The Golden Hour: What to Do in the First 60 Minutes of SHTF

In this Golden Hour things you do and do not do will have a profound effect on your chances of a decent survival outcome.
In this Golden Hour things you do and do not do will have a profound effect on your chances of a decent survival outcome.

Last Updated on October 19, 2020

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry from Huples. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share, enter the Prepper Writing Contest today.

Many people are convinced that civilization as we know it will collapse or, at best, experience a prolonged interruption. Very few of those people are actually planning for it and even less are preparing for it in advance. For those of us actually preparing we have forums, books, videos, and meetings to help us get ready for SHTF.

A few are even likely hoping for it for various reasons. What if this collapse occurs in a matter of minutes as well it might in various SHTF scenarios; nuclear war, terrorism, EMP, pandemic, conventional war, civil unrest becoming civil war? I am sure you can add a few to this list. Using the Golden Hour concept from trauma medicine I am proposing a few unusual ways of handling the first hour of SHTF.

In this Golden Hour things you do and do not do will have a profound effect on your chances of a decent survival outcome. The Golden Hour is getting a major trauma victim to a trauma center within an hour. Survival rates plummet by minute 61. What will you do in the first 60 minutes of a sudden SHTF? I expect disagreement and hope the comments will give me some good ideas.

SHTF Happens and you are at Home

Reacting rather than data gathering is the key to all of these situations. As humans used to experiencing normal conditions the sudden ending of the normal is a shock and many react to it by standing still and trying to find out what is going on. The lights go out, you check your phone, you look out the window, and you try to find your battery radio and the flashlights. You are in bed and the loud bang shakes the house violently and the power goes out. You use your phone, you turn on the TV, and you go outside to find out what is going on. You might even go through these actions several times!

WaterBob Emergency water storage holds up to 100 gallons
WaterBob Emergency water storage holds up to 100 gallons

I am not saying these responses are always wrong. Geography, etc. has an input into your plan which is a pre-written plan. If you are hundreds of miles from cities then your response might be different especially if you have large volumes of water stored. What I am saying is get moving early and start using the Water Bob, the clean rain barrels from storage within minutes of any alert that normal no longer might exist. Finding out what has happened is a secondary concern to preparing to survive. Who cares if Russia has attacked the USA or if it was a terrorist bomb? Listen to your gut not to CNN.

Even worse is leaving the home to collect wife (or husband) and kids. During the opening hour you have to prepare the home for a possible prolonged end of normal life. The wife (or husband) and kids have a plan and they will use it. It might be to hunker down and wait for you knowing it might be a day or two or come home immediately but they know it and you know it. Fight the very human desire to gather the loved ones immediately at the time of crisis unless is your plan and they know it. If you (or they) are at home then the preparing of the home is the best thing you can do for them in the opening hour. You have no idea how long the water or electricity will last.

Obviously if your children are young you need a plan to collect them but do you need to go immediately? If yes, then go. But the decision is a logical one not an emotional one. Emotional reactions to sudden shocks often lead to faulty decision-making. It might be best to protect your food and water supplies while the electricity and water remain on before heading out to collect your child from school. An hour or two’s delay in setting out means they get to eat and drink for sure.

If it is a temporary thing you have at worst wasted the water bob and will have to buy a new one (people say you can reuse it but I am not sure water safety is worth the risk). Other things you may consider doing during the first hour is nailing tarps over your raised garden beds and moving supplies into the house or bug out vehicle. What you do not want to be doing is chatting to neighbors or wasting time trying to get information. Something bad seems to have happened so deal with it. How much you know about it is a human desire but preparing is the essential thing in the first hour.

SHTF Happens and you are on the Road

This is the hardest of all situations to experience sudden SHTF yet it is the most common one in society. Motor Vehicle Collisions (they are not ‘accidents’) kill and maim many people each and every day. Plan for this in advance and have a seat belt cutter stored.

However in a sudden SHTF of major local, national, or international scope what is your plan if you are in the vehicle? If the vehicle works get fuel as soon as possible and buy food and water in the first gas station you see using cash but only if it is safe and uncrowded. Then get home or to the preplanned bug out location using the vehicle. Do not delay at all. In sudden SHTF people literally drive miles in one direction, usually to collect family, and then end up being directed the opposite way by Police. When they finally get home it is burned down or looted. As ever everyone in your family know to stay in place or come home in an SHTF and when to do so. You are not their savior. Your role is to trust them and the written and discussed plan. Get home or to the bug out location and get busy.

Roads in major cities will quickly become impassable.
Roads in major cities will quickly become impassable.

Some SHTF scenarios will see the vehicle fail or be blocked in its progress. Abandon the vehicle immediately gathering all useful supplies and get moving away from people and towards home or the bug out location. Drive alternative routes if possible but a vehicle is not going to last long in a major SHTF so try not to be attached to it! Again chatting to people, trying their phones, and wondering what is going on is pointless. It is bad and that is all you need to know. Use the sides of highways to move away from the groups of scared, annoyed, and confused people on the road. No need to walk up the exit ramps as you have the physical ability to use less usual routes. You always have a paper map however basic and a get home bag in the car.

Transit by boat, plane, or train in a sudden SHTF is problematic. In your Golden Hour gather supplies, learn exits, and start thinking how best to get out and home. Water in train, boat, and plane washrooms is not drinkable but empty a recycling bin and fill up those bottles with it. You should have a few water purification tablets on you at all times. Do not bother washing out those bottles. People are not really that infectious (this advice is NOT to be followed in a pandemic) and you can easily get 10 liters or more of okay water stored up in the first few minutes of the SHTF while everyone else is shouting into dead phones. By Day Two you will be very happy you did this in those first few minutes.

As a rule I never travel by boat other than short ferry rides and I cannot see a good outcome in SHTF on a cruise ship but if you cruise at least carry your own flotation vests and survival kit.

Experiencing a sudden and dreadful SHTF on a plane might be interesting. If it falls out of the sky then all the prepping you have done will hopefully be used by your loved ones. However diversion and being kept in an airport is more likely in a sudden SHTF. Carry cash in large amounts and try to carry some cash that can be used in the countries you are flying over or near. If the power is on and you can use credit cards to immediately start an alternative route home. In 9-11 people were stuck in Canada for up to four days when they could have got home via train and bus if they had started immediately. A few hours later and there were no seats available! If a small nuclear war is the cause of air travel suspension imagine how long you might be stuck somewhere and how likely is it you will be well treated?

If a SHTF is likely I’d advise you to call sick and stay at home even if you have a cruise booked but SHTF can happen with almost no warning and what you do immediately can make or break your survival chances.

SHTF Happens and you are at Work, School, or the Mall

Ideally using your preplanned route(s) and get home bag you will immediately start home. If the car park is a mess or the car will not work immediately abandon it after getting the supplies. In a sudden and serious SHTF roads and car parks likely will be both slower than walking and less safe.


If it is a chemical or nuclear SHTF you might need to shelter in place. Know where the washrooms are especially those deep in the building and infrequently used. If mushroom clouds bloom on the horizon people will mainly rush to their cars and attempt to flee home not that home is a magically safe place. Go to the nearest couple of recycling bins, open them, and carry the trash bags loaded with cans and bottles to the washroom (preferably one on a lower level). Dump them out and start filling them with tap water. Don’t bother cleaning them out. Try to get 50 litres or more. Do this immediately and you can store up 4 weeks’ worth in minutes. Store it in a cubical, lock it, and climb out. At this point try to buy food as you head for the car but do not if it will take time. At the car grab everything useful and back to the washroom. Bunker in and trust your loved ones are similarly safe.

It is unlikely people will use the washrooms in Malls and schools in these scenarios especially those out-of-the-way ones. If they do all your stuff is in a locked cubical. Food and warmth are not the priority in the Golden Hour but water and security are. Consider breaking all the lights in your washroom after securing the water and jamming the door. Consider breaking all the lights in the corridor outside and pulling stuff into it. Initially people will not take hard routes.

Looting supplies is reasonable once people have gone and Security has left. Before then the chances of getting into trouble makes it not worth the risk. Most fast food places have the food (such as it is) in the back. Mall, workplace, and School offices have lockers and many will have something to eat inside if you take your time looking through them. At work know who keeps food at their desks (you do I hope!). Most people will grab their keys and bags and flee towards home leaving behind a lot of food and useful items.

Many people think about using coins to raid vending machines. Maybe this is a good idea but water is from the washroom taps and the recycling bins and lining up slowly buying chocolate bars might make you a target. In a sudden SHTF it is more than likely you can use your small crow bar from your get home bag to access the vending machines the next day. You are going to be sitting in dark for at least a week but I’d try to do this for four weeks. Then you go home. Radiation will hopefully not kill you in four weeks but likely will the first day.

Many places have drapes and carpets that you can cut up to make sleeping ‘bags’ and this is the sort of re-purposing you need to do in SHTF. Keep active and do whatever you need to do to optimize your survival chances.

The hardest part is not fleeing but thinking, planning, and acting. Prepping is a state of mind as much as anything and I hope this article gets you thinking a bit. Much of it is arguable so please argue!

    1. Uh uh. ll those devices should (must) have manual locks and mechanisms to allow use should the electronics die. I’d spend more time physically baring the doors, and any ground level windows, as well as assuring your water supplies.

      1. Yes. Gun safes are not my thing but I have safes with manual locks. Electronic locks are getting common so it should be an early thing. Unless you have a manual override key which would be taped to it early on. I would have any guns very accessible early on.

        Not sure about sealing all the doors in the first hour but my plan is bringing wood inside for fire wood and to stack in front of ground and first floor windows as well as sealing one of the two exit doors. I kind of meant “general prepiing of the home” as the next stage in the first hour but there’s so many variable with that I skipped it. A large family group on site and well armed in the country likely won’t bar doors and windows but would cut trees to block road access.

        1. Hey, H,

          You mention “plan”. Like, future tense. Just for reference, how often does your grid power go out and-or your backup system come on (or your backup system NOT come on, if you flip a switch or it flips automatically)?

          “In sudden SHTF people literally drive miles in one direction, usually to collect family, and then end up being directed the opposite way by Police. When they finally get home it is burned down or looted.”
          – The last sentence is what’s kind of catching me.

          With the exception of a few forest fires/wildfires that didn’t stay contained or jumped further or faster than expected (Fort Mac recently), I can’t think of a time when a disaster turned to burned homes inside 6-12 hours. I’ve seen some highway detours for big stuff and small stuff, but with the exception of a storm shelter being full and folks getting re-routed or expanding a fire or the train derailment containment areas, nothing where cops are turning folks away.
          Demonstrations that turn to riots would be one for looting, but they and fires tend to be foreseeable or at least already on the verges of our awareness.
          I’ve been in other countries where you could argue it’s happened, but they tend to already be receiving foreign aid and the civic forces are … somewhat lacking.

          Do you have an example?
          Of something that’s actually happened (it’s kind of written past tense, has-happened) or just conjecture?

          “Finding out what has happened is a secondary concern to preparing to survive.”
          “If the vehicle works get fuel as soon as possible and buy food and water in the first gas station you see … Then get home or to the preplanned bug out location using the vehicle. Do not delay at all.”

          ? – If you’re saying you have time to stop for supplies that should already be in the trunk/camper/box in a car, then at home it might not be a terrible idea to go ahead and check the cell and house line, stick the power company call line on speaker, flip on the radio news stations, and turn on the local HAM band that passes weather and news.
          FB has news feeds, too. Hit or miss by area, but we’ve used them to breathe a sigh (the fire trucks we passed are not actually heading to our neighborhood), to see the user-reported picture of the burst main flooding roads in the city or nearby ‘burbs, and to dodge traffic jams.

          At least you’ll have a fighting shot at knowing “what” instead of heading inside and outside repeatedly, exposing yourself to some sort of chemical from a planned bomb or a train derailment, processing plant, or sinkhole explosion, or that a dam has busted or a tanker truck gone up two blocks (you’ll see the smoke) or two miles away and it would be better to un-ass the AO instead of hunkering in, or monitoring to see if it’s spreading and it would be better to evacuate because the fire doesn’t actually look so under control to you.
          Or if it’s a freak earthquake somewhere earthquakes don’t exist, or a sinkhole opening, and it would behoove us to instead go ahead and check our foundation, water and gas lines just in case.

          Use your power/fuel tank while you have it if inclined. It’s way easier to PC meat with a constant heat source than
          wood, after all.
          Cities are different by building, age, and design, but pressure will stay in water pipes for a while even in fairly tight ‘burbs.

          Since most of the world isn’t going to rush out 10 minutes later and turn on water, you still have some time to gather intel and process it. Or to at least start (my phone lives in my truck routinely) and be gathering as you start filling the bath bob.

          Information is one of our most powerful tools. Informed decisions are always wiser.
          I can see setting a time limit and not goggling and jawing with neighbors, but a 30-second glance at phones can
          answer two questions on their own, and then 2-10 minutes or going hands-free can answer others from there.


          1. The entire article is conjecture thankfully RA,
            I’m on about a sudden and large shtf event that is not obvious in advance that is likely civilization ending. Obviously wildfires and slow war build ups are different from a sudden attack and communications monitoring is vital in those events. I’m not on about a local tornado but at best a regional war or large meteor hit. A civilization ending shtf.
            If mushroom clouds suddenly appear on the horizon your water pressure might last days but everyone will be storing water and radioactive water will soon be in those pipes. The emergency messages will be telling people to store as much food and water as they can. Simply put getting hundreds of gallons of drinking water is more important than knowing what exactly is going on. Water mains fracture in wartime or in a major shtf. Priority is survival and knowledge is important down the line.
            Sure listen to a police scanner while you actually do things but do things. The idea of sitting around using the ham radio to find out what has happened in a sudden, unexpected shtf when you should first and foremost really work hard on getting your home shtf ready is my take on what you actually should do in the first 60 minutes. Figure it out, draw on your maps after doing things that give you a survival edge first like maximizing water storage.
            If you have a rural home ultra stocked you have the luxury of info gathering as there’s nothing much left to do. Few of us are in that position.
            I agree about cooking ASAP while the lights are on. Vital to start the dehydrator for the garden produce and fridge supplies. The freezer stuff can wait as wood and propane can smoke it tomorrow.
            If any neighbours think you have supplies and they think it is the end of the world good luck not coming home to a looted home. Opsec is important but how good is yours and are you willing to take a risk on it?
            I, like most people, do not have a back up power system that automatically comes on. I have one protected from Emp and will use it when it is safe to use. If you have an automatic one disable it as being the only lit house in the area in a major shtf puts you at risk and Emp might ruin it.
            Shut off the water and gas as soon as possible. My written plan is gas off immediately and water within 60 minutes.
            No. Do not go shopping if you are not at home. If you can buy gas and use cash in the store. Grab some extra stuff while in there. Get home ASAP was my advice.
            The first 60 minutes is a vital period for long term survival. Think it through knowing reality would be different

            1. Having gone through a SHTF-EMP caused by the city’s street light contractor who fried everything electrical in our home, thank goodness the surge protectors kept the home from burning down, had to replace some circuit breakers that melted from the 560 volts the power company measured was coming into our home. The EMP lasted about 45 minutes before the power company shut off the power to the few homes damaged. Nothing is going to work foks in an EMP attack, nothing, no gas pumps water pumps, the pay points in grocery stores, banks, not arm machine will work, period!
              This is a real viable threat we face. It’s not conjecture nor theoretical Huples did a great job touching on what is coming and what we need to already be prepped for.

            2. “I’m on about a sudden and large shtf event that is not obvious in advance that is likely civilization ending.”
              – That’s cool. I’m still kind of curious how often your power goes out since the advice (from the article) is to go into full-on batten-the-hatches without delay every time the lights go out, and if this is actually something you do-do, or just a plan.

              1. Actually rarely and usually at night so I’m at work. Power out is signal not a sign. I’d expect other things to happen that might alert me. I’d check the phone. No cell signal or land signal then I’d react. Internet on and how so? Any lights in the sky or rumblings?

                What I am saying is in the event of an actual major shtf are your priorities written out and logical or are they emotional? Everyone has their own priorities. Mine I shared and I’m hoping for constructive feedback to improve my plans. What are your trip signal RA to full shtf mode?

                For the record our plans are exactly as detailed. Water, water, security, security. People not at home bunker in where they are or come home. No comms other than text. We know our plans so zero need to go all radio. If the home needs evac we have signals as well as places to write where we are heading and in ways we only understand. Totally event dependant but I’m not a fan of trying to gather info for very long. Use the first 60 minutes wisely

              2. Mine are soooo event and location oriented.

                In the “sudden” events, I’m sensitive to:
                – Dirty bomb (super localized)
                – EMP (regional; low possibility of widespread)
                – Nuke (regional; low possibility of multiple for widespread)
                – Internet virus (widespread or build-up fast-moving contagion)
                – Chemical release (localized to regional – factory, train car, rig-hauled; explosion or derailment, water contamination from highway)
                – Fuel depot fire (BIIIGGGG boom, and potentially fast moving – localized with potential regional effects and later threat)

                With absolutely zero comms and no radio, there are only a few potentials for what’s happened.

                Power line cuts become my roads of choice (I can get my truck through most of them, and my maps and GPS are marked for where I need to go around and where my “intersections” are). Where there aren’t power line cuts, I’ve spent time identifying secondary roads with yards, parking lots and store lots that can be navigated without power to the street lights and even if idiots have managed to block intersections and entryways.

                If the truck won’t start in addition to no comms at all, that’s even more indicative.
                Only 2 things create that disaster.
                Get home for the first rally and to claim the critters, best speed and route by observable conditions, then either out or down and locked up.

                I’m the freak that starts the water in the hotel bathtub as soon as I’ve had a shower, especially if the dogs are with me. I can soak towels faster to deal with heat stress or fire, to plug doors, to drape over us to get through sparks and smoke, all kinds of things.
                I also have water without touching my kit if I need it.

                (Most hotel bathtubs will slowly leak out and it’s only a couple of inches when I fill water dishes and doggy bottles before we leave.)

                At home I can’t imagine having space for firewood, but not water. There’s too many free and low-cost storage containers with too many ways to hide it as cloth-draped faux headboards, tables, kitty window seats, bed extensions for dogs, behind books on shelves and stacked behind DVD stands. There’s too much potential to rig water catchment with free and low cost buckets and new trash cans, or to use water-filled items to raise some container plants to “comfortable” levels (even in an apartment).

                Getting off the streets and staying off the streets if you think there’s NBC, then coming out in 96 hours, okay. Have a watch that’s not going to be affected , or you have no idea when that most-immediately deadly 72-hour period has passed (time moves crazy sometimes).
                Carry KI.
                Understand that when you come out, you’re in the period when the vehicle has been ravaged, and that by locking yourself downstairs or in an office bathroom you’re putting yourself somewhere you can’t see that a fire is coming in enough time to get out.
                That’s not going to be my choice, ever, because fires are too common in too many types of disasters.

                I’m not overly worried about my past coworkers losing it and rampaging because the ones most likely to rampage are also some of the ones most likely to run willy-nilly into traffic jams and then expect somebody to save them.
                If there’s no head’s up to stay in place, they’ll go.

                If there’s no power and no comms, and you think EMP or nuke and want to hunker in, I’m not sure what the deal with hiding in the bathroom is over a storage closet, break room, or the VP’s office (with good chairs).
                It’s the ONE location that EVERYBODY who stays will want (we all go potty).
                It’s also seen as one of the safest areas for storms and earthquakes (pipes) since doorways are crap now, and anybody who remembers that may head there in any emergency.
                Why go somewhere you feel like you’ll have to barricade and defend?

                Downstairs is better if it’s an option and “hunker” is your choice, as down as you can get and carry KI in a small tube in your bra or pocket, because you don’t know the source of the EMP. Deeper down you’ll get more radiation protection.

                I always have a mini light on my keys and a bigger one in my bag, bigger yet x2 in my desk when I had a desk and offices. Without them, if there’s no window, you’re not going through people’s desks or getting into a small room.
                If there are locking doors and unfamiliar hallways, or hallways strewn with debris from panicked people running (because an EMP will knock out emergency lighting) chances of getting cut off from a kit in the desk or getting hurt is higher.

                Count stairs if it’s going to be an issue (I count stairs everywhere, and pace the landings – ’cause, freak afraid of smoke and fire).

              3. Good tip about hotel bath tubs.
                I’d try for four weeks bunkering in in nbc.
                I can pre store water in the garage but it is heavy and not as secure as the main building. It’ll take no time to carry the old rain barrels in and fill them with the hose. Wood is stored outside and inside the garage. Priority is the outside wood needs to be inside the home ASAP.

              4. You’d mentioned avoiding rushing out in some cases and hunkering in an office or other workspace. A small, inexpensive, handy tool for that and for urban dwellers is another one I carry traveling:
                4 way silcock key

                You use them to open faucets that don’t have handles, like the kinds you sometimes/regularly see outside fuel stations and stores.
                Even if there’s no remaining pressure at the taps, if the mains have been shut off and sometimes even if the mains are jacked, water will still be in the pipes. With the lower elevation compared to sinks, you can usually still get water out of them.

                Some places have regular faucets, it’s not a guarantee, but I’ve spent $5-8 bucks in far worse ways. If somebody can foresee being out moving through that environment during an evac or during salvage after a die-off, they’re small and light enough to merit space in a pack.

              5. I got one and all four sockets are too big for my 1949s radiators! It’s also heavy but I’d carry it. I’ve heard multi tools work as well. Not tried it out due to worries with the law.

              6. I include this link only because you mentioned weight, and I’m used to steel being maybe half a pound and aluminum being maybe 1/3#.
                I’ve run into calling things different names, and a name meaning different things, that’s all.
                You may have crazy metric sizes or something up there in Cold Dark North. Haven’t done any plumbing there and never asked anybody.
                (Will now.)

                If you’d like to make sure you have a decent size(s) for compatibility, siddle up to a couple of owners somewhere, you’re interested in outdoor faucet vulnerability for businesses. Do they run into trouble, how often, what size pipes are they running, how big are the handles.

                Then into what size are the silcocks.

                You can get in with needle noses, most of the time, but sometimes…
                And sometimes, you bend the booger all out of shape and people make snarly faces at you and ask why you can’t remember your key and you have to get a pipe guy out to help if you can’t get the faucet part off and replace it.

      2. Ditto… no electronic-only locks for me. If it has one, it must have a mechanical backup… as do most garage doors and safes. Ditto on water and security. That reminds me… I need to make some pre-cut plywood for my securing low windows at some point. This will save time.

        1. R Ann, you amaze me with your thoughtful articles and comments.
          I’m not new to prepping, but am new to The Prepper Journal. I’ve always prided myself on thinking outside the box, but would never have thought of packing a 4-way sillcock. I just ordered two off eBay that cost me a buck or two more than one would have locally. Thank you so much!

  1. interview people who have beem through some stuff.shock is the big another.Stupidity is a big one.big shtf,200 mil will die the first week most likly more,just in the USA then its one thing after another all over the world…now its tiime for round two, but your not over round one.better talk toJesus about it now! Pray for a spirit of decernment..strar now.

  2. I think you will have a bit more than a hr. in rural areas. In the cities, especially high value targets, youre probably toast! For a EMP, it will take goverment a while before they let the public know how bad it is once they determine what has happened to avoid panic. In a nuclear strike, military will probably know by radar tracking, but again, not let public know to avoid panic. Either way, they will declare martial law to restrict movement for the impact zones or affected areas of the EMP. If you suspect something, get where you want to go in hurry. if your already prepared, you will be 10 steps ahead of everyone else.

    1. Thanks Christopher. Absolutely get moving immediately if your home is not bug out location one. Same thing. Get motoring not channel surfing if your gut says the shtf is real. Emp no power, no cell, no electronics. Takes about 30 seconds to verify that and then stArt preparing hard before others notice it’s not a regular power out.
      Our lines of travel are not car dependant and should allow movement unless a regiment is in the ravines. There won’t be. Our home is primary bug in location but I’m considering the rural cottage (not in a lake) as equal. Depends on the issue and how soon I can bury a years food at the cottage. Starting to think I need to get moving

  3. famous word of eddie murphy regarding ghost in house ” get the blank out!” I am man and turned the channel and it didn’t work so i got the blank out” LMAO

  4. Good advice. I might add that along with my seatbelt cutter, I also have a window punch, a spring loaded device to break the windshield or side window if you can’t get out of the car. Learned that when I was a volunteer firefighter/EMT. These two items are velcroed to my dash in every vehicle I drive.

  5. Some of the points made early on are really weird and also plain wrong.
    Taking care that wife/kids are safe is the absolute number 1 priority. It’s one thing to have to improvise for clean water and sufficient food supplies. But if you realise that your partner or kids are dead (or worse) and you could have done something about it, all your glorious preparedness is worthless.
    People seem to not want to think about this, when it comes to prepping, but the most dangerous threat in any SHTF scenario is your own mind. Contrary to popular belief, in actual urban catastrophes, historically, suicide is a far more likely cause of death than starvation or the oh-so-dangerous “others”. Be it Dresden after WW2, Sarajevo, Baghdad or Damascus – careful cooperation with other survivors and the support of family and loved ones are your most important assets. In the US, depending on your age and gender, suicide is the second or first most likely cause of death. And if even just your most basic survival needs are met, which isn’t actually that hard, the suicide as a consequence of severe depression will in any prolonged scenario be your wrist enemy.
    It’s a lovely and fun Hollywood fantasy we all engage in when it comes to prepping. It’s “you alone against the world”. And if caught off guard in the great outdoors, that might under very rare circumstances by the case. As, however, most people live in cities and, even more importantly, we’re all much, much more dependent on other people than we think (for help but more so for company); this wilderness fantasy hardly applies to anyone. And even adding to that. If SHTF and you would willingly leave behind humanity to isolate yourself in the woods you’re adding ridiculous amounts of risks to your situation. If you’re alone, you have only one brain to think with. If you’re alone, even light injuries can kill you. If you’re alone, keeping up moral becomes exponentially harder.
    If you’re alone, time management is much more important and you have a lot less to actually manage.

    1. Good points sidremus.

      I stand with my decision made with my partner that she is old enough, trained enough, and smart enough not to require me rushing down town or to the cottage to ‘save’ her in an shtf. Knowing and discussing various scenarios it was crystal clear to us that the lucky sob at home needs to crank the home up not try to radio or drive to see if the other is okay.

      Your point about mind set is a good one but I read it as not trusting your partner to get home herself. Now if mine was in a wheel chair I’d for sure figure out ways to go and get her in a few circumstances. If I had your children ditto. But most ten year olds unless special needs or terminally lazy can and should hike 5-10 km home from school in shtf. They should know the routes, the indications, and when not to budge but to wait for you. Obviously a two year old in day care needs one partner not both to immediately get them.

      Community is vital after the first Winter. Any real major shtf I’m ignore everyone except blood relatives I like. After then group hugs.

      Lone wolf is a free ticket to the crazy farm so team up with one or four people to wait out the die off makes sense mentally and physically.

      Suicide does not bother me. I’ve been in hard places and in shtf I’ll be far to busy to get all depressed. I’m planning to start a health care clinic and a school after the first winter. No point letting the good things die off with the bad

    2. I, too, like Sidremus’ reply. Much of prepping talk is infused with certainties that something will work. Something is very likely to not work, that we had planned on working. And at any rate, the life we live is so dependent on things working, it is hard to completely plan for all that will not work. ~ I would rate being on nearly a hugging basis with your neighbors a basic need. And, with Sidremus, I think it would be far too distracting to be separated from my most dear loved ones, especially if they have no heart for prepping [as is my case]. ~ We have several gallons of water for drinking stored, but a way of ‘making’ water is a great need. A shallow hole dug in the ground with a thin non-porous film across and a cup to collect water at the bottom is said to be a way to collect water, although I wonder if bugs and worms might also find it attractive! For purifying a large amount of the abundant water that falls on the Pacific Northwest, I would try filtering through charcoal and sand. For bathing, baking soda can extend a very small amount of water into a complete ‘bath.’ Baking soda can be cheaply obtained at Cosco where it is sold in bags for swimming-pool cleaner! This versatile product, even good for healing, should be part of emergency supplies. ~ There are courses that can be taken for survival in the wilderness. I think it would be well to be schooled in 1870s-living off the land, if one hopes to survive a major shtf. At nearly 70, my own survival isn’t my main aim except to further the survival of the youngsters around me.

      1. Thanks
        I agree with you. If my gf was not able to handle shtf I’d make a plan for that. Likely a baofung in a metal box in her car and supplies in her car in addition to what we have already for bugging in at work if a nuke goes off.
        I have lots of water around me so I’m not bothered. It is getting additional water in the house to literally bug in in the early days that is my focus. I can also easily collect rain water using tarps on the balcony 10×10 we installed above the addition last year. If you can afford it consider a Berkey water filter. If you buy bottled water now you can afford one and save money very fast. No point working hard if you can avoid it! Sand weighs a lot
        The article is for a sudden and very bad shtf not a few weeks of power down.

  6. Thanks! actually I wanted to know …….. and this article has helped me in understanding this. Keep Writing!

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