Staying Home During SHTF ( Can You? )

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As any person with common sense, you probably asked yourself if staying at home during an SHTF event is viable. Not everybody is comfortable with the idea of bugging out, some can’t bug out due to their circumstances, like having an illness in the family in which case bugging out is no longer an option. We as people tend to feel safe in familiar surroundings such as our homes and neighborhood, this can give us a sense of security but in some SHT scenarios, it could be fatal.

Staying at home during SHTF is a viable option for a lot of people but it depends on the kind of SHTF situation and how much supplies you have. During certain SHTF situations, it is safer to bug out rather than staying at home, although you will have to judge the situation carefully. Both staying at home during an SHTF and bugging out have their pros and cons.

No matter what kind of SHTF event you are facing you will need ample supplies of water, water will be your main concern during any SHTF scenario. Having the ability to get additional freshwater will be vital as to how long you can stay at home during the SHTF. My personal recommendation is to get a water filtration system that doesn’t need electricity and uses gravity instead for pumping and purifying water Click here to check it out on

No matter what kind of SHTF event will occur there will be people that choose to bug out and some will stay at home waiting for emergency personnel to rescue them. What most people will have in common is that they will lack any basic food and water supplies if you are not a prepper and if you live in a disaster-prone area take a look in your kitchen as for how long would you be able to live off your current supplies.

For more in-depth information about Prepping Click here to check out my recent guide

Depending on how big the SHTF event is and no matter if you decide to stay at home or bug out you will still need a lot of supplies, although staying at home will give you the ability to store much more food and water than if you are bugging out. Most people who are prepared for bugging out are rather ill-prepared, having food and water for 3 days is better than nothing but they rely on the notion that they will be safe after 3 days, but what if they are not.

Prepping is all about self-reliance if your bug out plan only consists of food and water lasting for a couple of days till you make it to safety you will put yourself in danger if you rely on others for food and safety. The SHTF scenario doesn’t even have to be nationwide or global, as you have seen during the hurricane Katrina event, it took the US government over a week to get fresh water to the survivors.

The average person can survive for approx 3 days without water, and it took over a week for the richest and most powerful country in the world to deliver water to these people. You might say that there was plenty of water to come by as after the hurricane hit there were massive floods, but this water is not safe to drink as it is contaminated with sewage, human waste, and decaying corpses. No matter how many water purification tablets they had these will run out after a time, especially if you have a larger family. If you want to know what are the signs that you should bug out then check out my recent article How to know when to bug out ( Top Signs ).

Staying Home During SHTF

Staying home during a SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) scenario is a strategy embraced by many preppers and survivalists. The idea is to hunker down and secure your own residence as a safe haven rather than venturing out into the unknown. By staying home, you have the advantage of familiarity with your surroundings, access to your stockpile of supplies, and the ability to fortify and defend your property. You can establish a routine, conserve resources, and maintain a level of comfort and stability that may be lacking outside. However, staying home during a SHTF event also comes with its challenges. You must be self-sufficient, relying on your preparedness plans and resources.

You’ll need to ensure your home is well-stocked with food, water, medical supplies, and other essentials. Security measures, such as fortifying doors and windows, establishing a communication plan, and staying vigilant, are crucial. Additionally, having contingency plans for power outages, water shortages, and other potential disruptions is essential.

Dangers Of Staying At Home During An SHTF

As in the case of bugging out, there are dangers to staying at home also. While the idea of hunkering down in your own house till the rescue personnel arrives or the SHTF event passes is a viable option this will also cause several problems. Your biggest threat will be other people when SHTF most people will not be prepared for it, they might try to wait it out with the limited amount of supplies but this won’t last forever.

Time Is Against You

Depending on the scale of the SHTF event one of the major risk factors of staying at home during an SHTF is time. You can store a lot more food and water than if you are bugging out but you have to keep in mind that these will eventually run out. We have grown accustomed to a wasteful life but once an SHTF event happens you can no longer do that, although most people will probably waste at least some of their food thinking that they have plenty of food for a good amount of time.

The longer you have to stay at your home the higher the risk will be, this is even riskier if you live in a densely populated area, as a lot of people will compete for a limited number of resources. If the SHTF event will take longer to end than you have predicted you might find yourself being forced to bug out, and as you have been “hiding” in your house since the event started you probably won’t have a clue what is out there and how dangerous it even might be.

At some point, you will have to make a decision, either stay put with the rest of your supplies and hope that the SHTF passes soon. Or pack up what is left of your supplies and hit the road to an uncertain location. This is why my recommendation is to always have 2 plans, one for bugging out and one for staying at home, each of these should have their separate stockpiles of food and water. If you want to stay at home during an SHTF then you will most likely store a lot of grains, for more information check out my recent article How to store grains long term at home ( Best Practices ).


In an event where there is no more rule of law, looters will eventually pop up. There is nothing to prevent this from happening as what holds a city together is the rule of law, even with the rule of law, there are some people who just ignore it no matter how harsh the punishment for their actions may be. These people are career criminals, most of them have been in and out of jail all of their lives.

Career criminals will probably be the first looters, stealing valuable electronic devices. Once other people see this in action the fear of losing out on all the loot might take hold of them and thus the herd mentality begins. As looters will begin to realize that their prized loot of electronic devices is worthless as nobody is buying them, they will shift their goals to acquiring items that will help them to survive longer, such as food and water.

Once they start targeting other people’s homes that were abandoned due to the SHTF event, they will realize that the people who have ample amounts of supplies are staying at home. This will make you a prime target for the looters. As these people are familiar with getting what they want without working for it they will either scare you into giving them all your supplies which could end up badly in the long run for you and your family.

Or you might decide to fight them, not such a good idea as these people are familiar with violence, and in most cases, there will be a lot of looters joining forces together. You with your family will have no chance, even if you could hold out the looters they will probably set your house on fire just to flush you out. You might think they wouldn’t do that as it would destroy the supplies but that is not their focus anymore.

If you fight back they will consider you a threat, their main goal is to eliminate the threat, and getting hold of your supplies is just a bonus for them. If they can’t it doesn’t really matter for them as there are probably more people sitting on top of their supplies at home. If you are setting up a pantry for emergency situations then check out my recent article Longest lasting canned foods ( Up to 30+ years ).

Limited Food And Water

How much food and water you have will be the main factor that will dictate how long you can stay at your home. These will eventually run out and you will need to have a plan for this scenario, bug out, or start scavenging and both of these options are risky. You will find it harder to store an ample supply of food and water if you live in a small apartment, in this case, you need to focus more on getting water as no matter what you do you can not change the size and weight of a water bottle and still have the same amount of water.

In this case, you should prioritize foods that are either dehydrated or in powdered form. Canned foods are a good idea but these occupy a lot more space than foods in powder form, while a can of beans can have around 1000 calories in around a 14 oz can, you can have double the calories in the same amount from powdered foods. If you are living on a farm or on a plot of land which isn’t in a densely populated area, staying at home during an SHTF will be a lot easier.

In this case, you probably have a basement also which is vital to store food and water properly, those extra degrees below room temperature will make your food last a lot longer. In addition to this, you can even grow some crops or forage and hunt in the surrounding area to make your supplies last even longer. While you will be still in danger of looters in a house in the countryside the risk factor is way lower than if you decide to wait it out in a city apartment. Staying at home during a tornado might be extremely dangerous, so you should know what are the signs of a tornado is near, for more information check out my recent article Signs a tornado is near ( Top 17 ).

Benefits Of Staying At Home During An SHTF Event

One of the major benefits of staying at home is that you are in a familiar location, possibly surrounded by like-minded people whose goal is the same as yours which is to survive. Although you can not rely even on your best neighbors when times get tough as once they run out of supplies guess who is going to come and visit. It is crucial that you do not let anybody know how much food and water you have if other people see that you are well off in hard times they will want a piece of your supplies if not all of it.

Safety At Home

If you decide to stay at home during an SHTF event, one major advantage is that you can fortify and secure your home. This will depend from home to home but you can make it either a concealed location or a fortified house. If you opt in to fortify your house and all of your neighborhood is seeing that you are just advertising that you have valuable supplies which you want to protect it could end up in a disaster.

However, if you practice OPSEC, don’t let anybody know you have supplies, and stay out of sight for most of the SHTF scenario it would decrease the risk factor a lot. In addition to this, depending on the size of your home, you can hide a lot of your supplies and maybe even create a small honeypot for looters to take. This way if the perimeter is breached and looters are demanding your supplies you give them the honeypot and they might leave thinking they got everything they could.

Although this will not work with career criminals and experienced looters as they have probably already come across honeypots in the past. In addition to this, you can also board up your house and lay low, not letting anybody see any activity from the house if the house looks abandoned looters will think it was already looted. Home security is easier for smaller apartments as you simply blend in with the other apartments in the area.

While some people decide to band together and fortify their home this is not always a good idea, only do this if you can rely on some nearby natural resources such as freshwater, crops, or wild game. In addition to this, you could also build a panic or safe room which is hidden and has its own air supply, this way you can stay in your house till your supplies last.

Logistical Advantage

One of the great benefits of staying at home during an SHTF is that you are in a familiar location, this means you probably know all the places from where you can get food, water, and medicine. You can probably think of a few places like this if you think about it but during an SHTF situation with no rule of law, there is a high probability that a lot of people are thinking of getting supplies from the same places which could lead up to get in conflict with other people.

You have to think outside the box, you can find food, water, and medicine in a lot of unconventional places like veterinarians’ offices, dog kennels, and pet stores where you can use antibiotics during an SHTF event. Also as you are in a familiar location you know how the local weather is and how cold the winter can get, if you have this information you can prepare accordingly for winter in advance. If you have ever wondered about how you can stockpile antibiotics, check out my article How to get antibiotics for prepping? ( Top 18 Sources ).

High Chance Of Being Rescued

Depending on how big the SHTF scenario is you have a better chance of surviving if you stay in your house. If you are lucky enough you can be found by a search and rescue team as these often comb inhabited areas to search for survivors before they go towards more remote locations. However there are certain scenarios where staying at home is not possible, in this case, try and stick to the roads the more as possible.

You Can Still Grow Crops And Tend To Your Livestock

If you decide to stay at home you know the longer you rely only on your supplies, the harder it will be once these will be gone. If you live in an area where there are farms and livestock you could raise and grow your own food at one point. If you are lucky and have several farms nearby you can also harvest their crops if the owners of the land have decided to bug out, this of course only applies in a no rule of law situation.

Staying Home During A Hurricane Or Tornado

Luckily the modern weather prediction system can give ample warning of how bad the hurricane or tornado can be. With this information you can make a decision if you either stay at home or not, usually governments will not let residents stay at home if the situation becomes dangerous and in this case, you should evacuate immediately. If you decide to evacuate too late might be a life and death situation already by that time.

Staying At Home During A Flood

Do not stay at home, no matter how many supplies you have. Floods are very powerful and your house or any other house is not built to withstand such forces as a flood. In addition to this, you will have no possibility to keep your supplies as the flood will either destroy them or contaminate them with floodwater. Luckily in case of floods rescue personnel are at the scene within hours, you can either seek safety in a tall concrete building or head for the hills.

Staying At Home During An Earthquake

Even to this day, there is no system available to give a fair warning when a big earthquake hits. The warnings which come are often just a couple of minutes before the earthquake happens and in this case, you have to be very quick on making your decision of either getting out of your house into a clearing or to stay in the house and wait it out. If you live in a house you can be out in a couple of seconds, but in large apartment complexes, this will not be an option.

If an earthquake hits and you are in an apartment complex do not take the elevator or the stairs. Stay inside the apartment in the doorframe and position yourself in such a way if your furniture would fall off that you will not get injured. Elevators tend to stop once an earthquake starts and this is the last place you would want to be. The stairs are also not safe as usual, these are the less resistant parts of the building and often collapse on themselves in case of a violent earthquake. If you are wondering if prepping is pointless, then check out my recent article Why prepping is pointless ( Or is it? ).

Staying At Home During A Nuclear War

This depends on several factors, how close you are to major cities, whether are there any military bases nearby, and where is the closes nuclear silo. Odds are that these will be the first targets to be hit in case of a nuclear war if you live in such a location your odds of surviving are slim as you might not even know what hit you. If you are lucky and do not have such places near you that your second priority should be to make sure you are not hit by the nuclear fallout as this is also a major killer.

In case of a nuclear war, you probably will not have any warning at all, if you are not in its range of action and out of the fallout zone you should be fine staying at home, otherwise GTFO to safety and plenty of iodine capsules.

Staying At Home During A Civil Unrest

This is probably one of your best options, as the civil unrest might become violent you will not have the possibility to even leave the city. There might be periods of no rule of law but you should still stay put and let the situation calm itself down. The only time to be worried is if the civil unrest reaches national proportions, in this case, you could have a nation vide no rule of law for months. Luckily enough in most cases, civil unrest doesn’t become violent although through our history we learned that governments will do anything in order to keep their power.

Staying At Home During An Economic Collapse

The last economic collapse happened in 2008 and most people tried to stay home. The problem is that if you do not have the means to pay for your mortgage you could end up in the streets as millions of people have experienced. This will probably be a global event the same as it was in 2008, but this is not one of those SHTF events where things happen quickly, it could be years of worse and worse economic situations which could end up in full economic collapse. If you want to prepare yourself for an eventual economic collapse, check out my article How to prepare for economic collapse ( In 22 Steps ), where you will get more than 70 tips on how to prepare for it.

Staying At Home During A War

Most people do decide to stay at home even if their home is close to the combat area. As the combat area is approaching, people tend to leave their houses and try to go to safety. While it is not advised to stay at home during a war in a combat area many people have done so, trying to live life as usual.

Plan To Bug Out Or To Stay At Home During SHTF

No matter what kind of SHTF scenario you are facing you should always have 2 plans, one for staying at home and one for bugging out. While staying at home at the beginning of the SHTF situation is a viable option you can not stay there forever especially if the SHTF situation is longer than predicted. In this case have a good bug out plan, not only consisting of supplies but of ways on how you will make it to your bug out location.

Make sure that your bug out location is close to a freshwater source and if possible has good fertile soil where you can grow crops. You have to have a plan on how you will get water and food once your own supplies run out, you can not rely on looting as this is extremely dangerous and there are a lot of people probably looting from the first day of the SHTF situation. You have to be prepared to live off the grid, with no cell phone, no internet, no tv.

You should also think of ways how you will generate your own electricity with solar panels, you can use this to recharge your rechargeable devices and even power communication devices such as a HAM radio.

Key Takeaways

  • Staying home during a SHTF (Sh*t Hits The Fan) situation can provide a level of safety and security compared to venturing out into potentially dangerous environments. Your home can serve as a shelter where you have control over access, resources, and protection from external threats.
  • Being at home allows you to utilize the supplies and resources you have stocked up on in preparation for emergencies. You can rely on your food, water, medical supplies, and other essentials without the need to search for them in uncertain or depleted environments.
  • Staying home during a crisis provides a sense of familiarity and comfort. You are in a familiar environment surrounded by your possessions, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Being in a comfortable setting can also promote emotional well-being and support resilience during challenging times.