What’s your “trigger”?

I was recently contacted by loyal reader AP. AP brought up the fact that his group meets a few times per year and develops guidelines as to what needs to occur to cause his group to drop everything and head to the groups site. Interesting.

This is a popular subject in many survival & preparedness forums. What qualifies as a SHTF event is one of the main items of discussion in these forums and in my opinion very difficult to answer. There are certainly events that are obviously so cataclysmic that they almost go without saying – such as an asteroid impact, massive solar flare, and of course the ever present threat of evil alien invasion.

What is your trigger point-

What is considered a SHTF or bugout/hunker-down trigger is no doubt highly personal. The area one lives can have a great impact in determining what a “trigger” point is. Live near a nuclear power station? How about a nuclear target? Down wind from a large chemical plant? These are questions that need to be answered when asking – “For you – what is your trigger point?”.

Well – I am asking and would like to hear from you.

What do you consider your “trigger point”? For you….How will you know TSHTF?

Please leave a comment here.



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  1. A faster rate of bank foreclosures. That is one thing I am watching for.

    Another is larger swings UP and DOWN in the market (Wall Street), with less tendency toward ‘stable’ days between swings. That happened just before the market crash in 2008, too. I do see that the market is somehow ignoring the bad news, and responding more to the FED’s interference in the markets – a bad sign in and of itself.

    I do expect, and I am seeing, inflation in food and fuel, due to the money dumped into the markets. This is in spite of the governments stats showing low to no inflation. But a 3 to 4 month period of over 10% inflation, in the real world, not the BLS statistics, will keep me on my toes and verifying my supplies are in good order.

    Another big one is that I watch for more crackdowns on the tent cities in the west. There are a lot, and they rarely are mentioned in the news. People that lost their homes, and have no job to be able to afford to rent anywhere. As more homes are foreclosed on, we will start to see cities pressuring the homeless to leave. That would be the last of my tipping points. Then we may start to see protests, becoming riots, then looting and ???

  2. A nuclear device going off anywhere in the world
    A bank holiday where all banks are closed.
    3 or more cabinet members resigning “to spend more time with their family”.
    one of our carrier fleets being hit/destroyed.
    Obama on every channel at 6pm in the oval office with a long face saying “my fellow Americans…”
    Jet liners flying into the White House or the capitol building.
    China invading Taiwan.
    Russia invading one or more of it’s former satellite countries
    Presidential assassination.
    A total collapse of Mexico with millions of Mexican citizens fleeing across our border
    A major terror attack on one or more of our cities
    A true pandemic
    The government printing new money to replace all the old money.

  3. I would say an intense solar flare or EMP that would take out electronics and the power grid for a long period is one reason to keep my firearms nearby to prepare for the first day of looters and crazy people. I’m glad I dont live in the city, so I dont have to worry about riots.

    The second would be…when they decide to omit the 2nd amendment and they come knocking on my door for my gear. I guess it would be a good time to have some back up firearms buried or hidden somewhere beforehand. Combat knives would have to suffice during this time.

  4. Fortunately for us we do not live near fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, or nuclear potential disasters. If those happened as close as they naturally do, it really wouldn’t affect us. Those are really localized, albeit some are larger than others, but it wouldn’t cause an entire societal collapse, just a local collapse. Therefore for us, it would have to be one of the automatic SHTF situations such as aliens, or a civil unrest so great in the nearby city that the gang members are heading out of town to destroy all in sight. If this was the case, I’d expect notice as things would deteriorate in the city, it wouldn’t be a SHTF instantaneous scenario. But if it became TEOTWAWKI, I figure we’d have about a week of nearby unrest before we’d have to head to the bug-out.

    I do expect the civil unrest at some point. The gang situation is getting worse and worse each year. I fully expect the gangs to start going out on more home invasions. They are well armed and even shooting little kids because they are in the way of their target. It’s a scary thought that our military is training these thugs. Gangs are painting their symbols throughout the world and even out in the countryside. Where I live there are now gang symbols on the side of the curbs down the main highway and along mile markers on very out of the way roads.

  5. For me, I stay here except for something that would directly affect my area(such as a gulf storm). Mine is a more serious quandry. I have to watch out for trouble that would be east of the mississippi. I have children and grandchildren that will be effected andthat I would need to asure that they could make it here. So I need to watch for such things as Martial Law, major social unest, riots, EMP,economic meltdown. Thats just a few things that I watch for. I personally look for this more than others, economic meltdown, stock market crash, major social collapse,riots, martial law and then I am not sure if there will be any way back to what we once had. Do I think it will happen? I am suprised we havent been there yet. Trigger? I guess you could say mine has been partially been pulled. I am either doing something to make life better for my family or thinking of what I can do. God Bless. mwp

  6. Very good insight from readers! It shows they’re paying attention. Another equipment suggestion would be bow & arrows. This year, I chose to go bowhunting. I wanted to see if I could adapt…in the event guns were outlawed. Silent kill. Longbows are the least likely to need expert repairs, and crossbows are becoming legal for hunting in several states now. Practice is a blast! Be sure to stock up on arrows, extra strings, and string dressing!

  7. We live in a small city between a larger city and the rural foothills leading into the Sierras. IMO troubles will increase over economic issues such as more business closures, job loss, price increases on everything and a subsequently angry racially mixed population. I don’t consider that last one a cause but an unfortunate and potential fuel. There will be difficulty getting out of town as local roads and highways will bottleneck. We have family nearby that will be hard to get to and move out if things get jammed up. Civil unrest, looters, home invasion, lack of supplies not already on hand and no egress are my concerns here. Hopefully this won’t go that far, but I can see some of it happening now to a small degree. For now we’re keeping our eyes open and stocking up.

  8. In Alaska we learn that neighbors are part of our survival net. There is no such thing as survival of a tiny group of people. The only survival is by working together, using each others strengths for the good of the whole. Together we survive, alone we perish.


  9. Being in Ca-LOONEY-fornia an earthquake will be our Katrina. The collapse of our economy however seems eminent. As California goes, so goes the nation and we are on the brink. I am a state worker and I see how the sausage is made. The shite has been launched but the fan is not running because it is on a furlough. I’m already implementing my plans.

  10. I think that everyone has a lot of good triggers, most of mine have already been covered by the other readers. This is off subject but I am looking for a prep group in my area if anyone knows of any please let me know.

  11. We live near a number of military bases. One of our triggers is when a number of our co-workers or friends with military spouses need to suddenly leave work, or call in sick. That is a sure sign that something is going on.

  12. Rourke,tough one there Bro! Martial law,civil unrest for sure! Anything else depends on how close to my a.o. EMP if we are merely talking electronics killing emp,no reason to leave I am better off at home.Probably several that aren’t coming to mind.


  13. In many ways I’ve already hit my Trigger moment. It’s why we left california for rural Utah. I witnessed the slide of the former golden state over 29 years. After the 08 elections I saw the rest of the nation following course. Perhaps the 10 elections presage a return to common sense politics but I’m not betting my family’s life on it.

  14. Just a late note. Crossbows are not only fun to shoot but are acurate and deadly. I found a site where I could buy a takedown recurve bow with extra limbs. I am thankful to pick up a recurve again after 30 or so years. Buy plenty of arrows and “fixens” as you will need to repare them and will go missing

  15. As I stated in other post, I am wanting to protect my family. I’m in NC. Are there groups out there that I can get with to help me out in situations such as these? How do I find these groups? Thanks for any help.

  16. In response to ‘huggy bear’

    I think the first thing you should think about is what you can offer to a group. Do you have needed skills? Do you have resources to contribute if TSHTF? Because the people you will come in contact with will be asking you these very questions.

    On the other hand, if you have a lot to contribute, but they have nothing, would you want your resources to go to others while you get little to no benefit? It works both ways.

    Most of my neighbors, as well as my wife and I, have worked out details concerning what we each are capable of doing. Each year we work with each other and, after the time we have been doing so, we know what to expect from everyone, and they, in turn, know what we can do for them. We have a loose association, with no real demands made on time or resources, but we also know we can depend on each other.

    I think, when looking for a group, you may find it better to know what you need, what you can provide to a group, and what to look out for. Then again, you may find that people you already know have been thinking along the same lines, and you may have more in common with them. Rather than running the risk of losing what you have, or looking like people that say ‘If things look bad I am going to your house’ (Which I have heard, I am sure we all have), make the conversation more into learning peoples ideas and seeing if you have common ground to talk a little more in depth.

    One way to meet people or find out what interest people have is to strike up a conversation with someone you know. Something along the lines of “What do you think will happen with food/fuel/banks/inflation?’ (anything to get a feel for a person’s thoughts. You can learn a lot from peoples comments, without revealing what you have done in prepping for bad times yourself.

    Just some thoughts.

  17. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond back to my post. Since I posted my question I have found several local groups/organizations as well as this site to put me on the right track. I do try to feel people out on their thoughts, as I also try not to express too many of my feelings, thoughts and ideas. I am a firefighter and interact with lots of people with the same views on the current state of the economy and declining state of the US.

    Thanks again for your time and thoughts

  18. A lot of interesting answers that certainly cover a broad range of watch worthy markers. I think that for many the final bell toll, the final “this is it” driver will be the inability to work. Whether it’s that things have gotten so bad that one’s employer has shut down or it is impossible to get to your job because gas is no longer available or there is to much violence and chaos to make the trip. Few would be willing to bug out or bug in as long as they have a job that pays the mortgage and tethers them to their normal lives. Once things devolve to the point when that tether is broken there’ll be nothing in the way of your full commitment to plan B.

  19. John G good point re employment. Rourke -exc. questions and good responses. Aliens may well be here to help us
    someday-to save us from ourselves . A large earthquake (s) that affects where we live , a solar flare or EMP,
    civil unrest, pandemic, bank closings, radical climate change,nuclear war anywhere-eventually we are all affected by air and water being contaminated-an interruption in the delivery of food for any reason,
    I pray and prep -its about all we can do. Arlene

  20. My trigger point is simple. When one of my non-prepped friends shows up on my porch looking for a handout and safety. The actions of the unprepared will be like the canary in the coal mine. It will be the event just before the govt gets involved and I lose the freedom to react for my own good..

  21. I think you hit it on the nail head with location being a big factor, but this can lead to another dilemma. Many times a SHTF event is going to be very localized and effect on one or two members of the group. What happens when only one person or family in a group needs to bug out? Do they go to the group bug out site alone or is this site only for the group as a whole? If they are allowed to go there and use the supplies, how long can they stay and how will they keep track of what they use, so they can replace it later? These issues need to be addressed up front when forming a group, or there could be some significant conflicts within the group.

  22. I think gone with the wind has nailed it.watching the bankers, the gov’t. The Fed. All the above. Make a personal list of indices that will help you pull your trigger.

  23. Excellent re post Rourke..thank you. Very good perspectives to keep in mind and review. Interesting and valid point John Gault. In my opinion you might be mostly right. We had a long discussion about that her a month or so back. Some people just have no alternative and must bug in due to medical and unchangeable reasons. We all tried to encourage them and point them to good defense for their house. I think however, that since the moral fiber is crumbling under attack, now more people would also be likely to leave in advance more than ever. For example our group has not nailed down a trigger point yet, but we have decided we will leave in advance. One day, we just wont come into work. No need to call in and say so…just no go no show. Wait for that last paycheck, draw it out for supplies, and then leave. Beyond the shadow of a doubt. Things will get more extremely unstable and/or more violent giving you enough notice to just leave.

    If you have a bug out location it will make all the easier to just go. Otherwise, a cataclysmic event suddenly would clearly trigger an evac. Something for us with children still in school. Look into home schooling. Supposing you decide to bug out in advance, regardless of the outcome. You leave, you lose your house, you still owe money, and things auto correct in a shorter time frame than expected, (not likely) but then you might want to move closer back to town and cannot until you settle your out standing debt. So you have to stay on your property making the best of it as you can with nearby town and jobs. Regardless, one needs to keep educating our kids. With home schooling material you can do that and also avoid other issues if you decide to re-enter you kids back to school campuses.

  24. Great question my friend. I like a lot of the answers from others as well. I have compiled a list of 30 so far. I have been getting asked this same question on my YT channel and will be making a video soon with some of my thoughts. I would like to use some of the Trigger Point examples from your page as well. I will put a link to it from my video when it is completed. The key is to pay close attention to what the media is saying or not saying VS. what is really going on in the world. When you start to see local, state and federal politicians retiring, resigning, relocating etc. That is a key sign the SHTF is on way. If one waits to long to bug-out they may not be able to if they wait too long. The key is to watch all trigger points and make a decision to leave or stay based on early decisions. Example- If one waits too long and then hits the road with their family they can be caught in gridlock or highjacked by others waiting along the roads. Even rural roads may be booby trapped at that point. One of the things to look for is another fake mass shooting or perhaps fake attack on USA that is all orchestrated. I believe in watching for advertisements for Crisis Actors, as they have been used extensively in the governments false flag events to date. Anthony

  25. Like one of the posters above, I look to see a complete destabilization of Mexico, being fomented by our Chinese pals. the mass exodus across our southern border would instantly throw the Estados Unidos into immediate financial chaos. It won’t take much more “fomenting” funded by the PRC and/or Hamas, courtesy of the narcotrafficante cartels for that scenario to actually happen.
    We would NEED “bailing out” of that “great humanitarian crisis” by another country, and the PRC is about the only entity that could do it, to enslave us further.
    If the “border banzai charges” start up again, to me, that IS a triggering event. Then of course, who knows what the MalignantDwarf in North Korea is actually going to do…

  26. My list is a lot like GWTW, except that we live close enough to the US-Mex border not to wait for a collapse of the Mex government. Our house is about 10 miles north. Currently, migrants usually bypass the town and housing areas by staying in the mountains. If I see an increase in illegals coming thru my neighborhood, I’ll start packing. Why? It’s because they will have become so desperate that they don”t care or they all know that the catch and release game is over. No more bothering with the catch part because there are too many. Adios and vamoose for me!

  27. The main trigger signalling the start of the Grear Tribulation, which is the ultimate disaster, will be when we see the Pope call for national unity in Europe. This will bring about the resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. Then 45 Days later he goes to the Holy Place, the temple mount, and declares peace and safety. This will be the beginning of the Tribulation. Yes there will be many smaller localized disasters that will affect groups but the Great Tribulation will be the big one that only 1/3 of the earths current population will survive. Watch the Pope as this is the true trigger!

  28. Everyone pretty much covered everything.
    I am currently a solo with wife and now mother in-law, I live in the DFW Metroplex (Bedford), my goal is to get out of the metroplex, All cities such the metroplex could be sealed off, I could see the govt sealing of all large cities and inter-state highway borders in a event, I can also see the grid lock of same getting out in an emergency like “Katrina”

  29. My group is watching for at least 3 events. Some of which are as follows:

    1. ATM machines stop working
    2. EBT cards stop working
    3. Martial law in at least 3 states.
    4. At least 3 terrorist attacks on our soil at the same time
    5. Stock market crashes and closes down completely for a day or two. (This may lead into other triggers).
    6. Bank holiday announced.
    7. A major attack on our soil.
    8. Regional grid down
    9. Regional attack on our supply chain.
    10. At least 3 attacks on water supplies at the same time

    These are just a few.

  30. grid down and services down or more than one service .. Local emergencies (multiple).. would not take much as I can work from home and wait and see..
    bugging out would take more .. and amount to my family or extended family being threatened and needing to go help.. they live in a city I don’t..
    Load up and just keep on rolling .. or possibly roll home and wait then go based on what I see and feel.. since planned ex-filtration is in the same direction.

    I am localized and well protected .. with a group close by ..
    I’d change OpSec and pack the things that need to go .. just in case.

  31. Mine are collapse of economy, grid going down, an attack on our country, riots after something the media reports on. In here in VA and lucky to have a like minded brother but still feel like we need more like minded people who like many of you said have skill sets where we can all get things accomplished, etc.

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