How Likely is a SHTF Scenario: Reality Check

You want to prepare for whatever comes your way. That’s why we pay for insurance and work on our emergency preparedness after all. How likely are you to really need all that preparation? It can feel so overwhelming when you don’t know if you’ve done enough. Alternately, when people say it’s ‘crazy,’ sometimes you have to wonder if you’re doing too much and wasting your time. However you feel, reliable answers will help you sort the fact from fiction, and I’m here to provide those answers. If you’re new to prepping, then you’ve come to the right place.

How Likely is a SHTF scenario? A SHTF scenario is a hundred percent likely. Unfortunately, if you live on Earth, you will almost certainly go through an SHTF scenario at some point. Although there are varying levels of severity and duration, everything from an extended summer power outage to a worldwide pandemic or war falls into this category. 

How Likely Are Different SHTF Scenarios

To sort fact from weird conspiracy theories about how likely an SHTF scenario is, you have to recognize that both exist. Sadly, there are tinfoil-hat types who are coping with schizophrenia or excessive paranoia. Alternately, plenty of people get into prepping because they understand that SHTF emergencies happen.

Right now, all the news is about one particular emergency scenario that we’re living within. What about the rest of the time? If you check the government websites, pretty much every country has guidelines for minimum emergency preparation.

Those sites exist to help people when SHTF. Notice that I said “when” and not “if.” That was intentional. Emergencies are going to happen. Whether they’re personal, environmental, weather-based, health-related, war, or other problems, it happens all the time.

SHTF Scenarios Happen

When things go sideways, that is an SHTF scenario. Personal examples, like a fire or significant identity theft, happen daily. Something like sixty million Americans, or one in seven, have had their identities stolen. That will wipe out your bank accounts, or cause other havoc. Luckily, this typically only affects a single home.

Local disasters can cause an SHTF scenario, like a power outage or tsunami. Riots such as the one in Los Angeles back in 1992, or Chicago in 1965 made the streets unsafe for anyone. Moreover, anyone living in the north has blizzards. In the south, it’s more likely to be a hurricane, while the center of the country has tornadoes.

Global problems arise every generation or three, like a war, climate change events, or pandemics. This isn’t new. That means when you live long enough; you are probably going to face a global scale SHTF scenario.

The Type of Disaster Doesn’t Matter Much

Whatever SHTF scenario has you most concerned about, the result is similar. You need to have all the same things to live. Food, heat, light, water, and the ability to make it through so you can thrive in the aftermath are what matters most.

The world doesn’t have to end in a nuclear fireball for dangerous SHTF scenarios to be part of your life. Check out this brilliant book, Survival Guide: When Sh!T Hits the Fanfor more ways to prepare. You can be prepared enough for anything survivable without going overboard.

Keep in mind that the specific disaster doesn’t matter if you’re well prepared. No one is going to make it if a massive asteroid hits the planet, or if the sun goes supernova. You have to let go of the idea that you need specific detailed individual plans for every possible problem. However, most survivable SHTF scenarios require similar preparations.

SHTF isn’t ‘Likely’ It’s Inevitable, What Now

Now that you know the unfortunate truth, what can you do about it? Luckily, you’re already taking steps in the right direction. By coming here and reading this, you can focus your intentions and actions on getting ready and staying that way.

One of the most important things you can do as a Newbie Prepper is to choose the right resources. Unfortunately, when you merely read piecemeal information, you don’t get everything you need. Get Survival Guide: When Sh!T Hits the Fan because having a complete guide will help you get organized.

Remaining calm, and working on a plan will make you a more effective prepper. It may surprise you to learn that yoga and other Zen activities make you better at taking care of business when SHTF.  Emergency preparedness is about quality of life when things are at their worst.

To survive, you need more than supplies. Being able to enact your plans means staying focused. An excellent guide will help, but so will working on your focus and calmness daily. People panic when the herd panics, and that means lower survival rates. Be the rock at the center of the storm.

What Are the Chances of SHTF Scenarios

There are three general categories of SHTF scenarios, based on how likely they are. First are the ‘probably not going to happen’ situations. Second are the ‘less likely, but possible,’ problems. Finally, there are the ‘Inevitabilities,’ which aren’t a question, but rather a certainty.

I’ll walk you through them from the crazy to the real. Each of the following three categories is important in different ways.

Probably Not

You may wonder why I bother to include SHTF scenarios that aren’t going to happen. It’s a fair question, and I have a sensible answer. People who are more worried about these things make terrible survival team members. You need to keep perspective. Understand that these problems are either not-survivable and a waste of planning time, or so unlikely that it amounts to the same thing.

  • Zombies- Yes, science ‘could’ make this happen, but you’re not going zombie hunting. Moreover, if the zombies come, stick to the age-old monster solution. Cut off the head, burn the body, and scatter the ashes in the wind. You should have survival knives anyhow. Get a machete and go back to realistic plans.
  • Supernatural Creatures & Monsters- Godzilla and the vampires are not coming for your long term for stores. There’s no statistically valid evidence for this scenario. Let it go.
  • Aliens- The universe is vast, and we cannot hope to comprehend it. If Advanced beings from other worlds come for you, there’s just no way to know how to defeat them.
  • Extinction Event- If asteroids, deities, or other genuinely world-destroying events happen on Earth, you cannot stop them. By definition, these are not survivable. Think of them as falling into a volcano. You can’t fight, so stick to survival plans for situations where you can change the outcome.

Less Likely

I am only including one all-encompassing scenario here. The details don’t matter as much as the effect.

  • Rapid Complete Destruction- Most massive events do not wipe out everything at once. Moreover, they don’t hit everywhere at once. You are likely to have a warning, time to plan, and chances to escape. Any survivable event is more likely to roll in more slowly. Even in a world war, soldiers have to travel. Pandemics take time to spread. EMP weapons don’t affect shielded items.

Almost Inevitable

Sadly, this is the realistic SHTF scenario list. If I’ve left anything out, assume it goes here. There are so many probable situations that it’s near-miraculous that we don’t have an incident every few months. Unfortunately, this isn’t conspiracy-thinking, but rather a studied and scientifically backed opinion based on the world as it is right now.

  • Pandemic- There’s not much to say about this because it’s currently happening. Easing restrictions without a solution will almost certainly make things worse.
  • Climate Change- Although the stay-at-home orders around the world have helped slow this slightly, we are also currently undergoing this scenario.
  • Nuclear War/Events- Rising global socio-political tensions make war, and atomic events extremely likely.
  • Local Weather Disasters- These happen in many places each year. Volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards, fires, and droughts are part of normal life.
  • ETC- You don’t need a list of every detailed possible SHTF scenario given the three examples above. Two simultaneous SHTF scenarios are happening now. Although it takes more time than most people anticipate (thanks to TV), we live inside an SHTF scenario already.

The unfortunate reality is that, despite what our TV shows and movies lead us to believe, the world doesn’t fall apart in two hours or less. There are billions of people, and they don’t keep a tidy schedule for you to set your watch by when things go badly. This is why you might want to get a guide that can prepare for the inevitable. I highly recommend Survival Guide: When Sh!T Hits the FanIt provides you a full program that gets you, your family and loved ones prepared no matter what!

When Specific SHTF Scenarios Become Likely

Although ninety percent of being prepared is the same for all disasters, there are extra things you can do when specific events happen. For example, the pandemic means avoiding people more than usual. In that case, boning up on how to evade capture, and where to go to avoid crowds is a wise addition to your planning.

Start with the basics. Get a copy of Survival Guide: When Sh!T Hits the Fan and build up from there. If you have most of the survival tips and tricks on hand, it’s easier to know what to add because you aren’t starting with a blank page for your plans.

Instead of stressing over what you need, turn to the pros who have been at this for years. Skip the tinfoil hats and nervous breakdowns. Instead, handle the majority of what you need for every scenario, and then work on new skills and supplies for things that aren’t part of general survival planning.

Incidentally, stress will hurt your survival chances. Not only does it threaten your state of mind, but it also affects your body. Psychological pressure can tank your immune system, among other detrimental side effects. Breathe deep and plan well.

Adding More As You Build Up Supplies

Adding some targeted survival gear to your collection is smart. Mainly when specific SHTF is more likely for you personally, or the world at large. The mask and glove shortages are a great example of when a particular prep would help.

Another good ‘extra’ is Iosat tabs for radiation poisoning. There are ninety-eight nuclear reactors in the US. You don’t have to be near one to suffer fallout in case of an accident. Fortunately, as long as you keep the extras to a reasonable weight and don’t go overboard, you can have them.

If it makes you feel better, you can even add zombie hunting gear or stakes for vampires at your BOL. It’s not a likely scenario, but a little extra equipment won’t hurt. Plus, it can help you have some perspective on just how surreal an SHTF scenario feels.

By adding some little extras, you’ll feel more in control. Don’t forget the chocolate. It’s okay to put away things you want for an emergency as well. Having small pleasures in the worst situations is good for your brain. Stock some card games, and other minor things to help you keep your sanity, it will save on tinfoil, and it could even save your life.

Final Thoughts

How likely is a SHTF scenario? You live in one now. If you came to read this article in the hopes that you’d find nothing to be concerned about, then I hope you have a better understanding now.

The severity of our situation depends on our actions. Being prepared is about taking the necessary steps to preserve life. For a scientific look at how close we are to an even worse SHTF scenario, watch this video on The Doomsday Clock.

Anything short of total world annihilation is survivable. By choosing emergency preparedness now, you’re more likely to be one of the lucky survivors who help create the future. Be proud of that.

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