As a survivalist or prepper, you’ll spend most of your time prepping for when and if the SHTF. But even the most prepared person could be caught out by these hidden or unexpected dangers in a SHTF situation.
Depending on where you’re currently living you may be more prepared for some of these dangers than others. But I think at least one of the following issues may end of surprising you. And will most certainly catch out normal people that haven’t considered being prepared.
Weather on its own can cause the SHTF, but even after bugging out it can still cause massive issues. And if it wasn’t a weather-related disaster that caused the emergency situation. You can still end up in serious trouble due to weather later on.
Depending on where you live this risk can be huge, and people that live in extreme weather areas should be well prepared. But even if you live in an area that has moderate weather all year round it could still end up being your undoing.
Consider just simple rain. Getting caught out in rain for a sustained period of time can be really dangerous. Especially if you have no shelter or the means to create one. Your clothes and equipment will eventually be sodden with water. Damaging gear that isn’t waterproofed and causing you to lose body heat.
When this happens, you could be looking at a case of hypothermia, chilblains or even frostbite. And potential damage to lifesaving equipment. That’s just the rain.
Imagine this combined with wind, snow and ice. Or even lightning. The older you get the more dangerous slipping over on ice can be. You’ll need good footwear to ensure you stay on your feet, slipping over could cause muscle damage or worse case bone damage.
A broken pelvis for example would most likely spell the end for you. Without real medical care, your days would likely be numbered. Due to the amount of internal damage caused by the fall. And of course, being outside in rain and lightning always carries the risk albeit small of getting struck by lightning
Extreme weather conditions
The conditions above I wouldn’t consider to be extreme weather, that’s everyday weather that can be surprising lethal if you underestimate it. Extreme weather conditions are rarer but if you caught out by them, you’ll be in real trouble.
Tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis and even avalanches are real extreme weather conditions that will cause you major problems should you come upon one. Again, this is situational at best since a lot of people are lucky enough to live in areas where these extreme conditions rarely happen.
Everyone likes a sunny day but what if you’re forced to be out in the heat and sun all day? Again, the sun can pose a real threat to you if you’re not prepared to be out in it all day. You’ll need more water, sun blocker and ideal clothes to cover yourself. Especially your head.
Last thing you’ll want would be sunstroke or dehydration. That’s why I always recommend carrying 1-2 Aquastiqs so you can turn any water into safe drinking water instantly.
How to avoid falling victim to weather post SHTF
General advice here would be to make sure you can always find or create yourself a shelter. Also, fire starting is incredibly important. Having multiple tools on you to start a fire and build a makeshift shelter is a must for any bug out bag. You should check out the FireKable this is the best paracord bracelet around. Has loads of cordage for shelter building and has a ferro rod built into the clip for a Firestarter.
And even if you don’t live in an area where the weather can be harsh it’s still best to prep a few items in your bug out bag, just in case it takes a turn for the worse. Because like I mentioned above without your home or shelter even everyday weather can be extremely bad for your health, if you’re exposed to it for too long.
2. Illness & Disease
It’s a common opinion that in the event of a national or international crisis we are likely to lose power. The grid will go down and this will lead to a host of problems. The pumps that control both water and sewage will stop, which will lead to water sources becoming contaminated.
Within weeks we’ll start to see dysentery break out and other waterborne diseases. People that don’t have the knowledge or equipment to sterilize their drinking water will end up in serious trouble.
Hospitals will likely stop operating, and going to one could be extremely dangerous. Because of the spread of diseases there. Hospitals and in fact nowhere will be as clean as normal and there will always be a risk of infection if you go.
This is why it’s so important to store your own meds. Most definitely if you have a health problem that requires regular attention. Such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis etc. Even accidently stepping on a rusty nail could end up killing you if you do not have access to medicine for tetanus aka lockjaw.
How to avoid death from illness and diseases post SHFT
Out of all the things on this list. This one is the most common, it’s something everyone will have to deal with. You’ll need to make sure you stockpile some basic medicine and first aid supplies. Also, learning some survival first aid could be a life saver.
Remember to keep everything clean as possible. Keeping cleaning wipes and disinfectant handy will go a long way to keeping your illness and disease free. Even common everyday infections in a SHTF situation could be fatal.
Some good example medicine to have stockpiled include:
- Bacitracin ointment
Most importantly ensure you have a few methods to get clean safe drinking water. Get some Aquatabs, and a method to boil water such as the Total Survival solar kettle. And of course, you should always have 1-2 Aquastiqs to allow you to drink straight from any water source.
3. Nuclear contamination
Again, this is something that everyone should be prepared for you, more so if you live near any nuclear power or nuclear weapon sites. Locally you can get a good idea of the risk but generally with current world affairs everyone needs to be mindful if this ever more possible event.
Radiation from nuclear fallout is another one that will sneak up on you. Falling from the sky you can’t see it coming. And being exposed even for short periods of time without the right items can have massive health effects. And even death.
Early symptoms of radiation sickness are vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. Which if you feel you’ve been exposed to any radiation will be tell-tale signs. And you should seek medical assistance straight away along with making sure you are no longer exposed to any radiation.
How to deal with radiation in a nuclear event
The very first thing you need to do is get far away from ground zero. Hopefully during the moment of impact you’re inside a solid structure. Depending on the size of the nuclear explosion and your distance away (anything under 2 miles and you’ll be lucky to survive the blast) Over 2 miles you’ll have roughly 15-20 minutes before the mushroom cloud and radiation comes down.
You’ll need to get as far away as possible upwind from ground zero. At least 1 mile. In this time, otherwise you’re at risk of serious exposure.
This is why having a bug out bag is so important. You won’t have time to pack things. So, get yourself a bug out bag. With supplies for potential radiation sickness. Especially if you live in a high-risk area.
Basic Things to put in your bug out bag for radiation:
- Iodine tablets. (should already be included in your survival first aid kit)
- Gear to get lots of fresh water for scrubbing yourself.
- Extra thick clothing. (cover as much of your skin as possible)
Taking Iodine tablets and washing yourself for at least 20 with 1/6 bleach and water should help with any of the radiation that you remove and stop any further radiation from being absorbed.
4. Misplaced Trust
I won’t go into a lot of detail here because there really isn’t much to say on this one. But what I will say is be very careful who you trust. People you know well might not be so friendly in a survival situation. Desperation makes people do horrible things.
Placing too much trust in people could end up costing you everything. You must always keep your guard up even if you’ve known these people for a long while.
Family will be the best ones to have around. Those of you that have larger families are lucky providing you all get on that is. While strength in numbers is certainly true it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful.
5. Mental and Physical Stress
One of the major issues that I think many preppers or survivalists forget to think about is how much pressure they’ll be under during a SHTF event. You’ll be worked harder both mentally and physically. Perhaps more than you’ve ever been in your entire life.
Expecting this is the only real way to avoid it by having a good plan ready with supplies. Both mental and physical stress can have a huge impact on your health and immune system. Taking away your ability to heal or recover quickly from illness or injuries.
In a sustained SHTF event you’ll likely suffer from insomnia, fatigue and depression. Lack of sleep will lead to confusion and bad concentration which in itself could lead to huge potential life threating mistakes.
More chronic and intense instances of stress can cause some people to completely lock up. It can be paralysing.
How to prepare for Mental and Physical stress post SHTF
There are few things you can start doing right now what will no doubt ready you for what will potential come.
- Staying Fit
- Stockpiled vitamins
- Bug out bag vitamins
- Meditate to prepare mentally
- Get your 8 hours sleep daily
The main issue you’ll have that will bring you down is your change in diet. Without vitamin supplements you’ll start to lack the balanced nutrition you need. And with all the extra physical work you’ll be doing it will be hard to maintain yourself. Remember that during any survival situation you’ll need to think positively and pragmatically.
6. SHTF Wildlife
Ideally when the SHTF you should be planning to leave the cities. I for one would get out of built up areas asap. The issue with this in many locations is the wildlife can be extremely dangerous. Bears are a huge threat to anyone hiking or camping in places of the world. And it’s unlikely that the handgun or small calibre weapon you’ll be carrying will be suitable for taking on a bear.
Perhaps in a longer SHTF event even stray dogs will become an issue. Getting bitten by any animal could lead to infected wounds and a host of diseases which you’ll want to avoid.
Or even smaller wildlife such as insects. Like Mosquitos or ticks can bite you leading to a host of potential health problems which will make you incredibly ill at the worse time possible.
Tips to deal with Wildlife when SHTF:
- Make sure your bug out bag has insect repellent spray and bands
- If you live in an area where that has Bears get some survival training
- Learn some Entomology to know which insects to avoid and which ones could be useful
6 Hidden or Unexpected Dangers in A SHTF Situation Conclusion.
I’m sure there are some of you that have already prepared for some of the above. But I bet there is one on there that maybe you haven’t given much thought too. This could be because where you live the risk is so low. But still I highly recommend you take the time to educate yourself on all potential threats you may face in a survival situation.
The editor of Resounding Earth, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.