There are different procedures for evading catastrophes, but the first steps to take when SHTF to be discussed below remain the same regardless of the event.
A disaster can be so many scenarios, ranging from a storm ripping through your locality to a hurricane sweeping through the state. For this article, though, our definition of SHTF is a large-scale event that disrupts normalcy & may last for weeks, months, or longer.
Whatever you can envisage, please do. It is not about the disaster as much as it is about the steps you take when the disaster occurs. The steps we’ll look at below are not restricted to a particular danger setup: they always come first in every catastrophic event.
Well, they do for me & thousands of others who’ve agreed with me on the previous publications of this article. Let’s know what your opinion will be too.
5 First Steps to Take When SHTF
Leave the Path of Harm
Sure, this is pretty obvious for anyone, but I daresay it’s worth talking about. When shit hits the fan, the first step is to ensure you’re not in any immediate danger. If you are, get out of it instantly.
This may seem like an intuitive action, and it should be, but not everyone knows that. Some of us are keen on rescuing people who may be important or not instead of getting away from danger. While the merit in rendering help must be given & you could save a life, you need to know that your life is equally in danger. This is equally not the right time to figure out what caused the event. So, my first piece of advice is to get away from this danger, after which you can decide what’s next.
Establish a Communication System
When you’re certain that there’s no immediate threat anymore, the next course of action is to initiate communication with those who matter. There is usually a laid-out method of establishing this connection with everyone who belongs to the same emergency group as you. This may include family, friends, neighbors, or whoever you’ve made arrangements with. Everyone needs to be kept abreast of the current happenings so emergency procedures can be implemented.
From experience, I’ve figured that there’s a pertinent part of communication that most groups do not pay attention to. So, let’s reason together: what would you & your group members do if your preset communication plans were destroyed?
If you have no previous arrangement, then here’s what I suggest. Set up meeting points & hours with everyone in the group if standard communication plans are scattered. For instance, should a catastrophe that does not allow mobile comm. occur, you can all have planned to meet at Location X until a particular time. Your plans can vary accordingly. My emphasis is basically on having a contingency plan that can be enacted without any communication channel.
Evaluate the Situation
When the group has been contacted, it is time to evaluate happenings to work out whatever had gone wrong. This assessment will help determine if the harm has fully blown over or if things can still worsen. This also includes figuring out the location to go, the means of reaching there, items that are on you, supplies that you may need if what you have will get you there if you will pass the night where you are, and also what to do to prepare for further accidents.
It’s without a doubt that there will be a lot to think about at this time, but you have to keep these emotions in check to make the best decisions.
Evacuate to the Agreed Safe Zone
You may or may not need this step again if there’s an already agreed location to use as a safe house. But when there isn’t, you can easily figure it out through the assessment.
I’d prefer to decide on this safe zone after the evaluation of events. While it is agreed that it’ll be much easier to go directly to a location where you’ve already agreed on, you need to understand that there’s the possibility that that location may no longer be safe. Or, you may not be able to get to this location again.
Wherever your safe location is, you should have a number of them in mind, so there’s always an alternative.
Set up a Security System
When you’ve gotten to your safe zone, the next step to take (and that must be quickly taken) is to set up a security plan. You need to have some methods in place to protect yourself. I can’t specify the things to do, as it’s a personal (or group) decision, but the pertinent thing is that you have protective measures in place.
Ensure all entry points are locked & secured. Here are general suggestions that you can follow to secure these points:
- Put in some wooden dowel behind the frame of windows that are vertically opened. This will prevent these windows from opening even if they are unlocked from outside. Inserting this piece of wood is a safer alternative to boarding up the entire window. This option makes it easier to escape when you need an alternative exit point since you can easily remove the dowel.
- Fix deadbolts at least on your door handles. Ordinary pushbutton locks won’t hold anything back.
- Change the hardware on the strike plates of your door. These plates are typically fixed with little screws that you can & should replace with longer screws.
Note that security is not something you set up & forget about. You have to keep track of it 24/7. Set up teams to keep watch from time to time.
Concluding the First Steps to Take When SHTF
Missing the first steps to take when SHTF mentioned above may spell serious trouble for you. Keep track of these steps & practice the decisions you take regularly with your group members. Remember to account for everyone’s safety, but yours should come first.