Even an average person with no interest in survival or prepping could probably list for you at least five different types of disasters, mostly natural ones. Yet, when you sit down to plan for emergency events and how to prepare for them you’ll find there are only two basic types.
Yes, that’s right. I said two. On sure, there are floods, hurricanes, fire fires, terrorist strikes, chemical spills and dozens more on the list of things that can upset your little world. But overall they still fall into one of the other of these categories.
THE BOLT OUT OF THE BLUE
This is an event that is totally unexpected and can’t be predicted, at least by the average person and of which there is no chance of any early warning. These are “ready or not, here I come” events.
On the natural side, earthquakes generally fit the bill. While there is some talk of minor quakes before a major one, there is still no means of prior warning that can be relied on. For those on coasts, the earthquake’s partner, the tsunami, while unexpected may have some prior warning. It is also possible for a solar flare to either be moving so fast or be so unpredictable as to leave little time to react before it fries the electrical grid.
Tornados are a bit of a joker as there can be warnings of conditions in general (storm expected) and when conditions call for taking shelter. (sirens, etc.) But it is not exact enough to say any particular town or area is going to have a tornado touch down.
Flash flooding is a real threat, but generally, there is some warning of possible conditions.
On the man-made side, however, we have more possible “bolts” than not. From various levels of terrorist actions to no related shootings, nuke plant accidents, chemical spills, train derailments, and other major disasters down to the simple yet disruptive electricity lost because someone hit a pole and took down power lines, or a local water main broke.
THE SLOW MOVING TRAIN WRECK
This is an event that can be seen heading your way and that gives you some time to get ready for it.
On the natural side, this includes hurricanes, major summer storms, winter ice storms, blizzards along with secondary effects such as floods, trees or limbs taking out power lines, water systems affected by run-offs, bank, ATM, and other card systems down. This could also include a solar flare headed towards earth that could cause an EMP effect on electrical systems but allow enough time to give some warning.
On the man-made side, we have less possible events that the average can see. But a general check of certain trends may alert you to more serious problems ahead. Any type of urban unrest may affect your local stores being supplied if it gets out of hand. Any serious disruption or effect on oil supplies may, in turn, affect everything from your gasoline (transport) to electricity. Any type of government action that indicates cuts in social programs or any economic instability beyond the norm, or any sharp rise in cost of basic goods should be a red flag.
THE GREY AREAS
This is where an area is known for certain possible natural events and could have some types of man-made. If you live in “Tornado Alley,” any area known to have a few tornados, in a flood plain, in a known earthquake area, on a flight path to an airport, within 25 miles of a nuke plant, or near a major city or near any rail or pipeline; you are in the land of possible disaster.
I am going to exclude here something like the Yellowstone Super Volcano as that falls under totally cataclysmic. The New Madrid fault which would affect the mid-west is also tricky as it has shifted within the last 200 years, but may not do again for another 200 or more. Learn about these and decide for yourself.
In my opinion, these factors are some of the reasons why I advise people to base their survival and prepping plans NOT on a specific event, but on the idea of how they will live if they are cut off by whatever reason for however long from all that is the normal “grid”. Why the lights just went out may not be as important as having a flashlight ready when they do.