Long Term Survival After TSHTF

Survival preparedness starts with the basics, the things you hear or read about all the time in this niche… stock up on food, water, ‘bullets-beans-and-band-aids’. All of these basic survival provisions (and many others) are indeed essential if planning to stand a reasonable chance of surviving a longer term major disaster. But what about when much of your supplies (particularly food) are running out? After all, your supplies won’t last forever.

Most people believe that the odds are quite low or insignificant of being thrown into a disaster of great magnitude – large enough such that the results of which would actually and truly become apocalyptic. We have not experienced it in our lifetime, so it is not conceivable. Most are absolutely convinced that it either could never happen, or if it did… that somehow it would be ‘fixed’ quickly enough to suffer little. The fact is, the very fact that most people think this way, is the very thing that could bring it on. We rely totally on our mostly invisible systems of supply-chain and distribution. If these systems break (which would never happen, right?), then the S will HTF.

It is true that a disaster of sufficient magnitude to bring on a worst-case-scenario, is less likely to occur than otherwise, the odds are not zero. A black swan event could turn our world upside-down in an instant. So having said that, what are some of the issues we would have to face given a worst case scenario where we would somehow need to survive without our existing working infrastructure for a period of time beyond say, 3 months?

Even well before 3 months, the majority of people will have run out of food. In fact, the majority of the population (since most people live in cities or suburbia surrounding those cities) will run out of food in a few weeks or less. Grocery stores could theoretically be cleaned out in 3 days due to their current ‘just in time’ supply chain. But for the sake of considering the issues of long term survival (after most people’s canned foods, etc. runs out), how will these same people keep themselves alive?


The primary issues as I see them are Water, Food, Security, Trade.

By the way, three interesting thought-provoking good reads about this subject are the books, One Second After, Lights Out, and Patriots. They are novels based in reality. It really gets you to think about these issues. I highly recommend them to anyone who is interested in this subject.

Most of us know that we cannot live without water for very long at all. We take it for granted. It ALWAYS comes out of our faucet. When the day (days, weeks, months) that it doesn’t, this will be the most significant of all shortages and will bring on the most deaths the soonest. Lack of water. The cities of millions upon millions of people will become desperate within days following the last drip of water from their faucets. No water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, flushing the toilets… yes it will be bad. Very bad.

What will be the long term solution? If you live in the city, you will NOT survive unless you get out and find a safer place with water. If you live in suburbia, UNLESS you have well water (most in suburbia do not) and UNLESS you live next to a clean source of water (stream, river, lake), you will NOT survive long term unless you find a safer place with water. Many parts of America will be okay in this regard as their are plenty of regions with regular rainfall and bodies of water. However there are also many parts where this is not the case (you know who you are).

How many preppers have 6 months of stored food or more? Probably a lot less than those who may have 3 months or less. What will these people do when the reality of the collapse sets in, that it may go on for a time well beyond your food reserves? Again, those in the cities will already have have been ‘thinned out’ due to lack of water, but for those who have survived elsewhere, what is the plan?

It will be very difficult for most people to successfully grow, manage, and preserve enough of their own food to survive a very long time. Success will be had in numbers, and teaming up with those who have experience in this area. Contrary to what many people believe, we can survive without meat and livestock – so growing a diversified field of vegetables (and those which are high in protein) can keep you alive. You may not like it, but you will survive. Sources of meat will rapidly be depleted as most big Corp livestock will die due to lack of food and water. What wild animals remain in the forests will be rapidly depleted from hunting. There will be those who know how to raise and manage their own livestock, and this will be the main source for implementing meat into the diet, assuming that these people have adequate security.

Which brings up security… Once we hit ‘long term’, those without adequate security will NOT make it. Very desperate people will do very desperate things, and you WILL become a victim during very desperate times. UNLESS… you have adequate security. Again, read the books that I mentioned above, and you will understand.

If we enter the phase of collapse which we may call ‘long term’, people that have survived until then will need to be banded together in sufficient forces to repel others who WILL try to take what you have. When it comes to desperate survival, and when you realize that you could die unless you get what you need, your survival instinct will kick in big time. This is when things get very dangerous. The sad and hard truth is, you will be forced to make serious decisions, the consequences of which will be life or death. It’s not easy to contemplate or not a pleasant thought to consider, but the fact is ‘IF’ we enter ‘long term’, then we WILL be faced with these decisions.

Security in numbers. To protect a group of families, a neighborhood, etc., you will need enough people to share in the responsibilities of controlling the perimeter of your geographical space. And it should go without saying… you will need weapons and ammo. The methods chosen and the products used are open to infinite debate. But the hard cold fact is that you will need them.

Once your group is secured with water, food, and security, it’s just like ages gone by… in order to progress from there you will need to trade and barter. The very basics of trading require that you have ‘stuff’ or skills to trade in the first place. The larger the group (community), the more ‘stuff’ and power you will have to get the things you need to begin to bring your lives and comfort level up a notch. It will be community rebuilding – starting over – the great reset.

Eventually, after the initial die-off, people will have mostly reformed and reshaped their groups and communities, and everyone will sort-of know the new rules. That is, they will have learned how to survive or how to co-operate with others to barter and trade what they need without resorting to desperate violence. The beginning stages of ‘long term’ will be when most of the violence will occur in my opinion because you will have ‘idiots’ who are too dumb to realize that human interaction and co-operation is the only way to rebuild and survive. Once they are mostly ‘gone’, things will settle down.

That’s basically how I see it regarding if we ever are unfortunate enough to have to truly face an apocalyptic ‘long term’ survival in a collapsed modern world. Volumes could be written on the details (and has been written in many books and blogs), but simply understanding the fundamental ‘what if’ and understanding and having solutions for the basic necessity for water, food, and security before one can even begin to consider trade and barter… is what you need to know.


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  1. Excellent Article. Much food for thought.

    Today Europe financial crisis is beginning to effect America’s financial security because the large American banks were involved in the RISK sharing that we call TOXIC Derivatives today. In the past China was used as a resource from which to borrow money to service America’s debt. Recently China’s exports have declined and their national bank has lowered the interest rate for businesses to borrow money to further feed the China economy.

    What I see happening is Europe and America are starting to slide toward a depression that Greece is now experiencing. How long do we have? No one knows. Maybe a year until we are like Greece – maybe sooner.

    This article begins to take on a whole new meaning now doesn’t it?
    Pray, Plan and Prepare.

  2. A whole new meaning indeed.
    If it gets to the point of any of the books reccommended,it will be too late for most.
    I can not forget, as much as I desire to, the fact the no grid means the meltdown of the over 450 nuclear power plants world wide, not counting the nuclear research centers at many universities, or the millions of pounds of toxic buried waste that all need protected, monitored and cooled. Who do you think is going to run to them instead of their families if/when the big s*** dump happens?
    I personally do not want that kind of slow death.
    However in the mean while – my city has a community outreach garden patch in every neighborhood along with monthly meetings that include emergency preparedness and creeks, streams, and rivers running everywhere!
    I will enjoy and keep pretending that all I do, can make difference, if not for me, than maybe my grandchildren.

    1. Hmmm, not sure why the gubment doofi would even want to survive. Because, what do you spose will happen to them if they ever stick their noses out of their shelters? If the S that HTF is their fault?

      1. @Tammy.

        I’m going to guess that they will do this (bullchit at its highest form) for public service, like collecting taxes, food, and perhaps “you” for the greater good. I’m also going to guess that their families are part of the deal.

        Be well.

  3. PS to my last post:
    Nuclear power plants are much more dangerous than Nuclear Bombs.
    If that were not true they would be living in Chernobyl or not living in Hiroshima and Nagosaki. The isotopes are different and last thousands of years longer…

  4. gubment doofi!
    Love it!
    (Plus all shelters have to have an air intake from somewhere…)

  5. I also had to chuckle at the point in this article where it says, “Again, those in the cities will already have have been ‘thinned out’ due to lack of water, but for those who have survived elsewhere, what is the plan?”
    Immediately after that there’s the advertisement for the Home Door Stop Alarm… Good plan…LOL!

  6. Interesting article as well as comments. I agree with the author in that when the food runs out, there will certainly be individuals who form groups of thugs to seek out and loot those who are prepared and stocked. It would be a simple matter to lay siege to a family of preppers long enough for them to make a mistake or long enough to gather enough additional thugs to overrun them.

    This is my greatest fear actually.

    It may not matter how many guns you have if there are enough raiders to outlast you. While we do have a confederation of sorts, we’re not nearly organized enough.

  7. I dunno, but I think that if there were a doofi hole nearby and I just spent a year in misery trying to survive because of their BS, I might be waiting at the entrance to their hole to ‘speak’ to them when they come out.

  8. I have never seen any discussion on what to do about all the dead bodies that will be everywhere during this survival period. It will be in the tens of millions before everything settles down. Is this too morbid to discuss?

    1. In “One Second After” they bury them at a local golf course where the ground is soft, the recently deceased locals that is. Then again, it may not be safe to go outside for quite some time if there’s radiation or biological threats in the environment. It’s a detail (bridge) to be crossed when the time comes (hopefully not).

  9. The primary difference I notice between times of peace versus times of discord is that in times of peace, the norm is for children to bury their parents. In times of discord, parents are burying their children. I hope this doesn’t happen within the Con US anytime soon.

    But, this does not mean that I/we do not prepare.

    To preveiw what may happen in the end of the world scenario, I talked to Nurses Aides that I work with. Many refugees that arrive in the US get entry level jobs within a variety of industries. In health-care, they frequently become Nurses Aides. Years ago, we had a large influx of people coming from Nicaragua and Central America. After that, we began seeing a large influx of people coming from Central/East Africa. Both of these populations came during or after their home countries went through a civil war.

    These people are the ones who have already seen their cities go dark, faucets run dry, schools and churches get bombed, empty store shelves and other signs of a world in turmoil. At some point, the ones I talked to said to themselves: “Screw this! I’m getting outta here!” The ones who made it here and may be taking care of your grandma or grandpa consider themselves to be the lucky ones because they remember the ones that were left behind or were killed in a government artillery barrage or a “militia group” on a killing spree.

    Today these events are happening in Syria and I anticipate seeing an influx of Nurses Aides coming from the middle east arriving in the local Nursing Homes some day soon. Other occupations which hire Fresh Off The Boat type refugees include:ethnic restaurants, food service industries, janitorial work etc.

    There is a common theme here: These people who have been through a certain amount of hell are now doing the jobs within the US that native born Americans are not willing to do. If you know of one at your place of work or within your neighborhood, Shake hands with them, buy them lunch and, if they let you, ask them some questions about how they survived. I am willing to bet you will hear some new and interesting stuff as I did. Survive well to all on this blog.

  10. On a historical note, Go online and read about the siege against Stalingrad during WW 2. All the points made in this article were done by those who survived the winter in Stalingrad when the German Army occupied the city.

    Essentially, the entire population of the city was mobilized against the occupation force. Everybody had a job and you worked at it or you did not eat. This is where Russian Sniper Vasily Zaitsev made his mark on Russian History and the lines were held until the Red Army could regroup and counter attack.

    It is an ugly story but so is the worse-case scenario being brought up in this article.

  11. Folks, don’t you realize that today, now, people will kill you for a pair of shoes? If TSHIF do you really WANT to advertise what your “selling”? Me personally I’m OUT! I will come in NO contact with groups that COULD be a front to lure you in as a “batter system”. I will defend my perimeter with whatever means necessary and have adequate scouts reporting back with activities in my perimeter. If survivors are found, I will monitor there movements, and watch there daily activities. Later my group can decide what course of action to take. Always consider that YOUR being watched also. Don’t advertise weapons, food or water. Keep very little at camp and hide what you have and only go to those locations under the fall of night. Survival brings out the very basic form of life. You will do what is necessary to survive… you may not LIKE what you have to do but if “push come to shove”, your survival over theirs…One more thing about this article that is something you want to think about and that “idiots” you speak of. These people are gangbangers, ex cons, street people etc. And YES they will shoot you and TAKE what you have! They already have you outnumbered and out gunned. The police cannot do anything NOW about them if TSHTF how are they going to stop MOBS? Be real! And you talk about “trading’ with these “groups” You call them by any name and it means trouble. Me personally I have been killing animals and eating them my whole life. Only difference to me is I wont eat THEM! If your in a city good luck because the VERY DAY that city loses power it is ON! People will panic and ” hit the stores” and buy up everything, happens here in Chattanooga every time a storm comes though. You do what you want. My group is complied of friends that know what I know and can survive. We will live as a group and we WILL do what is necessary to survive. I do want to put up a warning: Don’t approach camps! If it is my camp you might get shot!

  12. To actually survive what is coming to America, it is necessary to actually make a commitment to find a rural location where survival is possible, hooking up with others who have the same goals, and, going with them to your location, preparing for your needs when the government does not come through with food as yours runs out. You need farmers who know how to grow food amongst natural pests, military trained people with good firearms to protect your site and perform recon for your site. Your site must have sanitation as well as shelter for everyone and…in short requires a lot of planning… this is not something you can throw together after TSHTF.

    Think People.. we live in a bad world and only those who are willing now to to sacrifice now… will sacrifice THEN. And then is so close as to scare me to death.

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