SHTF – What Exactly Does It Mean?

If you keep hearing about SHTF these days and wonder what it means, it refers to a major event throwing the country into turmoil. SHTF actually stands for “Shit Hits The Fan” and could be an economic collapse or a terror attack that results in civil unrest and chaos. Although it is becoming popular for some people to speculate about the year 2012 signifying the “end of the Mayan calendar” and therefore the end of the world, few people really think of the end of the world when talking about SHTF. Here are a few scenarios that “Preppers” (those who stock food and other supplies to be prepared for a disaster – natural or manmade) and “Survivalists” (more “hardcore Preppers” focused on defending themselves) are thinking about when using the term SHTF:

EMP – This stands for Electro-Magnetic Pulse and is the result of a nuclear warhead being detonated many miles above the ground. The purpose of such a nuclear attack is not to kill people through blast or radiation, as the burst is more than 100 miles up, but rather to take advantage of the extreme burst of electro-magnetic energy that is created with a nuclear explosion. At high altitudes, a nuclear explosion’s electro-magnetic energy will ‘ride’ along the lines of the earth’s own magnetic field and destroy the power grid and most electronic circuits from horizon to horizon. This is a bloodless way for an enemy to plunge America into darkness, and it would take decades to rebuild all the electrical infrastructure. Think of not having electricity for years. All cell phones would be useless and the circuitry in your vehicle would be ruined. This is almost a doomsday scenario, as Americans would have no gas, water or food deliveries.

CME – This refers to a “Coronal Mass Ejection,” which is a natural electro-magnetic discharge from the sun. These happen all the time, and are usually harmless, but the intensity rises and falls in cycles. In the years 2012 to 2015, the CME activity is going to be especially intense and many fear that our power grid could be knocked out, just as if a nuclear EMP attack occurred.

Civil Unrest – Most every week we can see riots on the news, and they are nothing new in the world. However, the fear that our social-welfare state, with over 44 million Americans on food stamps, is teetering on the precipice of insolvency. If foreign governments decide not to continue to finance America’s spending by buying our debt, the Treasury will run out of money and the only answer will be to print more of it. Money printing leads to hyperinflation and very quickly, the value of peoples’ life savings evaporates. When people lose everything and their government checks buy less and less food, they take to the streets.

The three scenarios listed above are just the most common events that are thought of by people who use the term “SHTF.” There are many more, with varying degrees of probability. However certain one of these is, there is always a possibility that you may lose power or water or your income, or be forced to evacuate your home due to a natural disaster. The wisest thing to do is to be prepared no matter what happens.

For the specific plans about being prepared, you can go to a ‘nuts and bolts’ regular guy Prepper YouTube channel at

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