SHTF Living When TSHTF
Tips and advice on how to survive while staying in place when SHTF!
Last Revised 11/13/2016

Remember the Rule Of 3 for SHTF survival:

  • You can only survive about 3 minutes without air.
  • You can only survive about 3 hours without shelter/adequate protection from the environment.
  • You can only survive about 3 days without water.
  • You can only survive about 3 weeks without food.
  • You can only survive about 3 months without medication (for chronic conditions).
Empty Shelves Before A Disaster Strikes
The average supermarket only stocks about a 3 day supply of food!

Informative Anecdotes About Sheltering In Place

The noted author and journalist Howard Ruff, when he was still alive, recommended to his readers that they have a 6 month supply of stored food and other household supplies ready for emergency use in their homes. To justify this recommendation, Ruff would talk about the time his business failed and he had to declare both business and personal bankruptcy. The personal bankruptcy took all his emergency funds and since he was formerly self-employed, he was ineligible for unemployment insurance. Luckily, as a Mormon, he had followed the Mormon Church's recommendation to keep on hand a 6 month supply of stored food and other household supplies in his house. While struggling to put his financial life back in order, Ruff and his family lived off those supplies. Ruff was constantly urging his readers to build up their own 6 month supply.

Dallas has had a freak ice storm that has knocked out the power to my children's homes, which means they are ensconced in dad's unfinished apartment. I went to the grocery store to buy dinner, and of course all the stuff that you would want to have for a few nights had already been bought. A small ice storm, and everyone figures they need to clean out everything in the grocery store, before I even get there to buy my share. Let's just call this an adventure and not worry about the details. There are lots of new couches that have never been slept on and enough blankets somewhere down in storage. The grand-kids think it's all great fun and are running around screaming. All we need is a fireplace and marshmallows.
- John Mauldlin, in his 12/07/2013 weekly financial newsletter

I live in a hurricane-prone area and so keep a land-line phone for emergency purposes. When the electricity goes out, the land-line still works (self-powered). But the cell phone towers also run on electricity and when the power goes down, so do they. They've gotten battery back-ups lately (unlike 9 years ago when they went out and stayed out until the power came back on) but even then, after 3 days or so, they go out. And stay out. If you want to see people just completely lose it, try that scenario. I showed the land-line phone to a young (13 year old) relative, just in case she ever needed it. She looked at it and said, "But, there's no screen." and then asked why it was making noise (the dial tone).
- Anonymous survivalist posting on free speech forum

Back in the mid 1990's I was living in an apt in a four-plex; the rest were women. We had a mother of an ice-storm and 6 inches of snow. In east Texas that's a BLIZZARD! When I got home just before the ice-storm hit, I took a hot shower, cleaned out the bathtub, filled it with water, and 7 of those 5 gal buckets. I set 4 outside, ate dinner, and went to sleep.
I woke up to a white morning with no power. Everything was all electric, so no lights, heat, etc. I went out on the patio, fired up the grill, made coffee and breakfast. The next-door neighbor looked out, saw me, smelled the coffee, and before I knew it I had all four of the women (one had a female room-mate) laid up in my little 2 bedroom crib! About all they had between them was a few candles, some food, blankets, and that's about it. I started busting out the gear, and before you knew it I had heat, lights, water, all the basic comforts. Before this, I was "just that guy" down at the end that's hardly ever there, but we all became good friends those two "white" weeks. The little town I was in practically shut down over it. The women thought I was crazy for filling the tub with water. But when the water didn't flow later that first day and the water was there to flush the toilet, I was a damn genius!
Common sense, it will save you a lot of discomfort and inconvenience.
- Anonymous survivalist posting on free speech forum

A Basic Household Emergency Kit

Household emergency supplies should include enough food, water, and supplies to last three days without power, water, heat, or help. Check your home emergency kit against this basic check-list:

  • Food that doesn't require heating or refrigeration, such as canned meats, soups, stews, cereal, and high energy energy bars. Canned goods can supply their own water and can usually be eaten out of the can without heating, but beware of buying foods that require clean water and heating to eat.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Paper plates, cups, soup bowls, and plastic eating utensils.
  • One (1) gallon of treated water per person per day (allow enough for 3 days). If you decide to use the chlorination method of treating water, use 1/4 teaspoon of unscented regular chlorine household bleach per gallon of water. Change stored water every 6 months.
  • Water purification tablets and/or portable water filter to treat water if you do not have space to store water (enough to treat one gallon of water per person per day for 3 days). A good water filter is the Katadyn Hiker Pro. If you decide to use water purification tablets, most tablets treat one liter (quart) of water per tablet. So for a three day supply per person, you will need about 12 tablets per person. You will also need a one liter bottle per person to mix the water to be sterilized and tablet. If the water fails (or there is a boil order with no electricity or gas) you can use the portable filter to purity the water that is sitting in the reservoir in the back of your toilets. sitting in your hot water heater, or trapped in your pipes. You can also walk down to a nearby stream and filter the water there. This filter can be taken with you if you ever need to bug out and leave your home.
  • Pet food and additional water for household pets.
  • Wash cloths (for use in taking sponge baths), baby wipes, and hand towels measuring approximately 16" x 28". Consider substituting cheaper bath sponges for the wash cloths and cheaper (automotive) microfiber towels for the hand towels. Microfiber towels are less bulky, more absorbent, and dry out quicker. Try and get a microfiber towel as close to 16" x 28" in size as possible. A quick partial bath only includes the face and neck, hands, axilla (region under the arms), genitalia, and buttocks using baby wipes or wash cloth with soap and water.
  • At least a one week's supply of prescription and OTC medicines.
  • Extra blankets, comforters, high-quality mummy sleeping bags, cold-weather clothing (hats, mittens, gloves, parkas, boots), and rain gear for each family member. Remember that cotton kills; use Polypropelene, Capilene, Polyester, Fleece, Nylon, Wool, or Gore-Tex (for clothing) wherever possible. Staying toasty warm when the heat is off requires a high-quality mummy sleeping bag, blanket, or comforter. Get high-quality mummy sleeping bags that can be stuffed in a small sack for easy carrying. At a bare minimum, you will want the mummy sleeping bags rated down to 30F degrees. It is better to get them rated to 15F degrees. A zero-degree (0F) mummy sleeping bag might be your first choice in areas that routinely go below zero degrees during the winter. These mummy sleeping bags could be taken on the road if necessary and can be used inside your home if your furnace is no longer operational due to a natural gas shortage, loss of electricity, or furnace malfunction.
  • Snow shovels/snow blowers (check condition and maintain).
  • Flash-lights, lanterns, and batteries. My personal preference is the Mag-Lite with at least at 3 D-cell capacity. It is tough, bright, has an adjustable beam from spot to flood, and can be used as a pretty good attitude adjuster if need arises. Ask any cop or bouncer why they carry one. To avoid the need for batteries or to provide lighting when your battery supply is exhausted, consider dual powered solar/wind-up lanterns and cheap solar powered lawn lights. Many people like solar powered lawn lights because they are so cheap. The solar powered lawn light usually has one LED, so the light it produces is dim, and it also has an automatic cut-off switch. A one LED light will cast enough light to read printed instructions, but you are not going to want to read a magazine or your eyes will quickly get fatigued. The automatic cut-off switch will turn the lawn light on when the light falling on the lawn light gets dim, and turn the lawn light off when the light falling on the lawn light starts to brighten up. Since this is an automatic process, if you want to control when your light is on or off, or want light from more than one LED, you will need a dual powered solar/wind-up lantern.
  • Battery/solar/wind-up powered radio. A "nice-to-have" is an option on the radio to charge your cell phone if it dies.
  • Battery-powered Traveller's alarm clock or wristwatch with alarm.
  • Cellular phone (always keep your cellular phone at least one-half charged at all times).
  • Basic First Aid Kit. For those minor injuries that don't require dialing 911, a few bandages, gauze, surgical tape, disinfectant, tweezers and ibuprofen are handy for handling minor cuts and scrapes. I recommend Adventure Medical Kits if you can afford them because they are designed for remote medical needs. These kits are superior to the average Red Cross First Aid kit.
  • Anti-Nuclear Radiation Potassium Iodide tablets. 65 mg dose for children, 130 mg dose for adults. If the tablets must be rationed because of limited supply, the rationing priority should be by age with the youngest having the highest priority to receive the tablets, and the oldest having the lowest priority to receive the tablets.
  • N100 face masks (particulate respirators). If you can't afford N100 face masks, get N95 face masks and use surgical tape to seal the face mask to the face.
  • Portable chemical toilet and heavy duty black construction bags (e.g. black Hefty Bags) for use in lining (non-functional) toilets.
  • Enough rolls of toilet paper for three days.
  • Matches or cigarrette lighters for candles and gas fireplaces.
  • Firewood for wood fireplaces.
  • Household ABC Rated Fire Extinguisher. Keep by sources of open flame (e.g. the kitchen, fireplace, candles, or the BBQ).

Water Sanitation Kit (For Warm Sponge Baths)

While surviving in place when SHTF, running water for bathing may not available from your household plumbing. A method of sanitizing water that doesn’t require expensive fuel for boiling or household bleach uses the ultra-violet rays of the direct sun. SODIS (Solar Disinfection) is ideal to disinfect small quantities of water of low turbidity. However, SODIS will not remove harmful chemicals from chemically contaminated water. Fairly clear dirty water is filled into clear transparent plastic bottles of 3 liters/quarts or smaller in size and exposed to full sunlight for six hours. During the exposure to the sun the pathogens are destroyed. If cloudiness is greater than 50% , the plastic bottles need to be exposed for 2 consecutive days in order to produce water safe for bathing. However, if water temperatures exceed 50°C, one hour of exposure is sufficient to obtain safe bathing water. The treatment efficiency can be improved if the plastic bottles are exposed on sunlight reflecting surfaces such as aluminium (foil) or corrugated-iron sheets.

All the method requires is a reusable cheesecloth, a funnel, a washed clear transparent bottle with a cap (e.g. a washed 2 liter empty plastic Coke bottle with the label removed), and a piece of aluminium foil big enough to place the bottle on sideways. The funnel is placed in the mouth of the bottle, the cheesecloth in the funnel, and fairly clear non-murky dirty water from a running source (e.g. a river or stream) is slowly poured onto and through the cheesecloth filling the bottle almost to the top. The funnel and cheesecloth are removed and the bottle capped. Then the bottle is placed on the aluminium foil sideways in the direct sunlight for 6 to 48 hours. The disinfected water in the bottle is then carefully poured out into a small basin or a collapsible camping pail without disturbing any sediment that has settled on the side or bottom of the bottle. If fresh from the direct sun, the disinfected water can be used for a warm sponge bath using soap and hair shampoo or the washing of hands using soap.

A wash cloth, a hand towel measuring approximately 16" x 28", and a small basin or collapsible pail (found at camping stores) will be needed for taking sponge baths. Consider substituting cheaper bath sponges for the wash cloths and cheaper (automotive) microfiber towels for the hand towels. Microfiber towels are less bulky, more absorbent, and dry out quicker. Try and get a microfiber towel as close to 16" x 28" in size as possible. Many of these items can be purchased very cheaply at Wal-Mart, Harbor Freight, Dollar stores, or Thrift stores.

Solar Disinfection Process