What Would TSHTF Really Be Like?

Survivalists and preppers love to theorize about what it could be like when the wheels finally do fall off and all Hell breaks loose. We talk endlessly about what barter items will have value, how we’ll go about obtaining food and medical supplies. Some of us look toward historical accounts of what life was like during the Great Depression for some insight. But, that was quite some time ago and, let’s face it, I think we can agree that those who lived through the Depression were cut from a different cloth than folks today.

Today’s email brought me a link to this article posted on SHTFPlan.com. The gist is there is an individual going by the name of Selco on a survivalist message board. He lived through the Bosnia collapse in 1992 and was gracious enough to share his experiences of surviving through utter chaos. While English is not his primary language, he gets his point across fairly well. Selco writes:

I am from Bosnia, and as some of you may know it was hell here from 92-95, anyway, for 1 whole year i lived and survived in a city of 50 000- 60 000 residents WITHOUT: electricity, fuel,running water,real food distribution, or distribution of any goods, or any kind of organized law or government.The city was surrounded for 1 year and in that city actually it was SHTF situation.

I would encourage all of you to take the time to read through this lengthy article. I personally found it very interesting and informative.

Here are a few of the high points:

1) He stresses several times the importance of hygiene. This is something we’ve discussed here on the blog several times. Being able to keep reasonably clean prevents illness and infection. During a total collapse, things like diarrhea can kill.

2) When you are relying upon wood fires to keep warm and do all your cooking, firewood goes quickly. It didn’t take long for Selco and his family to resort to burning furniture and even planks from wood floors.

3) Having a good skill can keep your belly full. He talks about a friend who had come up with a way to produce oil for makeshift lamps. Selco also mentions he had devised a way to refill butane lighters, which became very valuable.

4) Alcohol and ammunition were among the most valuable trade commodities available. Personally, I’m still on the fence about the idea of trading bullets to someone I don’t know. Salt, something that many of us are stocking up for possible barter, had much less value than coffee or alcohol.

5) You can never have too much ammunition.

6) He stresses several times how important it is to have family to rely upon during the collapse. A single person won’t last long.

One last thing he said that really made an impact to me:

You don’t want to be hero, you want to survive with your family.

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Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for SurvivalWeekly.com. He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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