US Official Procedures Before SHTF. How to Know Before It Hits

Sarah Davis
By Sarah Davis April 25, 2017 13:19

US Official Procedures Before SHTF. How to Know Before It Hits

In any major disaster or SHTF situation, there will always be two critical forces that respond: the government and you.

Knowing what the government will do and what you should do are both critical. You need to know what action the local, state, and perhaps the federal government will take so you know what to expect, and you also need to know what you must do before disaster strikes so you aren’t caught off guard.

Government Response to a Disaster

Government will always play a critical role before and during an SHTF situation from at least the local and state levels, and in a large enough catastrophe, from the federal level as well.

Related: The 6 Golden Rules of Surviving Martial Law

This step-by-step process of how government will usually react to large scale disasters should help clear things up for you:

  1. First and foremost, the federal government will only lend assistance to the situation after an official request has been made by the governor of the state. The President of the United States will then have to make an official declaration of emergency, and at that point, the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will then react as quickly as they can to the disaster.  The primary goal of FEMA is to provide relief to everyone who has been affected by the extent to the disaster.
  1. Before submitting a request for relief from the President, the governor of the state affected by the disaster will order a preliminary disaster report. The governor will then proceed to request that the President declare a state of emergency in the affected areas. It should be noted that while the governor can submit this request while the disaster is taking place, he or she can also submit the request before the disaster or when it is imminent (such as when it is obvious that a hurricane will soon strike the coastline).
  1. Once the President has declared a state of emergency, he will be able to send funds to the local and state government to help provide relief to those affected. FEMA will engage the services of a dozen different departments at the federal level. The very act of the president declaring a disaster is a clear sign that the disaster is major and beyond the capabilities of the state or local government to handle in its own.  In addition, the President will provide assistance to both private and public relief efforts.
  1. The governor will also be able to request different kinds of assistance from the President.
  1. There are also many different ways in which the Federal government will be able to provide assistance, including the following:
  • Providing personnel, equipment, and supplies to help in the relief efforts
  • Loans and Grants
  • Technical assistance
  1. Meanwhile, the state government will react to the crisis in the following ways:
  • Reviewing and improving local response efforts
  • Coordinating the state EOC to help in relief efforts
  • Determining if more federal assistance is needed
  • An activation of the state disaster preparedness plan (if a state of emergency is declared by the governor)
  1. The federal government will only become a source of resources for local and state governments if the disaster is so severe that local and state governments cannot handle the situation on their own. FEMA will then coordinate the implementation of the FRP (Federal Response Plan), which allows states to then work with FEMA in accessing resources and programs from the government.
  1. The FRP will also decide how the Federal agency resources and the American Red Cross can work together to provide relief to the site of the disaster. An EST (Emergency Response Team) will also be established in Washington to monitor the relief efforts from there.

These are the primary steps that governments will undertake in response to a disaster either before it happens or while it’s happening.

Your Response to the Disaster

Let’s say you’ll still be caught off guard, but you’ll at least have some time to make some preparations before the disaster comes to you:

What To Do 2 Hours Before A Disaster

  • Double check your home stockpile: water, food, medical equipment, ammunition, personal hygiene items, and so on. If you are lacking anything that’s absolutely necessary, then you should consider making a quick run to the grocery store.

What To Do 90 Minutes Before A Disaster

  • Continue contacting more family members you haven’t gotten a hold of.
  • This is your last chance to pick up any additional supplies that you may need, such as aluminum foil or fuel or ammunition or prescription medications.

What To Do 1 Hour Before A Disaster

Related: How to Conceal Weapons in Your Vehicle

What To Do 30 Minutes To A Disaster

  • If you are going to bug in, then it is no longer safe to go outdoors. You need to have everybody in your home with the doors locked.
  • Have your emergency radio going to keep track of the news.
  • Have somebody in your family on watch for signs of trouble outside of the house.

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Sarah Davis
By Sarah Davis April 25, 2017 13:19
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  1. Rick April 25, 15:04

    Good advise except in the event of an EMP attack,then most is moot.

    Reply to this comment
    • John Galt April 27, 02:41

      This article tells us in the title how we will know BEFORE the disaster strikes. It then lists 8 responses AFTER the disaster hits. Mostly the state and federal level response. It then tells us what to do with two hours, or less, until the disaster strikes. Two hours isn’t enough to do all of the things listed. This is a very misguided article, and very bad advice.

      Reply to this comment
    • vocalpatriot June 9, 13:30

      Rick you are correct. It would also be useless if a meteor wiped out the center of the united states thereby causing an extinction level condition…buuutt that would also be beyond the “scope” of the article…just sayin’.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Clauville Rand April 25, 15:30

    If you haven’t been praying, praying hard, praying without ceasing for all of your needs and those of others you love, long in advance of the above scenarios, and praying in Christ’s name ONLY all the rest of your stuff is window dressing and y’all gonna be toast sooner or later.

    Reply to this comment
    • Reaper April 25, 18:15


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    • dragonuy April 25, 19:08

      Oh right, because Katrina happen because people in the area didn’t pray hard enough. (sarcastic)
      That must be the most moronic thing I have ever read.
      “All the rest” like you call it, is what could keep you alive and help you not to starve, whenever a disaster happen.
      All the praying in the world won’t help you if you don’t have at least food and water until help can arrive.
      Which in some cases (katrina) will be later than sooner.
      So you can take your religious propaganda and keep it to yourself.

      Reply to this comment
      • Madarain April 26, 08:43

        Look, I know you’re skeptical of someone who says to pray…really pray, but here’s the deal. 1) God’s not going to stop a hurricane, but He might divert one. More importantly, He promises to hear our prayers and if it’s within His will, He will answer…sometimes it is…sometimes it isnt. He’s got bigger plans than we can imagine. Our job is to fit into those plans of His.

        So He’s not going to answer people who pray for Him to make the hurricane disappear, but He will answer people who pray for protection from the deadly storm, so they survive, untouched.

        Believe it or not there are lots of people who are close to God, they are still flawed human beings but they have a relationship with God and they don’t ask for riches, or fame, or unfair advantage. They pray for peace and mercy and just enough food and water for today.

        I’m a prepper, but I’m not stupid. I know I wont last a day without God’s blessings & mercy, so I plan to pray…mainly because God says DO IT, IT WORKS.

        The Bible has plenty to say about prayer too…much more that these few examples.

        1) that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

        2) if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

        3) Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

        4) He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.

        5) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

        6) Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

        7) pray continually

        8) When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

        9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

        10) Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

        Whatever you believe is up to you. But you better have a good reason for it…A reason you thought out long and hard…one you struggled over and are convinced of. Because you are going to have to live by it, so it damn well better be right.

        I guess you know what I believe.

        Reply to this comment
        • Heartless April 26, 20:28

          Small consideration. The man’s/Son’s name you call upon – Christ – is not a name. It is an adjective. It means ‘blessed’ or ‘annointed’. Jesus’ last name was NOT ‘Christ’. Many many men and women have been given the appellation of ‘Christ’. Rather it should be used as ‘Jesus the(or ‘a’) Christ’. Furthermore, “Jesus” also was not the man’s/Son’s name. It was pronounced fairly close to Yeshua in Aramaic, the language he spoke. ‘Yesh’ for short. Consider how many languages just do not pronounce the ‘J’ sound…… German, Spanish….. to understand that a ‘hard’ J is primarily an English language option. And last, to call upon God in any of the Trinity forms without doing all you can first to remedy the problem you face is to not make use of your own gifts as given – free-will, life and your personal abilities. To think that divine intercession is to come within your life is foolish and just wrong. God expects all of us to do what we can as well as we can. Eternity is to live with the consequences for those same actions. That said, “God preserve my life as you see fit and for you – the Creator – to ensure that all those heathens I kill before I die receive your mercy in the hereafter”.

          Reply to this comment
      • Robert April 26, 10:18

        Atheists and leftists all think they know better than everyone else.

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        • poorman April 27, 15:00

          So does the religious right pal. Not saying I’m not a believer but both parties only see their own side in most cases

          Reply to this comment
      • YouGotIt April 27, 00:45

        Praying is for Lazy Sheeple who Failed to Prepare.

        Reply to this comment
        • Vic December 2, 07:37


          Prayer is one more aspect of Preps.
          One more valuable tool in your kit.

          Prayer if done sincerely calms the mind, improves focus and concentration.. Increases resolve and courage.

          He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.. Psalm 18:34

          The old saying .

          Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition..

          Very clearly demonstrates in the practical world those that came before us found a place for both.. Prayer and Action. Preps unarguably are part of taking action.

          Certainly not the only ones but Mormons for example as a Church practice Preps as part of their faith.. Prayer does not seem to be lacking among them.,

          Not too many folks I know who have actually spent time in High Risk environments fail to develop a healthy respect for the spiritual aspects of life. Prayer being a part of it.

          All the best to you.

          Reply to this comment
      • Theresa June 18, 18:49

        Thumbs up to you dragonuy.

        Reply to this comment
    • jp April 27, 15:09

      The story:they are predicting flood of “biblical proportions. Most everyone in the area start to evacuate or to bug in, except one guy who says ” no worries, God will save me!’. Flood reaches his first floor. Guy in Rowboat comes along and offers to take the guy to dry ground. “No thanks, he says. God will save me.” Flood reaches, second story, another boat comes along w same offer. He responses “no thanks, God will save me”. Finally he is forced up to his roof. Clinging to the eaves against the waters, he looks up to Heaven and pleads ‘God, why have you forsaken me? I beleived in you to save me!” A rumble of thunder is heard over the flood waters – God replies ” I gave you a warning through wise men at the weather channel, and sent you 2 boats and you refused me!! What exactly do you want?”
      Otherwise known as “Do not Tempt the Lord thy God” to see you through everything. He gave you a brain to help yourself along and make choices. Look for guidance, not deliverance.

      Reply to this comment
    • southhside May 3, 17:31

      Never mind praying for what YOU want,give thanks for what you HAVE RECEIVED

      Reply to this comment
  3. Big Boy in Missouri April 25, 16:28

    It would be nice to have this much notice, but very unlikely. Especially those of us that live in tornado alley, better to be prepared most all of the times.

    Reply to this comment
  4. TBird April 25, 16:47

    This article titled “How to Know Before it Hits” gave zero information on how to know before it hits.

    Reply to this comment
  5. dP_Ted April 25, 18:48

    I agree with Clauville Rand. I don’t know why people wait to call on God last, when that should be the FIRST thing we do, continuing prayer while doing prep work.

    Reply to this comment
  6. suki April 25, 20:32

    what 8 things to watch out for? Prepping is all about believing that those 8 warning signs (whatever they are) are already in motion. I don’t prep because of a maybe scenario, I prep because I want to be prepared at all times not just when there is a oops! too late scenario.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Dan April 26, 01:16

    The main purpose of the government after a major disaster, whether natural or manmade, is to make sure the government continues.
    Saving common people will be a secondary concern. Senators, congress and top government people will be first on the list.

    Reply to this comment
    • Deb April 26, 13:13

      I agree. The common people will be on our own. That’s why I prep. I am a Bile believing ,prayerful Christian but I know governments everywhere are going to be self serving in disaster situations. The fact that there are 20plus agencies to pull it off (yeah right) tells all.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Todd April 26, 04:23

    2 hour time frame additions….
    take a shower
    wash and dry any clothes you can
    Cook and eat a meal from anything you can that will not last in refrigerator/freezer
    Fill freezer with as many water containers as you can in order to make ice
    Charge up electronics

    Reply to this comment
  9. Aussie Jo April 26, 13:15

    U say what?? If a hurricane (or here in Aus – a cyclone) is about to hit get everything the heck out of your attic and into your basement !!!
    This may have been a typo in the post, but get it right mate…some people reading this may take it on board as gospel- if you’re posting public safety info – GET IT RIGHT!!! Your attic will be the first part of your house that will go in a massive weather event…go as low/deep as you can – make like an earthworm and dig!!!

    Reply to this comment
    • Big Boy in Missouri April 26, 13:35

      Aussie Jo, your cyclones are the same as our tornado’s. the comment about putting items in an attic is because a hurricane is a tropical storm with high water and lots of damaging wind and rain.

      Reply to this comment
    • phoenix April 26, 15:03

      yeah,i read that as “remove your supplies from the attic.” of course,that leaves me to wonder who stores preps in an attic? that’s about the worst place possible.

      Reply to this comment
  10. left coast chuck April 28, 03:01

    Not one of the most helpful articles on this list. With most events that would paralyze the country, there will be some warning. With an EMP strike, while deteriorating world conditions may give some indication, no country is going to tell us they are going to EMP strike us. The first warning will be all your gadgets stop working. While we may have the same effect with a CME event, one can always hope that the government will provide some notice of the event. OTOH, knowing how the governmental folks want to cover the a$$e$, my estimate is: Probably not. Any other event, there will be some warning events first. While attacks on our grid system will put down the grid and all attached to it, other portions of our economy will continue to perk along for a while. An economic collapse will have warning signs from massive inflation to shortages of all kinds to a stock market collapse. While localized events are extremely hard on those afflicted, they are so localized in nature that eventually we can count on some governmental assistance. The only natural event that I can envision causing a nationwide collapse would be if the Yellowstone caldera blew out in a super volcano, either there or the giant caldera around Mammoth Mountain in CA. Even with a 9.something earthquake along the San Andreas fault with major significant damage all along the fault line, while California would be in shambles, the rest of the country would only be minimally affected. Because the two most devastating events, EMP and CME, would be unannounced, it behooves us to be continually prepared.

    Reply to this comment
    • lisapaintergirl April 28, 12:42

      Since California provides most of the produce for the rest of the US, I’m sure we will feel it, if California goes to shambles.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 5, 02:24

        Well, yes, the cost of fresh lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, avocados, artichokes, cantaloupes, naval oranges, cherimoyas, kiwis, spinach, cucumbers, radishes. dragon fruit, jicama and canned tomatoes will go soar, but you can substitute plantain, dandelion and other local weeds for the above. The price of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir will soar. Two buck Chuck which is now three buck Chuck may become six buck Chuck, but life will go on. New York concord grape wine and wine from wineries in Texas and Kansas should be unaffected but, of course, prices will rise. Yes, there really are wineries in Texas and Kansas.

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    • left coast chuck June 29, 16:22

      When I wrote my original post I had not read anything about the New Madrid fault earthquake. Since then I have read accounts from people who survived that event. It too would be a massive event with long term effects on the U.S., probably more devastating to the U.S. than a similar event on the San Andreas fault. If you want to read a chilling fictionalized account of a fracture along the New Madrid fault, read “Rift”. That novel contains accounts from letters and newspapers from the time of the 1812 New Madrid fracture. It is chilling. The chaos today would be far worse.

      Reply to this comment
      • Dupin November 17, 14:52

        New Madrid fault line. I remember in 1997 that the experts were giving it a 70% chance of giving us a major earthquake before the year 2000. This still hasn’t happened, though I haven’t heard much talk of it in recent years, probably because there’s no Y2K disaster deadline drawn in the sand, but it’s still there and definitely still a possibility. When it does, some of the reputed “best” places to be during a disaster will be the worst, as they will be close to the epicenter. Here’s an interesting article on why it will happen, possibly soon, and why it probably won’t.

        Reply to this comment
  11. Duke April 28, 03:57

    Good points. None really address what was supposed to be piinted out. How will we know in advance when its going to happen. Dont tell us ehat will go down after it has happened we are all aware of the steps. After the Pres then the Govenir. We know this. Its already to late to go Anywhere after this takes place. Unless you have a plane.
    Your advice is not good at all.

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  12. PIGFARMER June 29, 18:20


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    • Vic December 2, 07:42

      I turn them on listen for a min or so. By then I know if it is just another “Send us money to be the ultimate ninja warrior etc….I then. mute them run them in the background.. because they are what pays for the site.. Which overall is not bad.

      Reply to this comment
  13. OFFGRID November 17, 14:46

    “US Official Procedures Before SHTF” I want to know this. The article mentions nothing to this effect.

    Reply to this comment
  14. PB- dave November 19, 03:46

    Carefully read steps 7 & 8 in the Federal response plan above, then think how that is working in Puerto Rico……. the only thing FEMA has done with any efficiency is to create bottlenecks, and report to the 6 o’clock news how it’s all the Army Corp of Engineers fault…..
    Reagan was correct- the scariest thing in the world is someone showing up saying ” we’re from the government and we’re here to help”

    Reply to this comment
  15. 2% = Official Website. March 29, 14:37

    whoah this blog is great i love reading your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You understand, a lot of individuals are looking around for this info, you could help them greatly.

    Reply to this comment
  16. left coast chuck July 12, 18:05

    Well, since this original post, the town I live in went through a wildfire. So I can tell you what you need to do NOW.

    You need to make a list of where all the items you want to take with you in an evacuation are located in your house. You think you will remember. YOU WON’T.

    You want to indicate on that list just exactly where they are in the house. If the big picture of Grandma and Grandpa on the wall is something that will go, make sure you have a container prepared for it now and aren’t running around trying to find a box to fit it in so it doesn’t get damaged in the move. Mark the location of that container on your list. YOU DON’T WANT TO WASTE TIME RUNNING AROUND TRYING TO LOCATE SOMETHING TO PUT THE PICTURE IN.

    Do a trial run. Pack everything that you intend to take with you on your bug out. Mark on your list what items go in what bag or suitcase. When you are all packed, count how many containers you have and write down a description of each container. Make sure you write down how many containers you are going to be stuffing in your vehicle. That way when you are ready to pull out of the driveway, you can count how many parcels are in your vehicle and if the list says 8 and you only have 7, you know you overlooked one. If you have a description of every parcel and bag, you know you are looking for the green duffle. KEEP THE LIST CURRENT. IF YOU CHANGE THE LOCATION OF AN ITEM, CORRECT YOUR LIST. Sorry about the caps but that is an important point. Keep it current.

    This advice is based on real life experience. When I awoke at 0400 and smelled smoke and went outside to check, the cop car had raced down the street some time before broadcasting to evacuate. Our bedroom is in the back of the house which is nice because then noise on the street doesn’t interfere with our sleep. For every blessing there is a curse. It also means we can’t hear the cop on his loudspeaker. Of course if he had driven down the street at 15 mph broadcasting we might have. Instead somebody who was already out said he must have been going 50.

    The wind was blowing at a reported 70 mph from east to west. We were located west of the fire. From my vantage point it looked as if the flames had already entered the tract where we live east of us. With the wind blowing as strongly as it was, I knew we didn’t have much time to get out. We were out in 30 minutes.

    I had not made the list and done the exercise I listed above because I always figured the catastrophe we would have in our location would be the giant earthquake which would give us no notice, but plenty of time to get our stuff together to evacuate. We did escape. The flames had never jumped the major 4 lane road that acts like a fire break. My position on the ground made it look like the fire had but it had not. We actually had lots of time to evacuate. Hindsight is 20-20.

    FEMA: The gubernator, Moonbeam McBrown declared an emergency the next morning. Nice way to be on top of things, Jerry. It took FEMA two weeks to set up their headquarters in town to process requests for governmental assistance. Governmental assistance mainly consisted of government types exercising their “authority”. The city promulgated an emergency decree against washing ash from roofs and driveways because “it would wash to the ocean.” Well, duhhh. No thought to what would happen to the ash when the first rains came that they were so enthusiastically praying for. First really dumb move on the part of “officials.”

    Next, folks started clearing their lots. They contracted a price for the removal and had contractors lined up. Then some FEMA doofus decided that all the waste was toxic and had to be handled by special FEMA licensed contractors and hauled five times as far away to a special toxic waste dump. Of course there were only a couple “FEMA licensed contractors” and the prices they charged were exorbitantly more than what other contractors were charging. That, of course, came out of the total of your insurance policy, so instead of paying $10,000 dollars to have your lot cleared, it cost $40,000 and if your policy limits were $500,000, that amount came out of the $500K. It depended upon how your policy was written. I am reporting on comments that were made to me.

    Some insurance companies insisted on a detailed accounting of the items for the personal property loss. Folks had to hire independent adjusters to assist them in filing out the detailed, itemized lists that the insurance companies demanded. Farmers Insurance was one of the few that told their insureds that they were certain that the loss exceeded the coverage for personal property and they would pay 100% of the policy coverage and didn’t need detailed lists of how many pair of shoes you owned, when you bought them and how much you paid for them.

    Do you really have the receipt for that pair of golf shoes you bought ten years ago? Do you still have the receipt for the watch you bought your wife for your fifth anniversary? Did you remember to take it with you when you evacuated your home at 0400 or did it burn up along with everything else in the house. Sorry, no receipt no reimbursement. Read your policy.

    Armchair theorists can type out all kinds of theory, but if you want to know what you really have to do, people who have had to evacuate are the best source of information. The problems they encountered. The mistakes they made. What they could have done better. What they did that was an unnecessary step. Hurricane evacuation, talk to someone who has been there and done that.
    Toxic spill evacuation, same thing.

    If you live in the West, even though you might consider that you are safe from some fire, you need to be ready to go NOW. I had evaluated our location carefully before I purchased it. I had already owned two other houses and knew some of what to look for. I knew that we were safe from flooding. In the 50 years that we have lived here there have been two fires in the hills behind us and although some of the houses were damaged in the two fires, they never threatened our location. We again dodged the bullet although the fire did jump the intervening 4 lane road that acts like a fire break for us further west where the road makes a jog and the winds that did not blow the fire onto our street, did blow fire onto those houses and they were lost.

    My son has a good friend who lost both his parents in the Napa fire last summer. They were older and were evacuating but didn’t get out before the fire swept over them. Folks in the City of Santa Rosa thought they were safe from a wildfire. The wildfire swept through the vineyards that they thought would protect them from such. Once a row of houses starts, it is very difficult for the fire department to save that row. What they do is move to houses that are not involved and try to keep it from spreading.

    Preparing for an EMP, CME or super volcano is all well and good, but look first to what is, perhaps not as devastating to whole country but certainly can screw up your neighborhood: tornado, hurricane, wild fire, toxic spill. That is more likely than the world blowing up because a meteor hit us or Yellowstone glowing its top. If you want to worry about a super volcano, there is one in the PDRK that is highly active. It in in an area near Mammoth Mountain just about where the jog in the state line is on the east side of the state. There. Now you have to super volcanos to prepare for.

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  17. PC June 24, 14:48

    The article says if you’re short on stuff to take a quick trip to the store in the 2 hours after a disaster???!!!! Um….NO. The LAST place you want to be is in places with panicked and desperate people who are seeking supplies! Dumb dumb dumb idea! Prep now and then STAY HOME post disaster!

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