Welcome to prepping, it can be a fun hobby, or save your bacon. Or both. This post is an introduction to the thought process needed to get from surviving anything from splinters in your finger to a many year problem of complete societal breakdown. Just remember, if you are not as wealthy as a Soros or Kennedy, you can’t do it all at once, it’ll take time to become completely self sufficient. Pretty much this takes planning, organizing and judicious expenditure of time and money. Decisions, decisions, what to prepare for – Let’s face it. TSHTF is undefined, and is a personal interpretation. You have to decide what your demons are. The End Of The World As We Know It is also low probability, and although within imagination it is not really defined. Your challenge is to weigh the odds you face, apply your own definitions, and make your own preparations accordingly. First thoughts: What is the most likely short term happening that could make a mess of your life, right where you are right now? House next door on fire? YOUR house on fire? Power outage? Back yard creek flooding? Rail car full of toxic chemicals burst half a mile away? Do you live in a flood plain? How fast can you expect it to take for an ambulance to respond to your call? Hurricanes and big time snow storms? Thinking here is short term, say less than a week or ten days. Seems to me that you must cover those bases first, and you have to evaluate the risks in your own AO. Those that need immediate action (fire, chemical, and medical emergencies) are your first thinking. Also short term, but require immediate actions completely different from a burning dwelling. Gang warfare in the front yard? Riots a block away? Second are situations where you will have some notice. Floods and weather come to mind. Can you make it thru by weathering in place, or do you need to head for higher ground? Is your vehicle in good repair and fueled up, ready to get out of the low lands with survival gear on board or ready to load out? Can you ride out a snow storm of Biblical proportions? Think here of the no name storm in New England some years ago where nothing moved for 3 days, and very little for days afterward or like Katrina where some people aren’t yet home. Lose your job and income? All these will give you time to act, and none to waste. Then come more serious and longer term problems. I include terrorism here, simply because the results of an attack could be longer lasting. How long can you hold out if the power is interrupted for several weeks? Does it get cold where you live? Fuel shortages due to war overseas that either takes the fuel for fighting or something else that makes oil products too dear or impossible to buy? In each of these cases, you’ll have time to act (or not) but your preparations need to be in place before it happens. (Unless, of course, the attack is in your area, then you go back to the immediate actions for the immediate effects.) And last, there are the very long term items. Complete breakdown of civil authority? General lawlessness? Total failure of the banking system? Stalling out of commerce such that delivery of (you name it) isn’t possible? Invasion of foreign forces that result in defeat of our military? (Don’t laugh, if the rest of the world unites and invades, they will be hard to repel. LOTS of them, and they will control shipping if they get the jump. They will pay for every foot of ground, and then they have to hold it. Such a thing will not be over in a short time.) Take your time to think all this out. Planning is critical to your success in meeting the challenges, regardless of gravity. Make lists of what you have on hand, how long your supplies will last, and bump your inventory to accommodate the short term needs, then go for the mid range, and finally go for the big one that sets you up for complete independence. This will NOT happen overnight, so don’t go into panic mode if you aren’t where you need to be. Following this are posts by experienced preppers with good starting guidance. The rest of the forum and its parent website has gobs of details, way more than is possible to assimilate in short order. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, take it bit by bit, using these starting points and expanding until you are satisfied with your situation. Done right, you will always find something else to take you a day, a week, a year longer than those that don’t plan for the likely, probable, possible and SHTF.