Prepping Basics

How to Survive The Collapse of Civilization: The Survivalist Guide

How to Survive The Collapse of Civilization

There is never a shortage of news about social collapse, chaos and all other uncertainties, so you can’t help but ask of ways on how to survive the collapse of civilization. There is always a palpable feeling of insecurity in culture, politics and the society mainly due to apprehensions and conflicts in the air. While the civilization is still here and standing, no one could really tell what would unravel tomorrow. The very least to do is to prepare for it.

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And now that you’re recognizing that war, terrorism, civil unrests, riots, insurrections and major downturns are not impossible to happen, you can check out this survivalist guide that will help you prepare not only for unrest and collapse of the civilization, but also for natural, serious disasters, which aren’t also impossible to happen the day after tomorrow.

But many sit and sleep peacefully without worrying about the future until intensity seven earthquake or a category-three and mile-wide tornado hit. Many of us are becoming less militants than our ancestors who were survivalists of their times, actively preparing for an untoward catastrophe not limited to earthquakes and tornados but also civil wars, government unrests and street anarchies.

Now, where are we going if our civilization suddenly collapsed, affecting our ability to feed and protect our family and start interrupting with our daily routine and work schedule? Are you prepared, rather are we prepared? That’s the big question of the century. When modern conveniences, including telecommunication, transportation and the internet, among others, collapse and turn our society into a full-blown mad scenario, how are we to face it?

Simply, we all have to possess preparedness mindset and start paying attention to everything before any chaotic economic, social and political situation. Check out the following and get started to preparedness.

Preparing for a civilization collapse

The truth is that there is no definite guide on how you can survive a chaotic ordeal including the rise and fall of the government or there is an expert to tell you exactly what to do, either. While this is the case and there is no guarantee you’d be unhurt during unpleasant situations like a civilization collapse, what else is a better way than to prepare than to be caught not?

The end is near infographic

Before a chaotic ordeal, it is best that you are prepared with the important supplies you need, including non-perishable goods, gasoline, binoculars, water, bandages and first aid kits. You will also need prescription medicines, ammo and firearms, pain medication and hat. Not only that you need these things, but you also have to prepare light clothing/heavy clothing, strong shoes, ax, shovel, tools, lighters and matches and hand-charged flashlights.

For emergency situations, you will also need a battery-powered radio, spare batteries, compass, map, sleeping bag, blanket, toilet paper, backpack and multi-purpose pocket tool. Aside from these, you should have anything worth-trading, including electronics.

But not all people prepare for emergencies despite that they should. Sad but true many of us had been caught unprepared in past typhoons and tornados, wars and government unrest situations and collapse of the society. But you can change that. You can start preparing right now even without the slightest signs of war, as you may say.

One of the first things to prepare is a first aid kit, which we already mentioned above. You should include all the essentials inside of it, including prescription medications, bandage, wound ointment, sterile gauze, rubbing alcohol, antiseptic solution, sterile tape, thermometer, insect repellant, pain medications and all others you think necessary.

Check if it’s really a civilization collapse

See to it that the social order has broken down and not only a kind of riot, strike or uprising against the government. You can check updates on the radio, television news or an emergency station if you have access to any of them. If the media is still working, the government usually addresses the public about this danger, so pay attention. One thing to remember is that a social breakdown isn’t due to a specific disaster, rather to action of certain people.

Capitalism isnt working

Start asking yourself about the resources you have access to and the things you need. You should also know where to get the things that you need and that is possible if you also have a clear list of all these essentials for a solid survival plan.

Store and stock on supplies

You should be able to store stuff to last between two weeks and three months, and these will include all the items to make your life easier. You should stockpile on supplies, but see to it that no one would know about it because it might cause people to depend on you for their own supplies. In addition to supplies, think of clothing (light and heavy), and remember to bring warm clothing if you live in a cold place.

Remember that natural gas may also be inaccessible for weeks or months, so prepare for good coats, warm sleeping bags and blankets, gloves, hats and winter boots. To make sure your family survives, see our article on what to include in your survival food kits.

Stock on water

Being one of the basic needs to survival, water is important during civilization collapse because there can be failure in water pressure during these times. You may use your water heater as source, but water supply from it may be filled with sediments. What to do instead is stock water on food-grade containers and allot and store a gallon of water for every person per day.

Doomsday_preppers food and water

So if you are four in the family, you will need to stock at least 120 gallons of water to last for one month. See our article on how to collect water for survival for more details.

Sanitize everything

During civilization collapse, the last thing everyone would want is to catch a disease, and to avoid it, you should keep your place safe and sanitized all the time. For instance, the toilet could be flushed by dumping one gallon of water into it after every use if there is no water pressure available.

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Do not waste drinking water, so use old bathing or dishwashing water. Then, you should put a waste bucket far from sleeping, living and eating areas, if there is no functioning sewer or water supply.  Do not forget washing your hand even with a bit of drinking water to avoid spreading germs and eventually catching disease in this hard time.

Have a contingency plan

Remember to consolidate your close support networks, including close coworkers, friends, neighbors and family members because no man is ever an island, especially in this crucial time. You have to keep yourself connected to your community after government breakdown.

Next is to cast your net wide, but don’t venture too far out from your base especially when looking for essential supplies. Always have a contingency plan in hand.

Learn of basic survival skills

Can you swim (for long periods)? It might be worth learning if you cannot. Other survival skills you will need before a disaster are running and climbing a tree. But to be able to do these, you should also keep yourself fit by exercising regularly. You can save your life if you would be able to keep yourself fit with regular exercise. You should also learn how to build a shelter, make clothing and light a campfire, a few other survival skills you need not only during the times of disasters but also when faced in an emergency situation.

Speaking of that, you also have to learn first aid techniques, such as CPR, bandage application and so on.  As early as now, you may want to educate yourself of basic life skills so that you would be able to take on any challenges that you might face during civilization collapse.

Arm yourself with guns and ammos for protection

And remember, when the society collapses, the law follows. There would be a lot of street thieves and shop robberies in order for people to survive (looting). They will break into places, such as drug stores, grocery stores and markets in order to get the supplies they need for survival. You have to scavenge for supplies, but you have to be careful when taking a car.

It might be stolen from you since there will be a lot of riots around and that people become so uncontrollable that they do crazy things, including taking your car, which you may not be able to recover as the number of police officials might not be able to attend to all the people who violate other people’s rights and the law.

Arm yourself

And because there is less police action, you should arm yourself with ammos and guns to protect both yourself and your family. So if you don’t have a gun, you may consider getting one and have it licensed.  Well it may sound brutal, but you may not be able to survive if you would face a criminal with a firearm on your face, ready to kill just to get money, gas or anything he needs to survive himself.  While a gun is one of the best weapons to have and to possess even before any unrest or social collapse, you may also start getting some weapons you could use. See our article on the best apocalyptic weapons for survival.

Get cover from the apocalypse

One of the most important things to know in order to survive during the collapse is to get protection through a shelter, although most homes become unsafe.  Thieves and criminals start breaking into other people’s properties and steal possessions in order to survive.  With nothing to control and hold them from doing so and at the same time necessity is their main priority, they will do whatever it takes to find a good shelter. During this time, one of the best ways to survival is finding the best shelter as possible.

And speaking of shelter, you want it secured. You can imagine a building without direct window access and with heavy locks and heavy doors. You can also imagine a stable shelter in a building with walls all around it, preventing any unwanted visitors from entering or breaking into it. Alternatively, you can get shelter in a building with a vantage point for looking out on any problems in your location.

PV Bunker infographic

But while a building may be the most ideal place to stay during a chaotic event, it might be susceptible to the beating of earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados. And what makes things even more difficult is that it may be hard to locate another place during an emergency. On steps on how to build an underground bunker, see our article on this most-read topic for more information.

Control your reaction

Being shocked and unprepared, you might not be able to stop how negatively you would react when the world around you suddenly turned into hell.  Although some people usually let fate take them, this is not the case for many. Instead, they fret and panic and so unclear thinking follows—which doesn’t help. Studies and researches have proven and shown, not once but several times that people who are prepared are more likely to survive civilization collapse or natural catastrophe..

And the reason is that the human brain, when faced with a trying situation, suddenly goes into a tunnel-like vision, when it is focused on only one thing—getting out!  But because of the tunnel vision, the way that you can escape is hampered by it. You can avoid shutting your brain down if it is better prepared for emergency or disastrous situations. The exact same thing applies if you were on an airplane that is about to crash. This tunnel vision might hamper your way of thinking clearly and that it might shut your brain entirely—your worst ever enemy.

If otherwise you have trained your brain and have planned for these types of situations, your brain would know what to do exactly, the main reason soldiers and military men survive wars and tragedies. This is what you need. You should know what to do (through planning and preparation), especially in unforeseen circumstances that could endanger your life.

If you have planned before any worst case scenarios happened, you are more likely to avoid panicking but be able to know what has to be done to survive.  Speaking of brain training, do not practice passivity—thinking as if nothing is or has gone wrong. While it may sound so incredible and at the same time quite normal, it may not lead you to survival because what you do with passivity is to wait for other people to act or to make an order.

Remember, you are the one in-charge of your safety during the collapse of the civilization and no one else. Then, you also have to remain calm.  Don’t be like others who are frightened, wandering in the aftermath of the breakdown because this is a great danger to do. Panic only increases any irrational thinking and adding to the overall situation.

Real fear can help you survive because there is urgency to act. It is an instinct that people all have for their purpose to survive. Instead of shunning away fear by acting fearless, embrace it so that it can guide you in situations when you would need to make quick decisions.

Keep your calm and practice fair judgment

During the collapse, you, just like the rest, will be under great pressure and stress. You are encouraged to engage in physical activities, such as puzzles, exercises and board games in the aftermath of the breakdown. You will need to invest time in these activities to give your brain some time to learn practical skills and to let it breathe from all the chaotic scenarios around.

And in times of social collapse, people are more likely to engage in heated arguments and fights. Keep a level head and be fair to everyone, and as much as possible try resolving matters before they occur. If you were sensing tension growing between people, you can try and help them resolve any issue before it could turn into a physical confrontation. Speak to every person involved without any bias. You shouldn’t also try and be a dictator, but calm their spirits using a firm but soothing tone of speech.

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You don’t want to make the situation worse by taking sides, so you should be able to practice fair judgment and try to calm parties involved in the argument. In this time, someone, maybe you, has to act as a leader that will lead the people to their survival, especially if you were all trapped inside a building and all that everyone else needs to do is to stay calm, while deciding on the best action to take to survive the situation.

How civilizations collapse

While no one could predict what tomorrow could bring, it is best to stay alert and prepared for everything that might happen. During a civilization collapse when everyone’s main mission is to survive, it is best that you learn of these actions to take in times of emergencies. Perhaps, it is more likely that you stay alive if you prepared than to be caught in the situation unprepared.

When preparing for the civilization collapse, you should also start within yourself. Train your brain on how to deal with such situations so that it would know exactly what to do when you’re in front of the enemy (catastrophes, social unrests, riots, and all things that come with civilization collapse).

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About the author

David Dawson

David Dawson is a retired security specialist with over 20 years of experience. He worked for a secret manufacturing facilities and hospitals in Illinois. David's responsibility was to protect people in case of any disaster or cataclysm that might occur. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and survive flood, earthquake or even war.


  • I agree that developing social skills can save lives. Even if you have nothing at all, if you have friends then you have a chance to survive.
    On the other hand, you might want to withdraw from the chaos as far as possible which is why it is important to learn how to live independently and hide yourself effectively.
    It depends on you, and on the nature of the catastrophe/disaster, but I think the rules apply, in fact, having rules is a great tool of survival.

  • We live in fear in our day and age. Changes must be made to fix this behavior. Imagine if the worst case scenario did happen. Your family may end up stabbing you in the back in hopes of survival. I hope if the last days do come, we don’t need to turn to such means.

  • This is a really tedious preparation. A month is too long to prepare for, much more a year. I’ve also just checked on food-grade containers and they’re quite expensive, and following your advice would mean buying a lot of this expensive storage container. Are there no other less expensive water safe containers? Or is it possible to DIY them at a lesser cost?

    • The expensive ones aren’t the best ones. Try using the cheap containers but line them with the largest clip-lock food bags that you can buy for water and all types of food( grains and beans, etc. and all types of perishables). You can buy large clip-lock bags just about anywhere.

  • In the event of an imminent attack the best survival weapon is organization. You need to be able to access your survival gear and other essentials at ease without any complications.

  • A zip-lock bag is a good choice because it’s highly user-friendly due to the secure locking top which provides an excellent way to keep out foreign substances.

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