ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
It’s great to say everyone should prepare for disasters, but it is important to prepare wisely. A wise prepper looks at historical disasters to determine which ones are most likely to happen next.
Californians know they should be prepared for earthquakes, while people living in northern states should prepare for blizzards.
Gulf Coast states experience numerous hurricanes, while western states frequently battle wild fires.
A riot is much more likely to occur in Chicago than it is in the small Missouri town of Sullivan. A terrorist act is more probable in New York City than in Boise.
However, a hazardous chemical spill, gas explosion, fire, or power outage can occur in any town or city. Below you’ll find a list of possible disasters or events for review and research guidance. It will be necessary to use your judgment, based on where you live, concerning items like rioting and war.
The FEMA site categorizes disasters as natural, human-caused, and technological. Their list of disasters includes the following:
- Cyber attacks (bringing down essential community services)
- Dam or levee failures
- Disease outbreaks (epidemic)
- Extreme heat
- Fire (wildlands or structures)
- Food shortages (due to supplier interruptions, weather, etc.)
- Hazardous chemicals (accidents and intentional)
- Nuclear plant disaster (radiation exposure)
- Power outages
- Riots (demonstrations)
- Structural failures (i.e. bridge collapse)
- Terrorist acts (chemical, biological, nuclear, explosives)
- Thunderstorm (severe with lightning, hail and wind)
- Tropical storm
- Municipal water contamination or plant failure
- Winter storms
Reading down the list can put fear in your heart unless you’re willing to prepare in advance for some of these situations. Though it is impossible to predict the future, you can find out which of the disasters on the list are most likely to occur in your area.
After all, there is no sense storing snow shovels if there is almost zero probability of a blizzard in your area. Therefore, the first survival step is preparing a realistic risk assessment.
You can find out what could happen or is most likely to happen in your particular area by contacting any of the following agencies or organizations:
Contact your state Emergency Preparedness Agency and ask (listing at: http://www.aoa.gov/aoaroot/Preparedness/Resources_Network/emergency_preparedness.aspx)
Contact your local health department
Contact the local chapter of the American Red Cross (to find local chapters: http://www.redcross.org/find-your-local-chapter)
The questions to ask include the following:
- What specific disasters are most likely to occur in your community?
- Can the agency send free information on preparedness?
- Is there a public warning system, what sounds are signaled, and what are the typical warnings for?
- What should you do when you hear the warning system?
At this stage, you are merely collecting information in preparation for making a plan.