Information is power: Why you still need to keep yourself aware during SHTF situations
By Zoey Sky // Jun 07, 2018

Smartphones are handy because they let us access data right away, but can we still use this information when society collapses?


Preppers value data, be it survival skills like fire-making or foraging or knowing where the safest bug-out areas are. To prepare for survival scenarios, most prepper groups assign someone as their "information specialist."

The good thing about prepping information is most of it is available online, and it can be legally obtained. Read up on these sources and access data while you still can because when SHTF, it might be lost forever. (h/t to

As long as you know where you look, you can archive data from public sources for intelligence purposes. This act of data gathering is called "open-source intelligence."

The two kinds of information

The first kind is survival information, which refers to two types of data:

  1. News and disaster warnings that will keep you updated on incoming or ongoing events.
  2. Information and gadgets that you can gather now to be used if and when SHTF. This type includes any information concerning people and places local to you, your state, and nationally, maps, and radios, etc.

The second kind is the "History of Technology and its Use in the Restoration of Civilization Information" along with gadgets that you don't particularly wish to use or need right now but can be useful to your long-term survival after a survival scenario. It includes:

  1. PDF books on tools and machines from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, such as the Industrial Revolution.
  2. Anywhere possible actual devices can be found. (Related: Tips for building a hard copy archive of survival information.)

This might all sound overwhelming, but you can start by honing your situational awareness, which refers to "knowing and understanding what’s going on near you and its possible impact on you."

Try to be more aware of everything and everyone around you. Take note of small details that often go overlooked. Paying attention during various situations can be the key to your very survival.

Try to remember important details in any situation, calmly process this information, and think of how this can affect you. To do this, you can start gathering maps and read up on how you can locate sources and avoid possible dangers using those maps.

You can hone your situational awareness by watching the national and world news every night. Additionally, you can prepare a small digital TV, like a 12-volt DC TV, with the appropriate antenna/s so you can monitor all local TV stations. Keep this TV in a Faraday cage so it can remain usable even after an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

If you're not familiar with an EMP attack, you'll know one has taken place if the power goes out and cell phone networks are down. If you've kept a radio in a Faraday cage, it won't pick up any stations and most cars, except antique vehicles, will also be unusable.

Other possible signs of an EMP attack are:

  • All electronics would also cease working
  • Bank accounts would disappear
  • Planes would fall from the skies
  • Nuclear plants would be unable to cool down the reactors
  • Water pumps would stop working

Once you've confirmed that an EMP attack has taken place, start enacting your post-EMP plan. Don't be stuck in denial like the general public, and start making the necessary preparations so you can keep your loved ones safe.

Online references

Visit the websites below so you can stay informed about potential natural disasters and any disaster warnings. Some of the sites below offer email alerts:

The majority of the information in the links above are made up of electronic files that can be obtained freely and legally. Just make sure your computer or device can read PDF and TIF files.

When SHTF, you'll need more than food and weapons to ensure your safety. Staying informed can help protect you and your loved ones before disaster strikes.

You can read more articles about how you can gather information for your group when SHTF at

Sources include:

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