Top 21 Disasters and Emergencies Most Likely to Occur

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]henever you think about prepping it is easy to think about the major SHTF disasters that everyone talks about often, such as nuclear strikes, major floods, EMPs and what have you.

But what disasters should we be preparing for the most? What is the thing that is most likely to force us into our preps for survival, or push us to our BOL? We need to take a look at what is most likely to affect us, and tailor our preps to meet the most important needs.

Loss of Income

The number one event that will alter our current way of life and could very well push us deep into our preps is a loss of income. Be it from losing a job, or some other cause, being prepared to lose your income by having emergency funds and supplies for at least 3 months, preferably a year, will keep you from scrambling if something happens to your cash flow.

car in flames

Vehicle Crash

Almost every day we travel to and from by car or truck. At any second, we could be in a major crash without warning and without fault on our part. With the explosion of distracted driving with people texting and driving and otherwise not paying attention to the road, we need to take our safety into our own hands.

Paying attention to the road, and using your seat-belt can go a long way, but having an emergency kit in the vehicle, and a way of communicating in case of an emergency can also help.

Medical Emergency / Injury

Another event that can strike without notice or warning is a medical issue or severe injury. Breaking a leg or contracting a disease that leaves you bed ridden or hospitalized can wreak havoc on your life and finances, especially if you have others depending on you. Making sure we have good insurance and emergency funds can help reduce stress from these kinds of events.

Major Car Repairs

We depend on our vehicles to transport us to work, school, grocery stores, and everywhere else. They are complicated machines however, and sometimes they breakdown.

Now, for most preppers a simple car repair wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but what if it was a major repair, or worse, couldn’t be repaired? Having plans for a back up vehicle, or a simpler bug out vehicle such as a bike, can come in handy if your main one decides to give out completely.

house burning down in flames

House Fire

It can happen in a blink of an eye, and because of a thousand different things. House fires destroy homes and displace families every hour of every day. You can not only lose your shelter, but also your preps, and your stockpile. This is why it is vital to not store all your preps in one area.


Floods contain enormous amounts of force, and can destroy entire neighborhoods. As weather patterns worsen across the nation, we are experiencing more and more heavy rainstorms.

The water dumped by these storms swell streams and rivers to the point that they explode from their banks, and can level homes and destroy properties.



Tornadoes are another threat that can tear everything in its path to shreds in mere minutes, and with little warning. Like other weather phenomenon, tornado outbreaks have become more frequent, and with larger and more powerful twisters. Having a secure safe area with safe stores of preps will help if your house gets hit.


Wildfires have also become larger and more problematic in the last 10 years. This is partly due to society’s continued encroachment into the natural areas surrounding our cities, but can also be connected to high winds and dry conditions. A major wildfire like the one that tore through Gatlinburg, TN on June 30, 2017, is as powerful as any tornado that has ever touched the earth.

Wildfires move fast and destroy without prejudice, often leaving nothing but ashes and burned out shells in its path

Chemical Event

Another emergency one needs to prepare for is a chemical or hazardous material event. Chemicals are all around us in today’s world. A large fire at a factory or a burst train car can spread dangerous chemicals and lead to an evacuation of a neighborhood or prompt a call for a “shelter in place” from authorities. This is something we need to be prepared for at home, at work, and in our vehicles.

Sinkholes / Rockslides

Another disaster that has become common in the news is sinkholes opening up and large rockslides coming down into neighborhoods. Areas that haven’t experienced slides in decades are having large slides due to increased rainfall and many other factors.

Sinkholes have also became a huge problem in a lot of areas, and open often without warning. A good example is the sinkhole that opened under the Corvette museum in Bowling Green, Ky in 2014, that swallowed 8 rare corvettes.

A Grid Down Event

This is one event that is well talked about, but also very likely. The nation’s aging infrastructure, continued dependence on electronics, and vast expansion of our current networks, mean that our power grid is growing increasingly susceptible to a large scale grid down event.

The threat is even greater the further you get from the city. The biggest reason this event is so likely is due to the numerous things that could cause it. Severe weather, EMPs, earthquakes, terrorism, cyber attacks, and many others could take our grid down for weeks or even months under the right circumstances.


As the terrorist groups continue to attempt to disrupt and destroy american life, we are always under the threat of possible terror attacks. From small, localized attacks, to larger, regional or national attacks, we have to always be ready to either take shelter or to bug out to avoid the after effects of these attacks and their possible fallout.


Major Hurricane

Major hurricanes have been increasing in frequency along with the rest of the severe weather threats. Large hurricanes, such as Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria in 2017, cause enormous amounts of damage across huge swaths of the country.

This stresses the government response and can cause further fallout with riots and looting. The sheer expanse of a hurricane is maddening, and very difficult to prepare for.


Earthquakes can strike completely unsuspected with the power of a nuclear weapon. Leveling buildings and creating havoc all over. There is little you can do to prep for earthquakes with the exception of having a good bug out plan, a complete earthquake kit, and a fully-stocked stocked BOL.

The best thing one can do is to move away from earthquake prone areas before a major quakes hits. This would allow you to sell your home, and purchase a new one in a safer area, rather than risk your home being destroyed. Note that this would also include moving away from the Yellowstone caldera.


Drought is a little easier to see coming, but can still cause a major event. Not only can it affect water supplies, but also food production, fire conditions, and health.

The best prep for drought is making sure you either have large supplies or water, or building redundancy into your water supply. Building a pond on your property or digging a well will give you a backup supply of water should the tap run dry.

Flash Flooding

We already talked about flooding, but flash floods are an entirely different beast. Flash flooding is when huge amounts of water drops on a small area very rapidly. It creates currents of water and can turn streets into raging rivers, with enough power to pick up cars and tear out foundations.

Make sure you have a plan to get you and your vehicles to higher ground. Also try to identify drainage avenues and slopes that could house water currents in the event of a sudden downpour. It may be necessary to make changes to route these areas from your home.


Volcanic Eruption

Volcanoes are generally very docile and safe to live around. However, as Hawaii is currently experiencing, no matter how much we study them, they are forces of nature and will be unpredictable when they become active.

The need exists not only for a bug out plan, but also an INCH bag and plan. Like earthquake prone areas, the best preparation is to move away from areas of concern. Selling your house is always a better option that having to abandon it.

Civil Unrest

Of all the unpredictable forces that exists, large crowds of people are some of the worst. Civil unrest can be local, regional, or national. Concentrated in certain areas or widespread. You have to have a plan with multiple contingencies, with at least one of them being to bug out.

Remember that the event that triggered the unrest, such as a hurricane or economic collapse, could also hinder any bug out plans.


Pandemic is one of the scariest scenarios we could face. From the devastating effects of widespread illness to the service interruptions from people either being sick themselves or taking care of other sick people and family members, this is a major scale event.

With the emergence of so called “superbugs” and the continuance of antibiotic resistance, containing and treating outbreaks will only continue to become more and more difficult. Private stores of medications as well as means to avoid contagious people such as masks and other barrier devices are a must.

Economic Collapse

You hear a lot about “economic collapse”, but many wonder if it is actually a threat. It’s hard to know if it could all collapse, but being prepared for the possibility means strengthening things such as our emergency funds, food preps, BOL, and many other areas that we use for other situations. Economic collapse is not so much its own event, as it is a combination of others.

Labor Strikes

Labor strikes are something that not a lot of people consider as a threat, but what is you woke up tomorrow and there was no hospital available? What about the water company employees or the truck drivers that bring supplies to the store shelves?

Making sure you have enough supplies not only to sustain yourself and your family, but also handle any emergencies that crop up, can be a vital asset if the workers we depend on everyday have a work stoppage.


Which of these 21 disasters and emergencies do you think are most likely to affect YOU? Let us know win the comments section below.

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9 thoughts on “Top 21 Disasters and Emergencies Most Likely to Occur”

  1. ***The best thing one can do is to move away from earthquake prone areas before a major quakes hits.***

    I’m going to say this advice applies to other potential disasters besides earthquakes and volcanoes.

    Flood & Flash Flooding – don’t even think of buying a home any place where even a thousand-year flood is possible. If you have one now or inherit such a dwelling, sell out and move. Ditto for the Flash situations.

    Wildfire – don’t live in wildfire territory, period.

    Chemical Event – anywhere with X miles of a chemical plant or busy railroad track is too close. My guess for a value of X would be five miles, but that could be wildly off. Ditto for LNG storage sites and harbors. Ditto for nuclear power plants.

    Sinkholes / Rockslides Until ground-penetrating radar becomes common, I don’t see much to do about sinkholes. Rockslides are in the category of mudslides with me – don’t live close to places these could happen. Downstream from large dams probably fits here too – just don’t be there.

    Major Hurricane – don’t live near a coast. Sea levels are going to rise ever more rapidly, and insurance will make ordinary life unbearable, not to mention your house getting destroyed by storm surges.

    An unmentioned disaster is the Tsunami. Natural ones are bad enough, but man-made ones could be much worse. Lots and lots of reasons to avoid coastal regions.

    House Fire/Tornado – I’m grouping these two because they sort of have a common solution. Houses which are darned near fireproof can be constructed.

    That’s from the September 1977 issue of Popular Science. A modern architect might well have even more good ideas. If I had such a place I’d surely consider limiting my insurance payments to Liability Coverage. People needn’t be helpless with tornadoes either.

    As the article says, government plans are available. The cost of mine was under $1000 several years ago, and even with higher material prices I suspect I could match that now. The metal-framed steel door was the most expensive part, yet the weakest spot in the structure. My door has since been reinforced to the extent that’s no longer true.

    Regarding vehicle crashes, I believe the single best thing I’ve done was to acquire a car with cruise control. I haven’t had a speeding ticket since then, and I find driving a speck slower gives me more time to react. The texting idiots are far worse than the drunks of the Good Old Days for the simple reason there are so many more of them. People who refuse to wear their seat belts are at least as stupid as those who won’t get their vaccination.

    — Medical Emergency / Injury — This is an issue for which I have no good solution. Two days ago I almost fell while entering a store. The reason? The store managers had covered a substantial hole in the concrete floor with a freaking floor mat. What if I had taken a tumble and broken something? Merely darkening the door of a modern “emergency room” is likely to bankrupt a person.

    In an overview of disasters, look at what has happened to Puerto Rico. Despite being American Citizens, they tend to have the wrong skin color and speak the wrong language, so after their dreadful hurricane experiences they’ve been left to rot. Modern “government” in my area is more interested in cutting costs and sticking ever-higher fees on everything. Doing anything for “citizens” is no longer anywhere near the top of their agenda. In my personal opinion the “Economic Collapse” scenario will be a deliberate one very much like the German experience after WW1.

  2. My Thoughts On:
    Considerations For Prep Planning
    By Jerry D Young

    As for what I prepare for, I prepare less by type of disaster than I do by basic human needs. The basic needs are pretty much the same, no matter what the disaster. As I meet my goals for the basics I do specific things for specific disasters. There really are not that many individual elements that are not appropriate for several sets of circumstances. My ultimate goal is to be as self-sufficient for as long of a period as it is practical to be in modern society.

    This is a list of the things I consider when I am making preps, in alphabetical order. The dangers in some of them relate directly to peoples’ belief in them, as much as the actual event. Some things do not have to happen to be a danger. The mere belief can be enough to set people on a destructive path.

    (No. I am not ready for all of them yet. And yes, some of them simply call for having your affairs in order.)

    1) A New Evil charismatic leader (Hitler /Stalin /Mao style)
    2) A New Messiah
    3) A new Persian Empire
    4) Abolishment /unconstitutional rewrite of the US constitution
    5) Active shooter at public venue /business
    6) Active shooter at school /college campus
    7) Addictive Entertainment
    8) Advanced Technology disaster
    9) Agenda 21
    10) Airplane crash
    11) Anarchy
    12) Antibiotic resistant bacteria
    13) Armageddon
    14) Atmospheric River storm /severe flooding
    15) Automotive accident
    16) Avalanche
    17) Aztlan /Reconquista Uprising
    18) Bank closure /failure /mandated bank holiday
    19) Bath Salt drug zombies
    20) Becoming a refugee
    21) Becoming lost in the megalopolis
    22) Becoming lost in the wilderness
    23) Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (fungi /pesticide /parasites) crop pollination failures
    24) Biblical flood
    25) Biblical plagues
    26) Biological war /attack
    27) Black hole appearance
    28) Blackout
    29) Blizzard
    30) Boat wreck /ship wreck
    31) Brownout
    32) Carrington Event /Massive solar flare
    33) Celestial object impact /near miss
    34) Central US major tectonic /volcanic activity
    35) Chemical war /attack
    36) Civil war
    37) Civilian disarmament
    38) Cloning of dangerous plants /animals
    39) Cloning of humans
    40) Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)
    41) Communication restrictions
    42) Corporate /industrial flight from the US
    43) Crime wave
    44) Criminal Coup of the government
    45) Crop failures
    46) Dam failure /collapse
    47) Dangerous wildlife confrontation
    48) Dark matter /anti-matter incident
    49) Declining drinking water aquifer levels
    50) Destruction /loss of the middle class
    51) DHS take over
    52) Draconian police powers /actions
    53) Drinking water aquifer contamination /poisoning
    54) Drought
    55) Dust bowl
    56) Earth Core Cooling
    57) Earth orbit shift
    58) Earthquake
    59) Eco-system collapse
    60) Electro Magnetic Pulse attack (EMP attack)
    61) Electro Magnetic Pulse from coronal mass ejection or other solar activity
    62) Encroachment of drinking water aquifers by seawater
    63) Environmental disaster
    64) Epidemic
    65) Ethnic war
    66) Evidence of extraterrestrials
    67) Exodus of important skill holders from the US
    68) Exodus of the wealthy /rich from the US
    69) Extraterrestrial biological contamination
    70) Federal police force w /broad powers circumventing civilian protections
    71) Fire storm
    72) Flash mob violence /criminal event
    73) Flash flood
    74) Food shortages /price increases
    75) Forest fire /wild fire
    76) Fuel shortages /price increases
    77) Fungal infections of food staples crops
    78) Gamma ray burst from neutron star collision
    79) Global cooling /Ice Age
    80) Global nuclear war
    81) Global warming
    82) Gold /PM recall
    83) Gold /PM restrictions
    84) Government Tyranny
    85) Grand Alignment induced tectonic activity
    86) Great Lakes drainage event (to the Ohio River due to tectonic activity)
    87) Ground surface tilt /rise /subsidence from tectonics /magma movement
    88) Gulf Stream shutdown /subsidence
    89) Hail
    90) Hazmat incident
    91) Heat wave
    92) Home gardening restrictions
    93) Home invasion
    94) Hostage situation
    95) Hostile extraterrestrials
    96) House /apartment /building fire
    97) Hurricane
    98) Hypercane
    99) Ice Storm
    100) Infrastructure collapse /failures
    101) Invasion of the US
    102) Invasive plant and animal species
    103) Kidnapped
    104) Lahar
    105) Landslide /mudslide
    106) Large scale JIT delivery failures
    107) Limited nuclear war /attack
    108) Limnic eruption
    109) Local major accident (aircraft /auto /rail /building)
    110) Local major crime
    111) Local /regional gun grab
    112) Lockdown at school /college campus
    113) Lockdown at work /business
    114) Loss of job
    115) Magnetic pole shift
    116) Major conventional war
    117) Major economic depression
    118) Major nuclear power plant incident
    119) Major Tax Rate increases
    120) Martial Law
    121) Massive tectonic activity
    122) Massive /rapid increase in the poverty level /numbers
    123) Maunder Minimum low sunspot cycle triggered ice age
    124) Medical emergency
    125) Mega Quake (New Madrid seismic zone, Cascadia subduction zone)
    126) Mega Tsunami (La Palma, West Antarctic Ice Sheet)
    127) Mega Volcano (Yellowstone Caldera)
    128) Methane Hydrate release
    129) Mississippi River bed change
    130) National bankruptcy /default
    131) Nationwide /global economic breakdown
    132) Nemesis induced Oort Cloud meteorite rain
    133) New colonial activity (France /Spain /Portugal /Italy /Germany /Japan /China /Russia /Great Britain /Brazil /Venezuela)
    134) New, more restrictive assault weapons ban
    135) New World Order (NWO)
    136) Out of control bio-genetics /bio-technology
    137) Out of control Nano-technology /robotics
    138) Overpopulation
    139) Ozone layer depletion
    140) Pandemic /Syndemic pandemic
    141) Peaceful extraterrestrials
    142) Peak oil
    143) Personal financial breakdown
    144) Personal /family catastrophic illness
    145) Personal impact crimes
    146) Pestilence
    147) Political unrest /backlash
    148) Pyroclastic flow
    149) Racial war
    150) Rainforest deforestation
    151) Rampant inflation
    152) Rapid Population Decline
    153) Refugees
    154) Regional climate change
    155) Released /escaped dangerous zoo /circus animals
    156) Religious war
    157) Resource war
    158) Rogue Military Activity
    159) Rotational pole shift
    160) Runaway GM food plant failure /cross contamination
    161) Safe deposit box (non-bank) restrictions /closures
    162) Sand /dust storms /Haboob
    163) Sea level drop
    164) Sea level rise
    165) Second coming
    166) Seceding of one or more states from the US
    167) Sentient computer(s) take over
    168) Severe Lightning
    169) Sheriffs lose arrest rights /authority
    170) Shipwrecked /marooned
    171) Shortages of goods and services for a variety of reasons
    172) Sinkholes
    173) Slow rise flood
    174) Social break down
    175) Solar radiation increase /decrease
    176) State bankruptcy /default
    177) Strikes /boycotts /embargoes /price controls
    178) Sub-atomic particle research accident
    179) Sudden regional major population shift
    180) Super-storm
    181) Tailings pond dam failure /collapse
    182) Terrorism of all types
    183) The Anti-Christ
    184) Tornado
    185) Total gun ban /confiscation
    186) Train wreck
    187) Travel restrictions
    188) Tsunami
    189) UN Small Arms Treaty
    190) UN /One World Government
    191) US civilian coup
    192) US military coup
    193) US revolution
    194) Utilities failures
    195) Vehicle breakdown /stranded
    196) Volcano
    197) Water shortages
    198) Water system contamination /poisoning
    199) Wealth redistribution (by currency exchange /tax rates)
    200) Weapons restrictions
    201) Weather Modification attack
    202) Widespread civil unrest /riots
    203) Wild animal rampage
    204) World Population dramatic increase
    205) Zombies /vampires /werewolves /other supernatural dangers (Just kidding! Sort of. The mere belief in can be/cause a disaster.)

    It has come to my attention recently that there is another whole list of potential disasters that, while some are mentioned in the above list as primary events to prepare for, there are some things that will not likely occur, or even be possible before a major disaster occurs and /or we wind up in a PAW situation. The things listed below are not only possible, but rather likely in many different scenarios.

    1) Millions of abandoned pets eating food supplies needed by humans, and possibly attacking humans
    2) Hundreds of thousands of swimming pools, especially in urban and suburban areas left with water in them that will breed billions of mosquitoes that could carry diseases
    3) Abandoned nuclear power plants that were not safely shut down manually or automatically at the outset of the disaster that could eventually have radioactive materials escape and contaminate a locality, and possibly a larger area.
    4) Abandoned dangerous chemicals (including chemical and/or biological warfare materials), the containers of which could be damaged, releasing the chemicals into residential areas, or contaminating areas to a very dangerous degree. Could be from damaged /deteriorating /flooded research facilities; manufacturing plants, transport vehicles, end-user plants, farms and farm supply facilities (in case of dangerous farm chemicals), or military storage sites.
    5) Abandoned toxic/flammable waste dumps that could release their contents into the environment
    6) Landfills that could catch fire and burn uncontrollably, releasing hazardous smoke, even radioactive smoke in some cases
    7) Oil and gas pipelines, that once they are without constant maintenance will deteriorate and begin leaking their contents into the environment
    8) Explosion risk from heavy explosive gasses in low areas and buildings (propane, methane, etc.)
    9) While I do not believe Nuclear Winter will occur due to fires started by nuclear weapons, in the absence of highly trained and well equipped firefighters, there is almost a certainty that there will be huge forest fires that will burn out of control, often in the vary areas where preppers set up their facilities
    10) Areas with closely spaced residential, commercial, and industrial buildings could easily be destroyed on a very large scale without benefit of modern firefighting capabilities
    11) Raw sewage released from damaged /deteriorating /flooded treatment facilities /collection pipe system
    12) Water and food sources contaminated from any of the above
    13) Human food (plant and animal) mutated into dangerous/unhealthy types by any of the above
    14) Explosion risk from heavy explosive gasses in low areas and buildings (propane, methane, etc.)
    15) High risk of physical danger going into damaged /deteriorating /flooded buildings /structures /locations that have high value salvage materials /goods
    16) High risk of physical danger using damaged /deteriorating /missing /flooded highway hazard crossings (bridges /over passes /etc.) to avoid going around
    17) Release of dangerous animals/pets from public zoos /private zoos /homes
    18) The development of the ever popular MZB (Mutant Zombie Bikers) (no offense to real bikers) and other raiding type groups
    19) The spread of aggressive religious groups
    20) Anarchy (for a while)
    21) Loss of animal /plant /human habitats due to local contaminates
    22) Loss of animal /plant /human habitats due to changes in weather

    Just my opinion.

    Jerry D Young

  3. Steve,
    I liked the article; it puts a number of very possible scenarios into risk perspective. Though they are a significant and present risk, I do disagree that storms and flooding are increasing in frequency and intensity. I think there is ample evidence that counters the global warming alarmist, but I will offer one explanation: Astrophysicists who look at solar cycles do highlight a significant threat that was not covered in this list, and that is global cooling. In coming years, it is likely that extreme cold could become a predominant survival factor, so cold weather gear, training, and agricultural considerations should be a part of our short and long term planning. And cold weather will also compound pandemics and food scarcity, further exacerbating potential civil unrest. I prefer our current balmy temps, but it is always good to “be prepared”.

    1. I agree with you
      We are letting something very important happen!
      Search for Solar Minimals and you will see!
      I live in Brazil, not everything applies to Brazilian conditions, but I will read and adapt.
      Sorry for my english

  4. Steve,

    I live fairly close to you (Union City, TN.) and have just started becoming more serious about prepping. I have always maintained two or three weeks worth of supplies. I have military experience and a fairly extensive knowledge of woodland living hunting and trapping as I was a long line trapper for several years when in my 20’s and spent most of the year living in the forest. I’m an avid gardener and can my own food for myself and my family so although I’m fairly self sufficient I’m confident under the right conditions i could become totally self sufficient in a pinch at least short term.

    The main problem is in the area of the country you and I love their is little natural resources available. Oh sure right now it could be done though it would be very difficult but in a crises situation there would be a lot of competition for what few resources there are around here. Th is something I don’t see many people addressing.. Those who have never lived in a wilderness setting but have only did a little hunting on the weekend think they can just go shoot a deer but in a SHTF situation there will be a ton of people attempting the same thing and what few natural resources there are will quickly go to ground.

    So unless blessed with a lot of land and the number of people and the ability to defend it the alternative is either huge stockpiles of food and water which of course begs a place to store it that stays dry and doesn’t get hot or leaving for a section of country in which survival off the land and the grid could feasibly be done. And that is the route I’ve decided to take. I keep several weeks worth of supplies as well as.some additional sillies and fuel at.strategic spots along the route i i intend to take to a place that very few people would venture to get would have the resources for long term sustainability.

    But someone on their own especially someone my age (55) that would be iffy at best. Native Americans often used banishment from the group as an ultimate punishment and for good reason. Because someone on their own in the wilderness without either help from others in a group of without access to ample supplies such as spare parts, ammunition, fat and oils and medicine even if an expert would find long term survival tenuous at best.

    So finally comes my question. Do you know any groups in the area who have come together in order to better prepare themselves for an emergency event that might be a good fit for someone of my abilities and limitations?

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