It is not a matter of if but when you will have to face the consequences of a disaster. Thousands of people are affected every year by natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods and superstorms. Not to mention that there are even man-made disasters that can drastically change your way of life. If you manage to survive the initial impact of the disaster, here is what you shouldn’t do after SHTF.
For many of the people out there, emergency preparedness is just a phrase they heard on the news or read in magazines. When disaster strikes, they run to the store and buy everything in sight, thinking they will be prepared for what’s coming. This may be enough for a day or two, even for a week, but what will they do if the crisis persists?
Survival is more than just a numbers game. While it certainly helps to do your math and stockpile the supplies you will need, you also have to know what not to do after SHTF. Rather than discussing about long-term survival strategies, there are some things I wanted to point out. The type of things you shouldn’t do after SHTF. It doesn’t matter if you are a prepper or a regular Joe and you should keep in mind to avoid doing the following.
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Things you should avoid doing after SHTF:
- Don’t blame yourself
Regardless of how well prepared you are or not, don’t blame yourself. If you manage to survive the first wave, there’s a chance you could make it after all. This is known as survivor’s guilt and it’s a complicated subject. Most people perceive themselves to have done wrong by surviving a crisis when others close to them did not. Even more, they start looking for culprits and re-live the past imagining what they could have done differently. Rather than analyzing why you didn’t prepare when you had the chance, it’s better to put your energy into finding ways to outlast the crisis. After SHTF, you should figure out how to survive on the supplies you have, how much will they last and what you need to do afterward.
- Don’t think you are alone
After SHTF, the social elements from your area could become both your salvation and your demise. Most preppers will take steps to isolate themselves or move away from the affected area. This is a good practice if you fear the event can have long-term consequences and if you are prepared to outlast the others. However, if you are new to emergency preparedness things may require a different approach. After SHTF, once your 3-day supplies run out, you will have to look for the help of others. May it come from a local form of government or a network of trustworthy neighbors. Either way, the other elements of society will impact your way of living, one way or the other.
- Don’t ignore your intuition
You know yourself, you know your living area and you should certainly know the people living there. If your guts tell you that you should move or you should pay attention to looters, then you should do precisely that. It is impossible for anyone on the outside to dictate how you should act and make assumptions about how things will turn out. You have to trust your instincts and follow the best course as you believe it to be. The safety of your family comes first and you should take care of them and only them.
- Don’t lie to your family
After SHTF, sooner or later, your family will recognize that things are not right. They will notice if your survival plan doesn’t go as it was designed to function. Instead of shutting them out, you should rely on them for support. Survival is a team effort and you need all the help you can get. If things turn grim, there’s no one out there to trust and you should remember that blood is thicker than water. No matter how hard things get, your family will always be by your side and support you in every decision you take.
- Don’t believe you are helpless
Do not think that you are unable to escape after SHTF. There are many ways to figure out a way to survive and there could be people willing to help you. They could do it for free or they could do it in exchange for the supplies they need. Regardless what you have to face after SHTF, think and work your way out of it. I firmly believe that each and every one of us has a set of skills that will help us survive. The survival spirit may be dormant in many people, but it will come out to the surface when things get serious.
- Don’t decline government aid
After SHTF, a form of government might still be in effect. Chances are it will provide some kind of help, may it be medical assistance or water and food distribution. Most preppers tend to see the government as the boogeyman and they will decline government assistance. They will do so because they have concerns about the costs of this aid and they already have everything they need at home. This could be a fatal error and you don’t want to separate yourself from the common folks.
Think of it this way, if Martial Law is declared and if you’re not there in line asking for food, water or medicine like all the rest, people will start asking questions. They will come looking for you to check if you’re still alive or if you need assistance. Once they notice you have one year’s worth of supplies or more, they will claim it for the good of the general public. After SHTF, make sure you blend in and look just as desperate as the others.
- Don’t go back
Planning to bug out implies that you should also be prepared to start fresh somewhere else. There is a big temptation to go back home before things settle. People want to make sure their belongings are still there or they want to check if their home is still standing. After hurricane Katrina, a lot of people went home after they made sure the loved ones are safe. They decided to do so once the news got out there were looters ransacking people’s homes. As you can imagine, the situation escalated and people died. If you plan to go back home after SHTF, make sure you have all the right info. Do so, only after things return to normal and law enforcement officers are present.
- Don’t wander into the unknown
As a general emergency preparedness or survival rule, everyone should know their region. Studying the details of your home region will give you a better chance of surviving after SHTF. It will keep your loved ones safe during an emergency situation. Many things can influence the outcome of a disaster event. Things such as your location, environment, population density, etc. are all essential factors after SHTF. If you are forced to find refuge in your local wilderness, it is crucial that you know what resources are available and how to find them. Even more important, you should know how to avoid the dangers within your region.
- Don’t push it
When people are desperate, they will do anything they can to survive. After SHTF, you need to calculate the risks you take. If it’s not worth the gain, you better think of something else. This has a lot to do with common sense and I find that people today have forgotten what common sense is. Some of them believe that scavenging after SHTF while help them survive, while others assume that brute force will solve everything. After SHTF, one needs to be cautious to survive the day. You have to become more rational after a disaster to avoid dealing with emotional responses that could put you in danger. Avoid conflicts, avoid dangerous areas and don’t be a hero.
- Don’t give up
No matter how bleak the situation appears, things can always improve. Getting out alive after SHTF will take a lot of work, and it’s not without risk. Survival requires a certain mindset and the ability to push forward regardless of what costs you have to deal with. Human kind was able to survive and thrive even against all the odds. People survive in harsh environments; they survive wars and everything that may seem like a movie script for us. Regardless if you struggle to survive in the wilderness or in the concrete jungle, you should never give up. If you do so you will die, it’s as simple as that. However, enjoying a fulfilling, peaceful life is worth every blood, sweat and tears you give after SHTF.
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