You must act fast when SHTF: What to do in the first hour

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by

Don’t get complacent just because you’ve recently purchased some expensive gear for your bug-out bag (BOB). None of the price tags on any item will matter if you don’t know how to use them and if you don’t have a detailed bug out plan for when SHTF.

Do your prepping now while you still have time. If you don’t have BOBs for your family yet, start packing them. Make sure your bug-out vehicle is full of supplies and that it can take you to safety at a moment’s notice. You won’t have the luxury to shop when disaster strikes and other people start panicking around you.

Here’s what you should do in the first hour after SHTF: (h/t to

  • Get your priorities straight and address them. In the first 60 minutes after a survival scenario, your security is your priority. Once you’ve guaranteed the security of your group, you can start worrying about other things.
  • Determine the main problem. After you’ve ensured the safety of your group, try to find out what happened. You only have at least 30 to 60 minutes following a survival scenario because you might have to evacuate soon. Do take note that the information you receive may be contradictory, especially within this time frame, so use your discretion. Monitor the news on TV and radio to identify any possible dangers so you can prepare for them.
  • Do you bug out or hunker down? Now that your family is safe and you’ve determined the reason why SHTF, decide if you’re going to bug in or bug out. As a rule of thumb, if you’re anywhere near ground zero, try to go as far as you can. If the threat is not an immediate one, it may be safe to bug in with your BOBs and supplies.
  • Practice makes perfect. You need to be ready because the 60 minutes after a disaster might not be enough to pack everything you might need in your vehicle. Do you have a backup plan if your car breaks down? Practice walking a couple of miles while carrying your BOB so you won’t struggle if you have to carry one while on the run. Talk to your family so everyone knows where to meet up, especially if you’ve split up and hour before SHTF. Make sure to practice evacuation drills regularly so your family can stay calm if you have to evacuate.
  • Don’t draw attention to yourself. An hour after a disaster scenario, the last thing you should be doing is telling strangers about your supplies and BOBs. You’re prepping for you and your family, not other people.

The optimal plan after SHTF should let you get ready in less than an hour. You can try for 30 minutes, but that might not be enough for most people. You also have to consider how the rest of your family, like children or the elderly, can cope when you’re drawing up your plan.

Supplies to stock up on

When SHTF, you need to prepare all sorts of gear and supplies. Aside from food, don’t forget to stock up on these medical and health supplies:

  • Baby/Toddler Supplies — If you don’t have a baby, items like cloth diapers, formula, toys, and washcloths can be used as bartering tools.
  • First aid kits
  • Herbal supplements/vitamins
  • Hygiene supplies – Feminine hygiene products, floss, shampoo, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.
  • Toilet paper
  • Wine/liquors – Alcoholic drinks are good bartering tools and they can be used medicinally, such as vodka.

You can read more articles about how you can stay safe an hour after a survival scenario at

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