Everyone has a general plan for any given crisis, the plan, you might call it. This plan will be tailored to fit as many possible SHTF scenarios as possible, improving reaction time and simplifying the response to danger.
We’d like to encourage more of our readers to share the nuances of their SHTF plan here on TSB, so in the interest of being what we’d like to see, I will be detailing the coarse overview and variables of my personal disaster response plan and my reasoning and personal “triggers” that will set my plan in motion. Hopefully this will kick off our initiative in earnest.
Read on to see what sorts of mayhem yours truly will be getting up to and hopefully away from.
A Quick Word
Before you delve into the finer workings of my personal preparedness plan, understand that everything about it is contextual. Any serious prepper, or even novice student of self-sufficiency will see the fundamentals of gear, skills and mindset underpinning the individual components of the plan, but much of the rest of it may not make sense to you, or even seem incompatible with what you would do.
That’s ok: Context is everything, and what is workable, even applicable to my scenario may be unworkable or even unthinkable to you. Don’t look at my plan as a problem to solve (though feel free to comment down below), look at it as an informative glimpse into the perceptions, limitations, priorities and threats of another person.
Take those questions that pop up in your mind while you read and apply them to your own plan to refine it. That’s critical thinking at work.
Enough preamble; let’s get to the good part.
The Basics and Mindset
Before we get to my response proper, I am going to take a minute to pull back the curtain on my life so you can better understand (or condemn) my reasoning. I am a single male, middle age, in good shape and overall good health living somewhere west of the Appalachian Mountains and east of the Mississippi river. I have no injuries or ailments that hamper me in any way, save for being very fair-skinned and somewhat averse to very hot weather; physically and mentally I endure cold far better.
Besides my relationships with my friends, obligation to my neighbors and the community at large, I am completely unfettered; I have no one and nothing truly depending on me, not even a dog, so I can react quickly to any emergency and I will be the only person slowing me down.
I will help those close to me at every opportunity, but I am under no delusions as to the immovability and/or treachery of strangers; if I cannot render aid in an efficient and safe way, I will not risk my neck for them. After all, I have to be alive to make things better for me and mine, and I certainly do not want to die.
As far as skilled goes, I have worked hard to be a generalist, a jack-of-all-trades or renaissance man. I know a fair bit about many things, and an awful lot about a few things: I am a fair outdoorsman, navigator, mechanic, cook, hunter and medic and a superb driver, shooter and persuader. I am also a good pack mule, an can carry a 50lb pack a very long way at a good clip before I run out of gas.
The Essential Plan: Stay Put Whenever I Can, Run Like When I Can’t
My SHTF plan is very bug-in centric, as most should be in my opinion. My neighborhood is semi-rural, a good clip outside the local and convenient city which is ideologically stable and not prone to any outbursts of political or any other mob violence.
I am on good terms with nearly all of the people in my neighborhood and close with several families. There are 3 that are “clued-in” to what I am about and are on the same page as I when it comes to prepping. These folks form a good nucleus of support for most problems that would come our way.
My home modestly hardened with heavy mylar application on all the windows, which are set into reinforced frames and the exterior doors have anti-kick devices installed. The doors themselves have a custom sandwich of composite armor inside, which has been tested against intermediate rifle fire. Additionally, one large centrally located closet in my house and my basement have been modestly reinforced as shelter locations; the basement benefits from extra sealing against water and has a hardened “sub-shelter” large enough for me to take cover in with a small stash of equipment like my BOB, which is perpetually packed alongside my vehicle-based GHB.
For natural or man-made disasters, I will simple stay home and lock the doors, and expect to weather even an intermediate-term crisis with no ill-effect. The biggest natural threats would come from bad storms or tornados, which are common when the season hits. Flooding is normally a concern in my community, but my house is strategically located on high ground along a drainage path with a nearby spillway making short work of even torrentially rains. Winters occasionally turn rough with wet, slushy snow sometimes freezing over for a couple of weeks, and the aging infrastructure of the area is prone to failure, making cold weather blackouts a proper survival hazard.
I am skilled and trained enough to make use of my tools and stash of building materials, tarps cordage and the like to keep even my damaged home inhabitable in the aftermath if I need to, or camp out if I can’t. The last part is a tertiary option, as my neighbors know they can count on me to keep an eye out for them, and they will do the same for me should I roll snake eyes in the disaster games.
I have a 6 month supply of food, water, toiletries, sanitation and medicine with a supplementary two week supply “speedball” that stays ready to load into my vehicle at a moment’s notice and in about 3 minutes flat. Short order and to-go, more on that in a minute.
I have a pair of identical AR-15’s, a pair of identical pump shotguns and the same with handguns. I have 4,000 rounds total minimum on hand for the rifles, 400 rounds of buckshot for the shotguns, and 100 rounds of slug. The pistols each have 2,000 rounds. Each gun functions as a ready reserve for my use in case its twin is deadlined, or to hand off to a friend or neighbor in the event of need. I have a smattering of other guns in various makes and models, but these are fun, work or collector guns and I do not maintain a stash for any of them.
In the event I have to bug-out, be it from a major oncoming disaster or severe civil unrest, I have a selection of privately owned remote destinations across two three states where I can go to either A.) wait out the problem in seclusion or B.) rendezvous with close friends and their families for mutual aid in a crisis. I have a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of the less travelled rural routes going to these areas from my home and office, and utilize pre-loaded GPS routes as backups.
My BOB and vehicle-based GHB are packed with everything I need for extended time away, including shelter, navigation, clothing, rations, water filtration, tools and fire-starting modules. Their contents are identical save the GHB is lighter and tailored more for continual movement, though either can function as a reserve in case of loss, theft, or what have you.
My vehicle itself, a late-model compact SUV renowned for off-road capability, is outfitted with modest, low profile upgrades that enhance its range, power and reliability as well as its cargo capacity. It is small and nimble, does not appear as a monstrous prepper-rig or off-road fun machine and has plenty of room for me and my things with one passenger, though they had better be travelling light.
I keep this vehicle stocked with my GHB, a repair kit with tools, common spare parts and belts. It has a discreet attachment point for two jerry-type fuel cans I will quickly mount when it is time to go wheels up. Regarding the speedball I mentioned earlier, this is a comparatively small 2-week load of food, water and other necessities I keep in easy to handle containers specifically for a vehicular bug out.
I am prepared to abandon everything else at home in the instance I am bugging out, though any of my neighborhood allies will be able to help themselves so hopefully it will not be wasted.
You will note I have prepper for the most common, survivable scenarios, not major, XK-class planetary destruction events or anything else. The reason is that events of that nature will be largely unsurviveable no matter what we do, and so I choose not to concern myself with them. I do focus though on being light, adaptable and enjoy having the safety net of duplicates for all major life-support supplies and equipment.
I have taken pains to ensure myself, my home and vehicle are as reliable and rugged as possible within reason. I have no desire to live a life in a constant state of condition red, or an overtly “high-security” mode with trimmings to match.
That’s my plan, what does yours look like? Let us know in the comments and let’s keep the conversation going!
Charles Yor is an advocate of low-profile preparation, readiness as a virtue and avoiding trouble before it starts. He has enjoyed a long career in personal security implementation throughout the lower 48 of the United States.