For those of you who are unaware of what T.S.H.T.F. means, here it is, “The Sh*T Hits The Fan”. It is not the most pleasant of expressions, but it certainly gets the point across. So if you are looking to survive the feces hitting the fan, you are going to want to find yourself some decent shelter.
The shelter that you are going to either build or find depends on what your survival situation is.
If, for example, you are in a flash flood, an apartment is going to be your best choice. Just make sure that it is not on the verge of collapsing. That would be far worse. If travel is not an option, you might want to consider bringing some supplies and a tent up onto your roof for a few days, or until you are rescued. There are other options in a flood situation. You could find or make a tree fort, you might encounter some kids in it though and unless you are the kind of person who is going to toss kids out of their tree fort, that is probably the last option that you are going to want to explore. It has always been the best option for everyone during a flood is to just find some high ground. There will probably be lots of other people on this high ground, so be prepared for some communal living for a while.
There are many other kind of emergency situations that you might encounter but lets just say that a far superior alien race is attacking earth. This might seem hopeless, and quite terrible and the superior extraterrestrials are probably going to try to exterminate as many humans as possible so you need to find some place that is away from the major cities. This is going to be quite a dangerous trek, but once you get there, you will be better off than 90% of the population which will have been destroyed with the cities that they live in.
So if you live in the East half of North America, look at the picture and see exactly where you should be heading. For those of you who live elsewhere, I suggest that you find a satellite image of your local area at night and go to the areas that are the darkest. Theses tips are good for massive nuclear strikes, plague, war, and other devastating events like that.
Once you are away from the lit areas, I hope that you have some knowledge of wilderness survival, because you are going to need it. Especially if you are heading out there during winter months.
There are many other situations that are going to need you to find shelter A.S.A.P. If you find yourself caught in the fallout of a nuclear blast, you are going to need to protect yourself from the radioactive fallout. There are a few types of radiation that you are going to have to deal with if you want to survive a nuclear strike. The first is the initial light and heat radiation. The light can blind you, so no matter how awesome a nuclear blast is, do not look at it. The heat from the explosion will melt the flesh off of your bones. I got no advice for this one, except G.T.F.O. There are also contaminates in the particles falling to earth after the nuclear strike. The first is alpha radiation. Alpha radiation can be wiped and washed off of your skin and hair. Change your clothes if you can, because this radiation, if not removed quickly, will cause cancer.
Defending yourself from gamma radiation will require more of a fortress than a simple shelter. Unlike alpha radiation, which falls to earth in the particles from the blast, gamma radiation is a photon (like sunlight) that can penetrate through dense materials like concrete. This is guaranteed to cause cancer if you are exposed for more than just a few minutes. You are going to have to find your way to the center of a building with lots of concrete and place what ever you can over every entrance and even pile dense materials against the walls for some extra protection. This point is extremely important, make sure that you signal to the outside world that you are inside of this shelter somehow. There will be rescue teams, and you do not want them to pass by you.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I like to think about the most extreme situations. I guess I really am a pessimist, but it is a good idea to be prepared for the worst, so minor emergencies will be easy to cope with.
There are too many survival situations to think of and all of them are going to require you to find a different kind of shelter. If you just use some creativity and ingenuity, you will be able to construct any shelter for any situation.