Top 21 Disasters and Emergencies Most Likely to Occur

Whenever 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.

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 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.

dog looking at pick-up truck across flooded road
dog looking at pick-up truck across flooded road


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.

firefighters putting out a fire
firefighters putting out a fire


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 democracy, 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 hurricaneshave 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.


A 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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7 thoughts on “Top 21 Disasters and Emergencies Most Likely to Occur”

  1. 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

  2. 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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