If SHTF, 38% Chance You Will Be At Work

You probably spend about 38 percent of your time while at work, along with the typical commute. Assuming that you’re not retired. So if you’re one of the preparedness-minded (prepper lifestyle), you really should consider “what if” SHTF while you’re at work…

You spend 29 percent of your lifetime sleeping, if you sleep 7 hours a night.

33 percent of your time you’re doing other things, at home, etc..

So, if a SHTF event were to occur, there might be a ~38% chance that you will be at work.

For preparedness sake, this is a significant statistic.

Preparedness For If The Balloon Goes Up While At Work

Don’t ignore preparedness /prepping for while at your work place. You might be at work if and when “it” happens.

What do I mean by SHTF?

It’s a common acronym for shit-hit-the-fan. And it generally refers to anything whereby your world is disrupted to a significant degree. The reference is bandied about within the preparedness /prepper community, although opinions vary as to the threshold of disruption /disaster to justify using the term. I’ll leave the interpretation up to you. Point being, you spend a lot of time away from home, at work, and you ought to consider that for contingency planning.

If you are caught away from home in a SHTF situation the first 12 hours will be the most critical in developing a plan, gathering any additional supplies and getting away from populated areas. Once the reality of the situation sets in, the panic will begin and the unpredictability of normally rational people will skyrocket.

~ Romeo Charlie

I was at work when 9/11 happened. At that time I thought SHTF was starting. The boss decided to close for the day. I had my EDC in the car so I filled my water bottle at the water cooler. I remember my fellow workers standing around looking at me in shock not knowing what to do. Fortunately it wasn’t TEOTWAWKI.

~ said someone on the blog

Things you can do…

One of the most effective ways that you can prep for this is by having adequate kit/supplies in your vehicle (assuming that you drive to work). Your vehicle will be your storage location for whatever tangible assets that you decide to include in your contingency plans. A place for supplies, gear, food, water, etc..

If you don’t commute by way of your own vehicle, it will be even more important to supply yourself at the workplace itself, as well as considering your every-day-carry (on your person, a shoulder bag, briefcase, etc..).

As is the case for most tangible preparedness supply choices, you’re looking at the basics first. Like water and food. You’re at work. So there’s technically shelter. Maybe the power is out. Perhaps a flashlight. It’s part of my EDC on my keychain (I use this Olight 90 Lumen tiny flashlight) (amzn).

Your primary mission (if SHTF at work) will likely be to get home. If your vehicle is operational and the roads are passable, great. You will probably have little problem, at least if you ‘get out of dodge’ quickly enough. But what if you can’t (for whatever reason – it may impede driving home)?

A bag to carry your supplies which will help you get there if you have to hoof it?

Is it do-able to carry a folding bike in the trunk?

Walking shoes or hiking boots. Comfortable appropriate footwear in case you have to walk a great distance.

Are you always wearing appropriate seasonal outerwear when you go to work during the winter? People go from their heated homes to their heated cars to their heated workplace. As a result, the right seasonal gear might be overlooked… How many times have we seen lines of stranded vehicles on the highway in a snowstorm? Think about that.

A huge snowstorm came in one year and I called the boss and said we gotta go. She balked, but we left. She stayed. I got a call that night from her stating it took her 7 hrs. to make 20 miles. She said she’d never not listen again.

~ Matt in Oklahoma

Things to help keep warm. Blankets. Ways to start a fire.

[ Read: Fire Starting Kit List ]

Got a desk at work? Or a personal space, a locker, other? Why not use one of the drawers for emergency supplies. Like a bunch of Food Bars for quick food, for example.

[ Read: The CLIF Bar Energy Food Bar For Survival Kit ]

Keep several water bottles in there too. Is there a First Aid Kit there at work? Workplace buildings can get real dark if the power goes out. I consider a flashlight a must have too.

A change of clothes might be good – depending on your normal work attire.

From time to time I go through my truck and adjust what I keep in there for preparedness /prepping supplies. You should too!

Think about SHTF in the context of being at work. Maybe you’ll need to hunker down there for awhile (as opposed to immediately hoofing it back home). Maybe that will cause you to adjust your supplies.

Re-evaluate what you have, and make adjustments accordingly.

While those of you who are preparedness-minded probably have a decent supply of various preps at home, the point here is not to neglect your workplace. Especially since you spend so much time there, assuming you’re not already retired.

What else?

[ Read: Survival Gear For Preparedness | What You Need And Why ]

[ Read: Winter Survival Gear To Keep In Your Car ]


  1. Just got a diamondback for my truck, so now i can add a few more items to my emergency truck stash,
    Thanks for the reminder, bolt cutters and a cordless grinder with cut off wheels is part of that kit

  2. If you have stuff in a locker/desk at work and you are not there (and not likely to go back) you may as well call someone at work and let them know what is available. There was a round-the-clock operation where I worked so someone was always there. If you are at work and know someone at home who may have a cache at work, call and ask to get into it.

  3. Over the years to include 9/1/2001, if I was at work and my place of work was not the epicenter of disaster, I stayed at work and did my job as usual. Later on, I watched the news to see the freeways and roads get clogged with people panic driving to home or the store to get something or to get more of whatever. From my days driving patrol cars and ambulances, I give it a few minutes to scan and assess the situation before acting. By acting instead of reacting I try to remain part of the solution rather than becoming another sheeple clogging the roadways and supermarket adding to the problem. I know my family may need me butt I work at a hospital and the folks there need me too. Back when I was in People’s Republic of Kalifornia, hospitals needed staff who were there to do the job without panic. Many staff and patients were having anxiety reactions and doing the WITOID RICSAS. (When in trouble or in doubt. Run in circles, scream and shout.) The only cure for this condition seems to be either valium or other benzodiazepine or the person runs into a wall while running in circles. If people are going to be doing the WITOID RICSAS both in and outside of the hospital, I’ll stay in the hospital where people do not have access to motor vehicles. A person operating on blind panic behind the wheel of a functional automobile can be a dangerous thing.

    1. You are one of the few that would stay at the hospital and I would hope others would be of the same mind set. I have heard of the run in circles scream and shout syndrome but never the acronym. : )

      Wish there were more like you!

  4. hunkering down at work depends on the situation. all situations are different whether it be natural disasters or man made.
    you may have to stay until the coast is clear, but get out of dodge ASAP before everyone else tries to make a run for it. be the first one out if possible before the roads get clogged with those who have no gas in their tanks.
    think about the possible scenarios that could happen in your area.
    for instance, if a person lives in a earthquake zone, plan for different routes home as overhead hwy’s and bridges may be out. scout routes out of the large cities beforehand and drive them, it will give you a heads up about on what to expect on the roads in certain areas. you don’t want to find out after something happens that the route you chose on the map run’s through the ghettos.

  5. Comms, I know… enough already, but still. If you’re at work and the phones don’t work, what then? Where’s your wife, kids, school? It is so reasonably cheap to have back-up comms. Those little baofengs ($30) and a plan, can save a LOT of problems. Tiny little radios that pack a surprising punch. Comms can save you a lot of steps in gathering what ya need. Rather than trying to walk/drive to several different locations, why not talk with your loved ones and deal with problems more efficiently? Still there? Walking home? Meet ya where?

    To me, it’s an easy question with an easy solution. I can still see, in my minds eye, thousands of New Yorkers walking away from the twin towers. Every one of them was thinking/searching for a way to connect with loved ones. You saw it too. A mass exodus from turmoil into somewhere better? This is a great prepper site. Each of us is in a distinct situation. If ya think it through, ya won’t ignore this easy solution.

    1. Comms for sure… I always keep a pair of Baofeng BF-F8HP handheld radios in my truck. I have them programmed for all FRS/GMRS channels, and other frequencies, some of which are local EMS, Fire, PD (although most Police are digital these days – a few analog freqs remain in my rural locality), and, a ‘secret’ frequency not being used in my region that no one would hear – unless scanning unused VHF freqs outside the normal usage ranges or known channels – unlikely.

      [ Read: Best Baofeng Antennas ]

      1. Ken J.
        those antenna’s are a steal at 20 bucks. i gave 40 a piece for some 2 years ago.

      2. Ken,

        I saved an article from American Partisan website “Don Shift sends 10 lessons on radio usage for SHTF from the Chechen wars”.

        I picked up some interesting and useful tips on evading being monitored.

    2. Plainsmedic,
      i got my start in ham with the 5 watt baofengs, i really love them for close in comm’s, tons of channel options. like you and others have said, it’s all about the antenna’s. we are in a fairly flat area with a few hills and lot’s of trees and with the standard hand held type antenna’s we can get about 2 miles, i can string up some slim jim antenna’s and get about 10 miles. the hand held yagi’s don’t work so well because of the tree’s i think. i have to have elevation in my area.
      we have never tried to test them in urban areas because we just don’t go there, but i would think buildings, power lines and such would be a problem in a urban setting. again, we have never tried it. they may work.
      i have a 80 watt 2 meter and a 20-80 meter HF with good antenna’s at home, but i can’t tote em in my pocket. : )

  6. If folks will play with the radios, whatever ya have, you’ll learn the limits. There are ways to improve the performance of every radio/antenna. Every situation will be different and require it’s own solution. Sometimes it’s as simple as going to a higher floor or the roof. Not too difficult to walk-up on top of that nearby hill.

    Challenging times are ahead. Anything you can do to help your situation will pay off BIG TIME. Or just hope for the best.

    1. Plainsmedic,
      the best i can understand is that 2meter and GMRS type of comms are line of site. urban areas could possibly be a real challenge.

  7. I guess this is one big advantage of working from home 4 out of 5 days per week. The odds of the balloon going up while you are away from home are drastically reduced. Although my office is only 8 miles away from my house with several back road travel options, so worst case I could sneaker power my way home in a few hours.

    1. My brother is a stay at home worker.
      If he has any inclination of S going down, he’ll call my cell, if possible.
      I’ve always thought, what if, at work.
      I’ve packed and carried my bike in the vehicle for years. Foot operated air pump. Snacks, water, comfey shoes if the walk is needed. Appropriate clothing. Protection.
      Always carry my meds

      Car pool?
      My life may depend on not doing it.

      There will only be an open, limited time frame to bust ass for home.
      That’s where I’m needed and wanna be.

  8. My commute is around 12 miles by road, 10 as the crow flies. I need to pass under or over two Interstate highways and cross four RR tracks if taking surface streets to avoid the freeway. The 94 earthquake showed me how that infrastructure can be deleted in a fraction of a second, so I have a big pack, extra clothes, water, etc. In SHTF my strategy is to wait for darkness because the sun out here will kill me in less than a mile on foot. Worst case situation, I could hike home overnight. Tell ya what… 1994 through 2019 I travelled extensively for work, I really enjoyed it, but I would be losing my mind right now were I thousands of miles from home.

    1. TMAC same here all three vehicles have well stocked bugout/get home pack, even when traveling with friends a small unobtrusive pack is brought along. retired long ago, so now travel when I feel the odds are in my favor, avoid cities, events like the plague. No longer have to feel at the mercy of long extensive trips by plane or train where I could not have my bugout bag with me whatever happens I have a greater chance of taking care of myself. Hope everyone here is doing similar planing.

  9. I keep my EDC rapped with a black blanket with two black bungy cords to kept it in the fare back corner of my trunk that is also lined with black carpet, you can hardly see it.

  10. Would the radios be taken out by an EMP?
    We bring our bug out bags in the house with us. We don’t go anywhere that smash and grab is occurring (yet). The bag has food toilet paper, straws, water, five in one knife, compass, a little camping stove, metal cups attached to the outside of the bag (we just say we camp)., a rope, tarp and pins. There are energy bars. We have enough to get by for two or three days, for two people. Our Mountain house packets could last an extra day, if we were careful. We always have walking shoes . Oh, and we have big light weight rain parkas and those thin shinny sleeping bags.

    1. Ariel,
      EMP? Yes, it could lay waste to your little baofeng. There are ways to protect them; faraday cage is the most popular, emp bags are another. The emp-proof bags are light weight and fit nicely in your BOB.

      1. Do they make really small ones? We have one for our Generator. I just remembered that we bought a few we have not used. That does little good and is not very smart. I put one radio and a cell phone in an old microwave, then inside a metal garbage can, inside a cardboard box. It is sealed with metallic tape. I wondered if a serious of small mylar bags would do any good, in a small exposure situation. You can’t protect everything, but many things will be useless, even if they are protected. They will just be ready to use once things are fixed again.

        1. Ariel,
          Yes, they make small emp-proof bags. Some folks use them for cell phones. I utilize popcorn tins, lined with cardboard. Not handy for a BOB, so I’d look into small emp bags. The little baofeng radios, I have several of them. Think the size of your first cell phone. Really small, but a little thick.

          The popcorn tins work very well for my bigger radios. I get on-the-air several times a week. Even still, I always put the radio back into faraday. Takes less than one minute to hook it up, so having it protected is important to me. Back-up comms is the whole reason I got into ham in the first place. Good luck.

  11. Workplaces can be a rich source of Get Back Home supplies. Raid the snack and drinks machine. Get that last hot drink. You want to leave well fed, fully hydrated, having used the toilet.
    There is a first aid box, large scissors, box knife, packing tape, broom handles, flashlights, batteries . Goods in and out have rolls of strong, 1-2mm insulating packing foam that can be made into temp tarps, groundsheets, blankets, ponchos, tabards. Note the resources to snaffle when you need to make a swift exit.
    Note any bike shops nearby. They will sell out within the hour.

  12. My wife and I are both retired and are here on the place probably 80% of the time. The other 20% is mostly still local although we do travel to see family out of state several times a year. Always bothers me being several hundred miles away from home and something big happening, especially now. I keep a lot of gear in my truck, but due to fuel prices these days often drive my wife’s car for the lots better MPG. I stuff as much as I can in the car along with the luggage – flashlight, knives, sat. phone, defensive means, at least one GHB. Since the travel distance is within one tank of fuel, I always fill up once I arrive so I have enough fuel to return home without having to stop. In addition, I plan for alternate routes home should the main route have issues.

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