the practice is regulated. But we’re talking about “SHTF” scenarios, so regulations be damned. This is typically the most reliable method for mass collection. Few places in the U.S. see too little rainwater to collect. Even in places like Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico, seasonal rains are sufficient for most homes.

It’s best to stick with BPA-free plastics, like LDPE or HDPE. Fifty-five gallon drums are available at most hardware retailers.

3. Well Water

Having a well installed on your property is a great investment in preparedness. Locating groundwater can be surprisingly easy, depending on your locale. Lush flora and collections of sandstone, limestone, or granite provide good indicators of an underground aquifer. A hired hydrologist can make short work of locating where you should place your well. Groundwater surveyors may drill test holes, or employ seismic readings to locate suitable, replenishing aquifers.

4. Untreated Public Water

In a true “SHTF” situation, tapping into public works may be your only option for securing untreated water. Drainage systems, man-made reservoirs, and underground utility infrastructure can provide ample raw water. Keep in mind that collecting water like this is illegal, and should only be considered during an emergency.

Treating Potable Is a Two-Step Process to Make Clean Water

With a reliable source of untreated water, you’re half way there. Now, you need to ensure it’s safe to drink. Even rainwater can be littered with contaminants and chemicals that are unsafe to consume. To make your water safe for consumption (“potable”), you need to both filter and purify it. Filtration removes bacteria and microscopic foreign debris, but it doesn’t remove chemicals or viruses. For that, purification is necessary.

Types of Filters

Mechanical filtration is the first step in treating potable water. It physically captures and removes particulates, include most bacteria and microscopic organisms. Most mechanical filters rely on porous synthetic tubes and fabrics.

These filters are perforated with holes that are just microns (or sub-micron) wide. The Sawyer Mini and LifeStraw both work on this principle.


Absorption filters use a porous media that attracts and traps contaminents, leeching them out of the water. The principle is similar to how mechanical filters work.

Most absorption filtration systems use activated charcoal or carbon (like these PurePlus CTO filters).


Sequestration filters use chemicals to form bonds with ions present in untreated water. These bonded ions then precipitate out of solution, leaving behind purified water. Sequester compounds are primarily used to remove toxins, minerals like calcium and magnesium, and metals like iron and manganese. Adding sequester filters to your “SHTF” water system can also help prevent corrosion and build-up of scale.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis filters provide the most effective form of water filtration. Using a combination of membranes and micron tubing, these self-contained canister filters remove all chlorine, and most lead, iron. They also remove all bacteria, protozoa, and microscopic organisms.

These self-contained systems (like this APEC Water Systems Osmosis filter) can be easily adapted to fit an existing water drum or collection barrel. It can also be plumbed into existing lines in the home easily, using standard residential hot and cold feed lines via 3/8″ or 1/2″ connections.

Types of Purification


Boiling water will kill all microorganisms and viruses that can cause disease. To properly purify water through boiling, it needs to be left to boil for at least one full minute. That figure climbs to three minutes if at high altitude (5,000+ feet above sea level). Boiling is easy to do, requiring relatively little time and fuel, and it’s capable of treating relatively large quantities of water — at least a day’s worth of drinking water at a time. Unfortunately, boiling doesn’t remove other inorganic contaminants, like metals and pesticides.


Distillation is even more effective than boiling, since it also removes mineral residue and other inorganic compounds, like lead, nitrate, calcium, and magnesium. Distilling water requires heat, piping or tubing, two containers, and a temperature differential. Untreated water must be heated until it vaporizes. The water vapor must then be funneled into a cold container via tubing, where it will re-condense into a purified liquid.

Although distillation is more effective than boiling, it uses much more fuel and requires more time spent managing the purification process. Only small quantifies can be distilled effectively at home, making the process some what inefficient.

Chemical Treatment

Heat and fuel may not always be available, especially in a “SHTF” situation. Or, you may only have enough fuel for the sake of heating or light. If that’s the case, chemical treatment is a safe alternative that, when done properly, won’t cause long-term health effects. Chlorine, bleach, and iodine are the most common purifying chemical used to treat potable water. Those latter two chemicals should only be used if chlorine isn’t available. Chlorine is the only chemical the CDC says is safe to ingest long-term, when used at appropriate concentrations.

Just half a milligram of chlorine is needed to make a liter of water safe to consumption. One container of Ef-Chlor is capable of treating up to 60,000 liters of water. That’s just under 16,000 gallons. Importantly, the purification process takes at least 30 minutes, so let your potable water sit once treated before using it.

Choosing the Right Filters and Purifiers

We’ve reviewed some reliable storage, filtration, and purification methods. Check them out below:

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Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

There’s a lot of talk about major disaster scenarios in the prepping community—what we refer to as TEOTWAWKI events. Part of that is that they are much more interesting to talk about than a hurricane or flood.

On the other hand, preparing for an EMP or another SHTF scenario means we are likely to also be prepared for any lesser disaster that might happen. So, it really makes sense to use one of these major disaster scenarios as our framework for prepping. 

Article continues below.

The one glaring difference between these major events and other disasters is their duration. If we look at a hurricane, even a bad hurricane, things will be back to normal for most people within a few weeks. Even Puerto Rico was mostly back in operation two months after Hurricane Maria wiped out their entire electric grid. People in remote areas had to wait longer for power, but most people were doing well.

When we look at something like an EMP or other disaster that might take out our entire electric grid, we generally assume that the grid won’t be restored in any reasonable amount of time.

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According to the report of the EMP Commission, as much as 90 percent of the population would die in the first year, mostly due to starvation. That makes these sorts of events a whole different animal than the average disaster. 

Yes, people will die of starvation, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Most people haven’t thought about the problems that we’ll have to deal with or how to deal with them. We can be sure that it will become an ever-changing situation, with dangers around every corner.

Some of those dangers include:

Those with Chronic Medical Problems

The first people to die will be those with chronic medical conditions. Some 66 percent of American adults take prescription drugs for some sort of chronic condition. This can range from diabetes and heart disease, through arthritis, cancer and psychological or emotional problems.

Regardless of the reason, many of these people are incapable of surviving without their daily meds. Those who survive will either do so because they are borderline cases, the disaster actually makes them healthier, or they find a natural alternative to their medications. 

Medicines will Run Out Quickly 

Speaking of medicines, those will run out very quickly. Pharmacies are used to receiving shipments every day, so with computerized inventory management systems, they don’t need to stock more than a couple of days’ worth of medicines. When those run out, there won’t be any resupply. 

This directly affects the people mentioned above who depend on those medications for chronic conditions. But it will also affect anyone who becomes ill or gets injured in the aftermath of the disaster. Without the medicines needed to overcome infection, people will die of seemingly inconsequential injuries. 

Many of the Elderly Will Die

Another sub-group who is highly dependent on those medications is the elderly. Most people over 50 are taking a variety of different medications for a variety of different medical conditions.

Those who are borderline cases might be able to overcome their chemical dependence by switching to a healthier diet and doing more physical work, but that won’t work for everyone. 

The other big struggle that the elderly have is that they don’t have the strength and stamina to do much of the physical work necessary for survival. In olden times, these people would have likely lived with their children, contributing to the family in whatever way they could, while allowing their adult children to do the physical work necessary for the family farm or business. 

Today, these people live in nursing homes or assisted living centers; not exactly good environments for being self-sufficient. When the staff of those facilities is unable to meet the residents’ needs, many will die. 

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Human Waste is Toxic 

Our modern sewage system is a major boon to maintaining public health. One of the greatest medical discoveries in history involved the spread of disease, specifically how bacteria and viruses in humans waste ends up contaminating our food and water, spreading disease.

Proper disposal of human waste is essential to stopping the spread of disease. But when the power and water go out, so will the sewage systems, backing up and leaving us without a proper means for disposing of human waste. 

Some people talk about using bucket toilets, putting the waste in plastic bags for storage. That’s only a workable solution if the disaster is going to be over in a month or two and the stored waste can be taken to a sewage treatment plant. For long-term situations, the only workable solutions are either to build an outhouse or to do humanure composting. 

The Second Die Off – Plague 

Lack of proper sanitation consist of two things: the lack of proper human waste disposal and the inability to keep ourselves clean. The two together will lead to plague of some sort. Diseases will spread easily and will be harder to treat.

Without the availability of proper medicines and with our medical community overworked, people will start dying off from these diseases; people who would have survived in normal times. 

Many Babies will Die During Birth 

Women have been having babies for all of human history. But things are different now. In the past, many more babies died before taking their first breath or within a few days of being born.

There weren’t the medical procedures and supplies available that we have today. But with a major disaster that causes a shortage of medical supplies, we can expect the infant mortality rate to rise again. 

This isn’t the only risk I see here; women will face greater risks in childbirth. While there have always been women who died during childbirth, there have been many fewer in modern times.

But with the difficulty of getting women to proper medical care, women who need emergency C-sections won’t be able to receive them. Some percentage of those women will die for lack of proper medical care. 

Wood for Fires Won’t Last Long

We all talk about heating our homes with wood when the SHTF, but just how many of us have an adequate woodpile to make it through the winter? What about the next winter? How will you restock your woodpile when it runs out and you don’t have gas for your pickup truck?

You might be thinking that you’ll cut the trees in the park, but you won’t be the only one thinking that. All those unprepared people will be trying to beat you there, because they won’t have any firewood. 

Back in the days when this country was being settled, people would file a claim on land which provided them with water, land for grazing and/or planting and wood for their fire. They didn’t have to go far to cut wood, because they owned their own patch of forest.

Few of us have more than a tree or two today, and those probably aren’t big enough to give much firewood. 

Toilet Paper Will Run Out 

If you think the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 was bad, just wait. The one that follows an SHTF situation will be much worse. There won’t be any standing in line before the grocery store opens, hoping to get a pack.

When you run out of what you have, you’ll have to come up with other options. That means using cloth and washing it, using your hands and washing them (yes, there are places in the world where they do that) or using leaves. 

Many People are too Weak to Survive

There are a lot of people who just don’t have what it takes to survive. I’m not talking about physical strength here, but emotional strength. Our dependence on the infrastructure and supply chain that we have created makes many of us poor candidates for survival. Yes, you and I, as preppers, have done something about this; but what about everyone else? 

There will be a lot of people out there, and maybe even within our own families, who can’t stand the emotional and mental strain of having their whole world collapse around them. They won’t survive because they won’t see any value in surviving. They’ll just plain give up.

Teens do it now, how much worse will it be for them when they realize that the things they’ve dreamed of are no longer available? Remember, easy times make for weak men. That’s what we’re living in now, and it will come home to roost. 

Being Out of Shape Makes it Harder to Survive

Many preppers are not in good physical shape. I have to include myself in that. I’m overweight, but working hard to bring it down. Even so, if a disaster were to happen today, I’d have a hard time doing the physical work necessary for survival. It would literally be a race between my getting in shape and my running out of food. 

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t survive; just that I realize the risk I face. It’s the same risk that many others face, even here in the prepping community. Survival requires a lot of physical work and if we’re not in shape to do it, we’re going to be facing extra challenges. 

Gasoline Doesn’t Store Well

We depend on gasoline for a lot more than running our vehicles, although that is our main use for it. Many will try hoarding gas when the SHTF, either what they have in their gas tank or what they can buy before it is gone. That may or may not do them much good, as gasoline only stores about six months in plastic gas cans. 

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You can get more life out of gasoline by storing it in metal gas cans, assuming that the rubber seal at the opening is good. I have two metal cans, one of which is still full of good gasoline after more than a year, while half the gasoline evaporated out of the other, because the seal leaked.

The other thing you can do is add a gas life extender to your stored gas. This will extend the life out to about a year. 

Not Enough Water Filters

The most popular water filter system in the prepping world uses a cartridge-type filter. These cartridges are a bit on the expensive side, although I will have to say that they are cheaper per gallon than using the cheaper filters. They also do a better job, providing water that is more highly purified. 

But just how many filters do you have in your stockpile and how long will they last you? That varies from filter system to filter system and is also affected by the quality of the water that you’re using. The cleaner the water when it goes into the filter, the more water you can purify. If the filter can be backflushed, that can help too. 

If you don’t have enough water filters to get you through the disaster (or forever), you’re eventually going to have to revert to other means of purifying water, like boiling it. That works, but it will increase your fuel consumption to do it. 

Gardens that Aren’t Big Enough

Somehow, many preppers have gotten the idea that they can feed their family off of a small garden plot, say something like 12’x 12’. Someone even wrote a book claiming that you can do it from a four-foot-square garden.

But if you’re going to feed your family from your garden, you’d better count on about a ton of food per adult and a half-ton per child. That’s a lot of food. 

There are people today who grow all the food they eat in their backyards. To do this, they’ve converted their entire backyard into a garden, using every square foot as effectively as they can. That’s what we’re going to have to do, if we expect to live off the food that we grow. 

Game will Run Out

Anyone planning on augmenting their food stockpile by hunting wild game had better be living in Montana or someplace like that. There was a time when it was possible to live off the land, but that was when there were many less people and a much larger game population in the country.

Today there are something like 90 million hunters, all of whom will be out there, trying to bag something for dinner. Some will bag a pig or cow, earning a farmer’s ire and possibly some return lead. The only places where game will still abound will be more remote ones. But without gas, it will be hard to get to them. 

Some People will Turn to Cannibalism 

Starvation will cause people to do a lot of crazy things, including eating pets or strays they find on the streets. When those run out, don’t be surprised if some turn to cannibalism, like the Donner Party did during the winter of 1846-47. Snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountains, some members of the party turned to eating those who died from exposure. 

One of the interesting things about cannibalism (in a rather sick way) is that there is a ritualistic side to it. Many such cases have a quasi-religious side to the act, where people are sacrificing others “for the common good.” William Forstchen talks about this in his book “One Second After.” If you haven’t read that, I’d recommend it. 

Gotta Get Rid of that Trash 

Finally, trash is going to be piling up everywhere. That not only creates a fire hazard, but can provide a habitat for pests, like mice and rats. Getting rid of the containers that food is packed in carries the additional problem of letting people know that you have food. 

The easiest way to take care of the trash is to burn it; but care must be taken with that, because many materials, including some plastics, can give off noxious or even poisonous fumes when burned. Burning trash outdoors can help, but that also risks letting others know that you have food. 

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(Natural News)
Prepping can be expensive, but if you are working with a tight budget, there are other ways to prepare for free before SHTF.

For example, you can learn new prepping and survival skills without spending money by borrowing books from the library or taking free training courses. (h/t to

Review your emergency plans with your family

First, set aside some time with your family and review your emergency plans at least once a month. If possible, run fire drills or bug-out drills to work out any kinks in your plans.

While running drills, check for any issues, like miscommunication, and clarify where the group should meet up and at what time.

If someone needs new medication for a recent health issue, update your bug-out bags and rotate your supplies regularly. If you have a guest at home, make sure you have an extra bag prepared for them.

Organize your food storage

When things are quiet, set aside some time to organize your food storage.

When arranging things, place the items closest to their expiry dates at the front. This ensures that you eat them first and they don’t get bad in your stockpile. If you use up items, replace them so you have enough when SHTF.

You should also start taking a full inventory of your preps. To keep track, you can have both a digital copy and a hard copy.

Organizing your food storage and doing a regular inventory will help you keep a more balanced stockpile. Try to update your inventory at least every one to two weeks.

Learn new prepping and survival skills

Adaptability is crucial for any survival situation, but there is always room for improvement in this aspect of prepping.

Before SHTF, practice skills like scenario run-throughs with your family and monitor current events. You can also increase your adaptability and get better prepared for free by having healthy lifestyle habits to improve your overall well-being.

For example, you can improve your eating habits and exercise at home. You have to be in good physical shape because when SHTF, you might have to bug out and carry a heavy bag full of supplies.

If you aren’t in good shape now, start exercising. You can also consider doing some physically demanding tasks such as gardening or hauling firewood.

If you have free time, try to exercise for at least thirty minutes five days every week.

Here are some basic exercises that you can do at home:

If you don’t feel like exercising, remember that not being in good shape when facing a survival scenario will be a big problem. By working out regularly, you can help improve your odds of survival.

Work on DIY prepping projects

Projects and DIYs can be entertaining and useful. Make the most of your time by starting DIY projects like making homemade pillows or refinishing old furniture.

If you have other skills and hobbies like sewing or woodworking, use them to your advantage. Working on projects will help improve these skills as well.

Try checking online listings for free items. Most of the time, free things are the ones that need the most work.

If you see a project that catches your interest, pick the item up so you have something to practice your DIY skills on. If you are successful, you can keep the item for yourself or even sell it for some extra money.

Learn your way around your home in the dark

If you don’t have a flashlight with you at all times, start carrying one in your pocket now. This ensures that when you lose power at home in the middle of the night, you can safely navigate in the dark as you try to get to your supplies.

Since you don’t always know when the power will go out, try to learn how to make your way around your house in the dark without injuring yourself. When SHTF, you can save time stumbling around and get to your family members more quickly.

Read more

If you want to improve your prepping skills and add to your knowledge without spending a single dollar, read more.

To do this for free, borrow books from the local library and read anything from fiction to non-fiction. Some libraries also offer other resources like eBooks and audiobooks so you can listen to a book while working on other tasks.

Sign up for free FEMA training

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers some free in-person and virtual classes. To join these sessions, register and sign up for training and lessons that you can use when disaster strikes, like cyber security courses.

You can prepare before SHTF without spending money by being resourceful and creative. Even if you don’t have extra money for your preps, you can still improve your skills by taking part in free training courses and applying newly learned skills at home.

Visit for more tips on how to get ready before disaster strikes.

Watch the video below for more tips on how to prep on a budget.

This video is from .

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This content was originally published here.

Most people in the world are reactive in emergency situations – especially when it comes to SHTF disaster scenarios (Shit Hit The Fan) that result in TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It). Having the right survival gear and training isn’t the whole picture though; you have to have a plan and know how to use it.

I don’t normally write about full-on SHTF scenarios like this one but if you plan for the worst, it’s easier to plan for the most-likely.

Obviously, if you’re directly involved in a current disaster, such as finding yourself floating down main street during a flood or your building crumbling down around you, this article isn’t for you. Your first priorities are to get safe, fix your broken self, fix others, and get out of Dodge. This article is about what to do in the middle of a regional event that has happened but hasn’t yet directly affected you – but it soon will.

In this situation, something big happened to your region of the country and you have no choice but to leave town. Just make sure you don’t plan JUST for worst-case. Minor scenarios are MUCH more likely, but you can gain from thinking about the worst case. Let’s just go ahead and pretend that an EMP just hit, something like in this book (which is a really good book to get you thinking).

The world waits until something happens, then decides what they need to do. Preppers are typically different, but even they fall into a similar problem. They buy lots of stuff, and do lots of learning and training. Some even make plans. What they fail to miss is that sometimes the necessary assets to adequately deal with a situation aren’t readily available on a whim. You have to have them in advance.

The Special Forces and other organizations I’ve had the pleasure of working with are very good at executing effectively because the plan, then they drill it over and over and understand the military planning process. They wargame what could happen, develop possible COAs (Courses Of Action), run through mock exercises in as-real a circumstance as possible each time, and then do AARs (After Action Reviews) to redefine mission parameters, gear, and necessary additional training.

Their action may be reactive once it’s go-time but they’re proactive enough that they already know a good deal of what will happen once boots hit the ground. The more you make a plan, practice the plan, and adjust the plan, the more easily you’ll be able to deal with emergency situations.

The other problem is that without an adequate COA analysis, you may not recognize WHEN you need to take action, and you definitely won’t know what other people on your team or in your family will be doing. Essentially, everyone needs to not only know what to do, they need to know under what circumstances they should be doing it.

So, this isn’t an article about how to plan for a SHTF scenario. This is what you should do first, when you’ve recognized that there’s been a serious shift in your way of life due to economic collapse, natural disaster, EMP, or whatever. What you need to do after reading this article is to backwards plan so you can get to this point.

Obviously, this assumes that you have a team with which to rally. If you don’t, you won’t be surviving long though.

1. Collect intelligence on the current situation

Before you start phase 1 of any operation, you’re essentially in phase 0. This means that you should be shaping your environment, to include setting up ways to know what’s going on (which is what’s called Intelligence). During an EMP that blasts across most of the country, the first thing you’ll notice will depend on what time of day it is.

Make sure you get in touch with your neighbors. This could be critical not for just figuring out what’s going on, but for neighborhood security and augmenting skills you don’t have.

At night, the first thing you’ll notice is all the lights just went out. If you’re driving, your car will most likely stall. I say “most likely” because we really don’t know what would happen in real life and the exact circumstances would vary widely depending on the type of EMP, its altitude, atmospheric conditions, and the type and placement of the electronics and any shielding. We just don’t know.

Let’s assume you’re home, and it’s just after dark. All you know at the moment is that you lost power. So how would you know that this is a widespread event and not just that a tree fell on a powerline?

First thing would be to pick up something that would be susceptible to an EMP but not tied into the power grid. Check your cell phone for power. Check any battery-operated device.

Some things probably won’t be affected by an EMP though even if it’s strong so you’ll have to use some logic here. A metal flashlight that contains just a bulb, batteries, and wire would probably survive with no problem. A plastic one that has a little micro-controller circuit in it would be much more likely to fry.

Now, since you set things up previously, you pull out something electronic that you’ve stored in a Faraday cage. If the cage was constructed properly, it should protect your electronics against a decently-hard hit. There’s a lot of real crap out there on the web about how to build these things though so do some thorough research.

So at this point, you should have an idea as to whether the things in your home work or not. Next thing would be to start your car. Not only will this give you another indication, it’s necessary information to know how you’re gonna react.

Next thing you need to know is how widespread the EMP is so you’ll have to communicate with someone not in your immediate area somehow. Unfortunately, communicating long-distance pretty much means you have to use electronics. Hopefully you stored a ham radio in some kind of shielding (and not had it still attached to the radio). Many ham operators do this and most repeater stations have emergency power backup. I personally have a Yaesu 857d, that works very well for things like this.

Also consider that an EMP would develop massive power along any power lines or phone lines, which would most likely cause fires in the affected area.

What, or who, you check into next will depend on your own circumstances, but at this point, you should have an idea what happened. Based on that assessment, you decide that it meets your criteria for leaving town.

2. Gather gear and personnel for movement

If you’re already at your primary rally point, such as if you’re bugging in, best thing to do is immediately fill your tubs, sinks, pots, and other containers with water because that pressure probably won’t hold for long. Then move to gather your stuff in case you have to leave. Your plan must on some level involve bugging out at some point.

This is where you grab your bug out bags. Hopefully you’re not like most preppers and have 70 pounds of gear, or even worse – don’t have your stuff together and end up deciding at the last moment what to put in your bags. My bug out bag is currently is only 25 pounds plus whatever water and food I’m gonna carry (except when I’m traveling on my Harley, in which case all that gear and more is on my bike. If it works, I’ll ride it as-is. If not, two of my bags are weather-proof backpack/duffel bags and I know where each and every item is on my bike so I could assemble my gear in a few minutes).

Before you can move out, you’ll have to find everyone else with whom you’ll be traveling, and they’ll have to have their gear together.

Most likely, you won’t have everyone at home when it hits, so the next thing to do is try to establish comms.

3. Establish comms with your team

Hopefully, you’ve set up an emergency communications plan with your family and team, well in advance, and trained with it. If you haven’t read my article on SHTF communications, you should check it out too.

Essentially, that means you’ll have to have different ways to communicate, and those ways can’t all be electronics-dependent.

In a real situation, you may not be able to establish comms with every member within the time you can safely stay at home. In that case, hopefully you’ve planned and practiced and would each recognize what’s happened and that they need to now move out. Otherwise, you’ll spend a great deal of time just randomly trying to find each other.

If you can use electronics, nothing beats ham radio for SHTF communications. One of the best radios on the market is the Yaesu 857d, which I have. It’s super powerful, has a good menu system, and can Tx/Rx on a ton of frequency bands.

I have a Yaesu VX-6R as my personal handheld because it’s an awesome radio and it’s waterproof but if I were getting one now, I’d go for the Yaesu VX-8R. If you want to save some cash, get the Baofeng UV-5R but expect to spend some time learning it because it’s pretty confusing. It’s also not waterproof and requires a separate battery charger thing to charge the battery, which is inconvenient. Don’t get me wrong, I have one because it’s such a good deal, but I always go for my Yaesu.

If you can’t use electronics to reach someone, you should leave a message somehow. Have a predetermined location that everyone knows to check. Make it something that is out of the ordinary, can’t be accidentally done, is unlikely to be changed or moved, and easy to notice without having to walk right up to it. An example might be to bend the road sign at a particular corner as the sign that you’ve decided to bug out and they should move to the primary rally point and/or make comms with you.

4. Move to the primary rally point

In most cases, your primary rally point will be someone’s home but not in all cases, and for all you know, that home may not be there once you get there. Everyone should have noticed something happened and remembered during training that when ‘X’ happens, they should move to the primary rally point somehow.

You should all have already planned your bug out routes to get to where you need to go, which makes it much easier. Shit happens though, so you can expect that once you get there, someone will be missing. Make sure you wargame that scenario for each missing person or group of people because your next steps will depend greatly on who’s there and who’s not, and may also depend on what you’ve all brought or failed to bring.

Also, consider that you may find out that your primary rally point isn’t useable. The neighborhood may be rioting, the forest could be on fire, a roving band of baboons may have been given human-like intelligence by a mad scientist and started a commune there – all sorts of things. You need to have a secondary and at least a tertiary rally point set up that hopefully wouldn’t be affected by the reasons you can’t use the primary.

You may also find that for whatever reason, you have to move to a new location that wasn’t planned. Try to leave some sort of message to later parties who arrive so that they notice it and understand the message. In certain scenarios, you won’t want anyone else to understand the message though.

One example could be to stack rocks in the shape of a ‘4’ and the arrow defined by the triangle inside the four points toward the point where the two likes overlap (bottom right as the 4 is read). You might also add something underneath one of the stones such as a note or even more discreet, a symbol (anything blue meant you headed toward water in that direction, for example).

A written or laid out ‘4’ can communicate direction

Essentially, you need to get to some rally point and wait for everyone to show up so you can figure out what to do next.

5. Establish security

Once you’ve arrived, in a very rare set of circumstances (such as a regional EMP strike), you’ll need to worry about people who wish to do you harm. Hopefully you’ve already shaped the battlespace of your bug out location to make it easier but if not, you need to do it now.

Quickly set up defenses (such as set up a few people on the perimeter) and then work on improving those defenses later.

If you’re in a neighborhood, start figuring out who’s staying and what their skills and abilities are so you can establish a neighborhood watch. If you’re in a decently-sized town, you can expect certain areas will riot very quickly.

6. Collect intelligence on the situation

Now is when you realize that going it alone would have been a stupid idea. You’ll have to make sure you’re set with food, water, shelter, fire, etc and set up guards who can scan the area so a threat presents itself in time and distance to react effectively, but you have to know your situation first.

First thing to do once you have a hasty defense set up is to do your three inventories (read that article for more details). Essentially, you need to figure out what you have on you in the way of gear and skills (and what you don’t), what your immediate needs are (medical, water, security), what’s in the immediate area that could be of use (or isn’t), and what’s in the extended area that may either present a problem or a solution.

This is also when you should start monitoring frequencies across the spectrum and gain some intel on the situation. As you find a frequency with some traffic – even if you can’t understand them, document the frequency, time of day, your Rx (receiving) location, and the gist of what you heard. This makes it easier to try to reacquire that same Tx (transmit) signal at a different location or know when they may transmit again.

7. Establish comms with your missing team members

Once you’re at the location you’ll be staying at for a while, you may find that not everyone is there yet with you. If you’ve already established a radio plan with everyone (and they have comms that were protected and still work), you’ll probably have a time of day and a frequency to transmit and monitor as well as a couple of backup freqs.

If you’re in some kind of Red Dawn scenario (great movie, btw), you won’t want to be transmitting from your location or in any pattern of locations. You’ll have to balance your need to communicate with your need for OPSEC and evasion.

If everyone knows the general area where you’ll be, such as a town or a particular forest area, you can agree on very obvious locations to leave messages, such as the top of a very large hill or a unique building, etc. As before, prior commo planning will allow you to leave more accurate messages to your team while not giving away the message (or hopefully that there even is a message).

8. Link up with missing team members

Once you’ve establish comms in some way, you need to get everyone together. Either you have to get them where you are or you need to go to them. Your primary mission continues to be assembling the team, even if you have to divert resources to other missions such as collecting food or water.

If you’ll be leaving your basecamp or primary rally point to go get someone, you’ll have to decide who will go and who will stay (if anyone). Obviously if you have even more people still out there, it may not be a good idea to send everyone out after one person unless it’s unlikely you’ll be coming back.

9. Decide your next COA

Now that you have everyone together, you need to decide what to do next. Do you stay where you’re at or do you bug out to a different location?

In a lot of cases, you’ll have temporary rally points that are good for easy meetup and security but won’t be the same as your ultimate destination.

Either way, you’ll have some larger decisions to be made once you have everyone.

Continue to collect intel, improve your position, assess your process, and make plans, and you’ll be much better off than anyone who didn’t do all this planning in the first place.

As you can see, the whole key to all this is prior planning and practice. Remember that a half-assed plan that everyone follows is much better than a good plan that people follow half-assed.

Thoughts? Questions? Please feel free to contribute your own ideas or experiences and help anyone who has questions.

This content was originally published here.

SHTF scenarios could happen at any moment. You could see an economic collapse, war, natural disaster, and civil unrest happen nationwide and in your backyard. Whatever happens, you need to be prepared to hit the highway when the moment strikes.

What do you need for the trip ahead? Here are 11 tips to improve your chances on the road in SHTF scenarios. 

1.    Gather the Family

When push comes to shove, you first need to gather your family. If you have a spouse or children, coordinate with them to ensure they’re on board to hit the road with you. It’s also critical to get in touch with older relatives like your parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents to plan for their safety. These family members may have difficulty getting around, so bring them along in your bug-out transportation if you have extra space.

You don’t have to tackle danger by yourself in SHTF scenarios. If you have survivalist friends, consider collaborating with them and their families to increase your chances of survival. After all, more hands mean less work.

2.    Pack Food and Water

The next step in improving your chances on the road is to pack food and water. SHTF scenarios bring a lot of uncertainty about how long they’ll last. Threats of bad weather could last a few days, but a pandemic or war could last years. An economic collapse may need the better part of a decade to recover. Remember the stories your grandparents told you about the Great Depression?

It’s essential to plan for packing food because people will wipe the grocery store shelves when disaster strikes. Bring nonperishable items like canned food on your road trip. Canned vegetables, tuna, crackers and fruit will last through your SHTF scenario. You’ll also want to pack granola, cereal, powdered milk, seasonings and bottled water. The rule of thumb for water is 1 gallon per person daily to give yourself the best odds.

3.    Remember the Medicine

One essential item survivalists need to remember is medicine. Whether over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription, medication can make life much easier when you’re on the road. It’s important to have a medicinal stockpile, but check the expiration dates because they won’t last forever.

Before hitting the road, pack an eclectic mix of OTC medications. They may include pain relievers, antihistamines, antacids, mild laxatives, diarrhea medicine and cough drops. Sleep comes at a premium during SHTF scenarios, so bring sleep aids or mild sedatives to help you and your family members rest, even in dire times. If you need prescription medication, ensure you have a plentiful supply and have access to refills if required.

4.    Secure Your Ammunition

When SHTF scenarios hit, you need the best self-defense mechanisms to protect yourself and your family. You never know where looters and other thieves lurk, and driving to new areas presents challenges in unfamiliar territory. Prepare ahead of time by securing the proper firearms and ammunition.

You’ll want a supply of firearms you can trust when the going gets tough. If you expect combat up close, grab your favorite pistol and shotgun. Pack your best rifle and modify it with a magazine and other improvements for long-range combat. Leave the chamber empty while on the road to comply with state laws about transporting ammunition.

When disaster strikes, you need to hit the road quickly and for an extended time. These doomsday scenarios could lead you to live out of your car for weeks or months. You’ll want to ensure you have the right vehicle for these scenarios and prepare it for a getaway.

Get a head start by performing routine maintenance on your car so you’ll have less to worry about later. This checklist should include the basics, such as changing your oil, airing your tires and checking your transmission fluid. Trucks are one of the best options for SHTF scenarios because of their towing capacity. You can also modify the bed to hold supplies and additional equipment.

6.    Protect Your Transportation

Your road trip will likely take you to unfamiliar territory. If the disaster is widespread, you won’t be the only one fighting for resources and safety. You and your vehicle may become the target for theft if others see you’ve prepared for SHTF scenarios, creating a liability for you and your family. Another way to strengthen your car for what’s ahead is to fit it with security features.

One of the best deterrents of theft is a wheel clamp. This device is helpful if you’ve decided to park in one spot for a while. Clamping one of your wheels means thieves won’t be able to move your car an inch. Another excellent anti-theft device for vehicles is a brake lock, which requires a key or code to unlock the pedal. Disabling the brake pedal will discourage thieves from a quick getaway.

7.    Buy Extra Gas

People anticipating impending doom raid two places for supplies. One is grocery stores and the other is gas stations. Have you ever seen gas pump lines before a hurricane? The wait can be long, and the prices will soar because of demand. A practical way to improve your chances on the road is to stock up on fuel beforehand so you’re not SOL when the time comes.

Storing fuel can be tricky, but it’ll be worth it if you can do it right. Ordinary gasoline has a shelf life of about three to six months. Diesel users benefit because their fuel will last up to a year before degradation. Gas has a shelf life, but you can improve it by using fuel stabilizers. How long it will last depends on oxidation, ethanol levels and evaporation. Store it in an airtight container and avoid high-ethanol blends for best results.

8.    Practice Fuel-efficient Habits

In some scenarios, you may only have a limited time to hit the road and escape disaster. Stocking up gas or stopping for a quick fill-up aren’t always options. You need every ounce of energy possible to last in these urgent situations, so practice fuel-efficient habits to extend the range of your vehicle. Imagine you’re a racecar driver stretching out the fuel mileage to take the checkered flag.

One of the best ways to save fuel is to shift with a manual transmission. Higher RPMs mean your vehicle burns more gas, so move through the lower gears smoothly. Only have your car on if you actively need it. Idle vehicles burn precious fuel that you’ll need later. Also, consider your vehicle’s weight. Supplies are essential, but you should avoid overloading the car. Lightening the load increases fuel efficiency. 

9.    Map Out Your Destination

Another way to save fuel is to know where you’re going. It’s hard to plan exactly when SHTF scenarios will arise, but when you hit the road, you should formulate a plan to get where you’re going. If necessary, use old-school methods and break out a paper map. Use pens and highlighters to plan routes to get to your destination.

It may be helpful to take back roads during your getaway. The odds are likely that you’re not the only one driving. When disaster strikes, thousands of cars will hit the highways and interstates trying to escape. If the roads are too busy, have two or three backup routes for safer travel. Idle time in the car wastes time and money, exposing you to thieves looking to intimidate drivers.

10.  Get a Weather Radio

Natural disasters are becoming more violent, so their threat has become as bad as other SHTF scenarios. Sometimes, a hurricane or snowstorm is treacherous enough to knock out cell towers and the internet for hundreds of miles. Knowing where the weather is going and how much time you have to escape is essential in these situations. A terrific solution is to get a weather radio.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has operated NOAA Weather Radio nationwide since 1967. You can find numerous weather radios, so find one that fits inside your bag or vehicle. Most require batteries. However, today’s technology allows you to obtain a solar-powered radio. This technology can be handy when stores are closed and you can’t find other power sources.

11.  Bring Emergency Kits

Minor problems can quickly turn major in SHTF scenarios if you’re not careful. You’ll want as much focus as possible on survival and protection without worrying about the small things. For example, imagine you’re preparing food and accidentally cut your hand. Even a tiny cut can be problematic if you don’t attend to it. For your safety, pack a first-aid kit.

A comprehensive first-aid kit will provide the materials you need for any accident. You’ll need antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointments, bandages and sterile gauze pads. It’s also wise to bring an oral thermometer, tweezers, non-latex gloves, emergency blankets and cloth tape. These items can save lives before medical help arrives. In SHTF situations, an ambulance or a hospital may be too far away.

Surviving on the Road

Traveling in SHTF scenarios is a challenging task. Torrential weather could knock down trees, buildings and power lines. Economic collapse leads to looters and other thieves running rampant. The laws of the land no longer apply, so follow these 11 tips to improve your chances on the road.

This content was originally published here.