staying home during shtf

Staying home during SHTF ( Can you? )

Staying home during SHTF? Yes, you can stay at home during SHTF, as for how long you can stay at home depends on the SHTF situation,  how long will your supplies last, how far is the nearest source of fresh water and of the population density in your area. If you have decided to stay at home during SHTF you must follow OPSEC, do not let anybody know that you have prepared for this event as even the best of neighbors can become hostile in times of hardship.

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 fresh water will be vital as for how long you can stay at home during the SHTF. My personal recommendation is to get a water filtration system which doesn’t need electricity and uses gravity instead for pumping and purifying water Click here to check price on

Staying home during SHTF

As any person with common sense you probably asked yourself if staying at home during an SHTF even 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.

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 of the 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.

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 for 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.

should you saty at home during an SHTF

Dangers of staying at home during an SHTF

As in the case of bugging out, there are dangerous 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 their supplies but this won’t last forever.


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 as you have predicted you might find yourself being forced to bug out, and as you have been “hiding” in your house since the event has 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 it 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.


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 they fear of loosing out of all the loot might take a hold of them and thus the heard mentality begins. As looter 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 which will help them to survive longer, such as food and water.

Once they start targeting other peoples homes which 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 as 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 dead 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 of the 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 as a threat, their main goal is to eliminate the threat, 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.

Food and Water

How much food and water you have will be the main factor which will dictate as for 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 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. Cans of food are a good idea but these occupy a lot more space then foods in powder form, while a can of beans can have around 1000 calories in an around a 14 oz can, you can have the double of 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.

Recently I have created an article on which foods are best for SHTF Longest lasting canned foods, if you are also interested in stockpiling grains check out my article on How to store grains long term at home.

stay at home or bug out

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 of 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.

Home security

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 which could end up in a disaster.

However, if you practice OPSEC, don’t let anybody know you have supplies and stay out of sight most of the SHTF scenario it would decrease the risk factor a lot. In addition 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 fresh water, 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.

Familiar location

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 office, 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 it 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.

Higher chance of rescue

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.

Farming and 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 at home during different SHTF events

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. If you need more information about preparing for a hurricane check out my article Preparing for a hurricane list.

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.

can i stay at home during SHTF

Staying at home during a nuclear war

This depends on several factors, how close you are to major cities, are there any military bases nearby, 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 nor rule of law for months. Luckily enough in most cases, civil unrest doesn’t become violent although through our history the government will do anything in order to keep its power, even if it means to kill its own citizens.

Staying at home during an economic collapse

The last economic collapse happened in 2008 and most people tried to stay home. 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 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 situation which could end up in full economic collapse. If you want to prepare yourself for an eventual economic collapse, check out my article Tips for economic collapse preparation, 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 to tend to leave their houses and try to go to safety. While it is not advised to stay at home during a war in combat area many people have done so, trying to live life as usual.

Plan ahead

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, no cell phone, no internet, no tv.

You should also think of ways on 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.

In conclusion

While staying at home during an SHTF scenario is viable for some situations it is not for all SHTF situation. You are the only person who can decide if it is even viable based on the SHTF event, your supplies, location and how many members your family does have. In addition to this, you should also think for a bug out plan as a backup, no matter how much supplies you have these will not last forever.

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