An abbreviation of “Shit Hits The Fan.” This is used to describe a wide range of bad situations, but it can be defined rather easily as an event that causes a breakdown of law and order, or more personally, causes a destructive disruption in events as planned. This ranges from the detonation of a nuclear weapon in close vicinity to a destructive weather event to a traffic accident that you are experiencing at the moment.

Whatever threatens your survival can be considered SHTF. The terrorist atrocities of 9-11-01 demonstrated to many people the wisdom of being able to operate in the absence of outside help. The best way to measure your response to problematic events is simply to determine your needs. The Rule of Threes (obviously a rough estimate of times, but accurate in the order) gives the best guide to this. You can live three weeks without food, three days without water, three hours in severe weather without good shelter, and three minutes without air. Threats include: Contaminated or nonexistant food supply, poisoned water, cold and wet exposure, being hit by lightning, drowning, and contamination of the air by chemical substances, whether it is the result of a weapon or an industrial accident.

Variations on the theme are “Spit Hits The Spam” and “Ship Hits The Sand”, as well as TEOTWAWKI, which is “The End Of The World As We Know It”.

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