Many books, websites and youtube channels about survivalism and preparedness use the term SHTF, which stands for times when shit hits the fan.
In general, we try to be prepared in case something happens. SHTF means the world has really gone to hell, and there’s a huge mess. But SHTF may mean something different for each one of us.
For sure, a war in your country is SHTF.
Nuclear power plant meltdown, like in Chernobyl in 1986, is also SHTF.
But large failure of power grid or even the internet will also cause havoc and chaos. Supermarkets will stop selling food (who carries cash these days, credit cards won’t be processed without internet connection), and it will soon start to rot in the inoperative refrigerators. No power means also no running water, no air conditioning, no heating. Also — no fuel for your car (are you surprised that pumps on gas stations work on electricity?).
An earthquake, a flood, a forest fire — might be SHTF, from the point of view of a small town.
If you wanted, you could easily list 50 possible SHTF scenarios (I might do it one day), but there’s no point, really.
What is more important, is to focus on what you need to survive. And you need only a couple of basic things.
All SHTF scenarios have one in common — the environment is changed so that all the usual ways of providing for yourself cannot be used anymore. You can’t get food from the store, as it’s not sold there, or it’s much more expensive. You have to carry water in buckets to your apartment, or use rainwater in your house. You go to work by bike, or don’t go at all, if your company’s building was destroyed. You have to work for food at the nearby farm, as your company went bankrupt or the paper money became worth much less than before.
It’s almost impossible to be prepared to such an extent that you don’t have to worry about anything. It’s nearly impossible to be 100% self-sufficient in terms of food, water, energy, medicine, clothing and fuel for transportation. So belief that preparedness will save you from all the hassle you would encounter during any SHTF scenario is silly. But all the stuff you gather now you won’t have to find during that event.
Like I explained previously, the idea of modern survival requires not only that your preparations make your life easier in SHTF scenario, but also improve your quality of life every single day. So you don’t buy food only to be used when the grid fails, but also to save you unnecessary trips to the grocery store for the one jar of mayonnaise you forgot to buy.