3 Stages Of SHTF

February 14, 2013, by Ken Jorgustin

3 Stages Of SHTF

Slippery Slope

The first stage of SHTF begins with creeping normalcy and shifting baseline. This is happening now, and has accelerated rapidly. It has been happening slowly for many years… the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually. People that do not make themselves aware of gradual change, suffer eventual undesirable consequences. The powers that be have always known that change needs to be gradual to be accepted; at least until such time that a critical mass of useful ‘idiots’ have accepted it, which results in a very rapid final push towards the final change or changes. We have reached that point and are moving beyond it.


The next stage of SHTF is collapse. Societies along with their life support systems suffer abrupt failures after the long term ‘slippery slope’ decline of its culture, its civil institutions or other major characteristics of it as a society, eventually and suddenly collapsing after triggering or passing a tipping point when they fall off the cliff, so to speak. There is no turning back. Factors that may combine and contribute to collapse are economic, social and cultural, overpopulation, resource depletion, or major natural or man-made disaster including war or invasion.

During collapse, and for a time, power becomes decentralized and people tend to be more self-regimented and have many more personal freedoms with a slackening of social rules, although what’s left of society as a whole is suffering chaos. Geographically speaking, communities become more isolated.

Lock Down

The third stage of SHTF is lock down, a state of containment or a restriction of progression to prevent people or information from escaping. It is ordered by someone in command and implemented by force. Martial law or takeover imposed on an unstable population. It accompanies curfews, the suspension of civil law, and civil rights. This final stage can be the most dangerous in that it will encompass a time of either total compliance or civil war, or a mixture of both.


Preparing for, and functioning under each of the three stages of SHTF involves different methods, choices, and behavior. While we are most definitely in Stage 1, the slippery slope, many people instinctively know that we are not far from Stage 2, collapse. It may benefit you to consider each of these three stages and form a plan how to prepare and survive through each of them.

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