A lot of non-preppers, are laughing at the fact that we’re a little too concerned with the future of the United States… and the world for that matter. You know what they say, right: disaster is always 6 months away.
Well, I don’t mean to sound paranoid, but the number of threats (both natural and man-made) that are hovering over your country are so many that just seeing them all in the same list would cause anyone to think long and hard about their prepping plans.
I’m surprised no one bothered to make such a list… After all, a lot of the little ones happen each and every single day and a big one could pop up at any time.
Speaking of which, the list below also includes localized disasters, not just the ones that threaten the entire country. It’s important to have an overview of every possible threat to your family so you can decide for yourself which are the ones you need to start preparing for right now.
The Full List of Man-Made Disasters
The possibility of Martial Law in America is not just fantasy, it actually happened before. Although it was localized, there are signs everywhere that it could happen again pretty soon and I have the most solid argument anyone could ever give you.
You may or may not know this but your Government released a series of executive orders that allow it to confiscate your food, water, electric generators, ammo, and so on in order to share supplies with the population in case of an emergency.
Why are they passing such orders and yet at the same time trying to assure us that Martial Law will never happen?
EMPs (electromagnetic pulses)
According to an article on the Wall-Street Journal, more and more countries have the ingredients for an EMP attack that would pretty much wipe out the entire U.S. power grid, as well as anything that runs on electricity, in a matter of seconds. No electronics will work unless you have them secured in Faraday cages.
The EMP Commission has long warned about this and the studies done by the government show that 9 in 10 Americans will probably die, not because of the attack itself, but because of lack of food, water, and the entire array of other effects that would follow such an attack.
Although it’s not that easy to launch an electromagnetic pulse attack on a country as great as America, it’s still a very real possibility.
Plus, since every country is doing its best to improve it’s military technology, you never know when they’ll finally gain that edge and launch the attack.
Although a civil war or a revolution seem improbable, consider what happened during the Ferguson riots that spread in no less than 160 American cities.
And to think it all started with a simple shooting. This is proof of just how fragile our society really is.
You need to know how to prepare for riots, what to do if you’re caught up in one, and have a plan to hide and protect yourself if things escalate beyond a few thousand angry protesters.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), someone dies because of a fire in the U.S. every 2-3 hours and someone is injured every 30 minutes.
Plus, there’s a home fire reported every 85 seconds, an outdoor fire reported every 56 seconds, and a vehicle fire reported every 156 seconds. These stats are from 2013, but they’re still more than relevant today.
If you think you don’t need to take precautionary measures, think again. Faulty or old electrical wires, cooking, and heating appliances and even intentional fires, should be more than enough reason to get you thinking.
See, civilian fires are the best proof that prepping is not just about zombies and Doomsday. Prepping is about getting ready for any kind of danger that threatens the life and safety of your family.
Here are just a few things you can do prepare:
- have fire extinguishers both in your home and your car;
- install fire alarms;
- have evacuation routes posted inside your home;
- practice fire drills to ensure you’re all capable of using the emergency routes to exit the burning building;
- have a fire blanket in your kitchen, next to the stove;
- …and many more.
Terrorist attacks are one of those threats where there isn’t much you can do to stop them. The best protection is to avoid large crowds, malls, rush hours, and cities altogether, if you can.
The way to “escape” (if you can call it that) is to continuously be on alert for suspicious activity, to notice shady people around you, and always be prepared to run like hell.
Crime (Property crime, hate crime, violent crime, rape etc.)
Assaults happen because we let them or rather because we are not prepared enough to prevent or stop them.
Many rape victims, for instance, may already know their attacker and may unknowingly issue “open invitations” through no fault of their own.
There’s a lot more to it of course, but the point I’m trying to make is that people who get attacked are often targeted because they appear weak, even though they may not realize it.
Would a few crime statistics help? Probably not, so I take it you’ve already done, or plan on doing some of the following:
- learn basic self-defense moves
- get into shape
- avoid dark streets and bad neighborhoods…
These are just a few of the simple rules you and your loved ones need to follow to avoid being victims.
OK, I guess I can’t help it but here’s a shocking statistic. Did you know that an American is sexually assaulted ever 107 seconds? I know these numbers are tough to swallow, but they all lead to the same conclusion, you need to prepare… right now.
Although the chances of getting killed in a plane crash are 1 in 4.6 million and 76% of people survive serious plane crashes, I prefer to see the empty half of the cup. 24% of plan crash victims die. To minimize your chances of becoming a victim, you should:
- read the safety card they give you on the plane,
- make sure you are prepared to get out of the plane as fast as possible following a crash to avoid the ensuing fire and smoke
- put your oxygen mask if there’s a pressure loss in the cabin
- make sure you wear clothing made of natural fiber when traveling, such as cotton or wool and avoid synthetic fibers such as polyester
- and, of course, to travel less (keep in mind that other means of transportation aren’t necessarily safer)
Though a plane crash is more or less out of your control, a car crash is something you can definitely prepare to prevent.
Take a defensive driving class, don’t drive while distracted or intoxicated, and make sure your car emergency kit has what you might need if a crash does occur.
I really don’t want to give you an entire list of “good driver 101” in this article. It’s worth asking yourself if you’re really doing everything you can to avoid an unfortunate car accident.
OK, I’m not going to get your hopes up by telling you that you can survive any nuclear attack… but you can try. Things like:
- Find shelter as soon as you are alerted to the disaster. Stay put for as long as you can, at least 48 hours to avoid the fallout radiation (a.k.a. residual radiation). If you are within 20 to 30 miles from the blast site, find a way to get out of there as soon as possible and THEN find shelter.
- Stockpile enough food and water to last you at least 3 months (the longer you stay inside, the better). Don’t forget to stock gas masks, a first aid kit, and so on.
- Only eat food that’s sealed and always wash your hands before you do so.
Again, I’m not looking to get your hopes up about surviving one of these, but this doesn’t mean you can’t do everything humanly possible to survive.
Also, keep in mind that a pandemic is very likely to occur after such an attack. You have to stay in quarantine as much as possible and avoid human contact at any cost.
A pandemic is an infectious disease that starts spreading across the population of a region. Of course, due to the global transportation systems, it can be a matter of hours before such a pandemic spreads to various corners of the country or the World.
We already had a dress rehearsal in 2009 when the H1N1 influenza virus killed 18,000 people.
Although most power outages only last a few minutes to a few hours, the likelihood of an extended blackout is real. You don’t need an EMP in order to bring down the power grid for 3 or 4 days.
Let’s not forget that the number of major power outages have risen from 76 in 2007 to 301 in 2011. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the U.S. power grid a pathetic D+.
Power outages are a perfect way to practice your bug-in plans. You’ll need a stockpile of food, water, and medicine. You need a way to keep you and your family warm and even entertained.
Explosions are the preferred way for terrorists to mass murder people. Keep in mind that gas leaks can also cause an explosion unexpectedly. For example, a gas leak explosion in 2014 in Manhattan killed 8 people, injured 70 people and completely destroyed two apartment buildings.
If you’re too close to an explosion, your chances of survival are slim so avoiding explosions should be the thing to focus on.
The best thing you can do right now is to make sure all your gas pipes and your electrical wiring is in good shape.
Next, you should assemble an Everyday Carry Kit that also has a small First-Aid Kit. Following an explosion, this will allow you to give first aid to anyone who needs it until the ambulances arrive.
Now, if you were near the explosion and got away unharmed, stay away from the damaged buildings. Stay away from cars and try not to drive away in your car to clear the way for the public officials.
Also, don’t forget to turn on to a local radio or TV channel to quickly find out what’s going on. Social media sites might also be of use.
Natural Disasters List
The Yellowstone Super-volcano Eruption and Other Volcanic Eruptions
I know, I know, there’s a very small chance of it happening. But throwing a couple of respirators in your bug-out bag is the least you can do as they’re really cheap. I wrote about this topic here.
To give you a heads up, when a normal volcano erupts, it typically isn’t a big deal if you’re more than a few miles away from it. However, if the Yellowstone Caldera starts playing games, 2/3 of the United States will be covered in ash.
Although earthquakes haven’t taken any toll lately in the U.S., they have in other countries.
Maybe a big one will hit or maybe you’ll just happen to be travelling to abroad and find yourself trapped in a building that’s about to collapse. Either way, your odds of survival increase if you you know exactly what to do.
Although Sandy and Katrina left enough victims to compel us to better prepare, it’s still left to each and every one of us to do so, instead of waiting for outside help. I wrote about hurricane preparedness here.
It only takes a few minutes of hail to destroy your car, your motorcycle, or all your crops. And if you happen to be caught outside, well, you better take cover.
You probably experience hail every year and may think it’s not a big deal. Most hail isn’t but if you wake up to hailstones the size of golf balls, it’s a different story.
Let me guess, you’re either in the tornado area and know what to do or you’ve never seen a tornado in your entire life and couldn’t care less about them.
Either way, you have to know the basics. You never know when you’ll be face to face with a tornado while travelling.
Flash floods can occur in the aftermath of hurricanes, thunderstorms, heavy rain, and snow that starts melting after a rapid rise in temperature. They can wipe out your house faster than you can get to your bug-out bag.
That’s why having a bug out bag in your car, a bug-out location, and an alternative bug-out vehicle such as an inflatable canoe will help. Flash floods almost always dictate bugging out.
Also, don’t forget that inside cities, some of the water will also come from the sewers.
A heat wave such as the one from 1936, the biggest one ever recorded, may not be your top priority right now.
Keep in mind that the one from 2013 had temperatures of up to 26 F (or 15 C) higher than normal, and in some areas, it lasted for an entire week.
Cold waves are, as you might expect, weather phenomenons where the air cools off significantly and can pose serious problems such as hypothermia. By definition, a cold wave appears when there’s a drop of at least 8F (or 18C) compared to the average temperature for that point in time.
You need warm clothes, an properly isolated home, alternative heating methods, and you need to stay inside until the whole things is over. Common sense stuff.
Being trapped in a snowstorm is hell on earth if you’re inside your car and unable to get home.
You need to use your fuel sparingly to keep yourself warm, you need to make sure the exhaust doesn’t have snow on it, you may even have to melt snow to keep yourself hydrated! A solid car bug-out bag is a must if you want to survive until help arrives.
I strongly advise against venturing outside to seek help on your own. It’s much better to be prepared in advance to just wait until the whole thing passes than to get lost out there and risk certain hypothermia.
Mud Flows and Landslides
While not as quick as a flash flood, make no mistake about it, mud flows can wipe out everything in their path, including houses.
Probably the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to never build or buy a house where there’s a history of landslides, in areas where trees have been logged excessively, too close to a river, and so on.
If you’re looking to do what a lot of preppers are doing, and move away from city and into the heart of the nature, due diligence is needed to find out if there are any natural disasters (or potential man-made disasters) that could affect you at some point.
Although tsunamis have been predicted in California and Oregon for a long time, the last big one was in 1964, when 11 people were killed.
Nevertheless, you should always be on alert when on the beach and be ready to run to high ground in a moment’s notice.
There were actually some people in the Indonesian tsunami that just stood there and watched as the water withdrew from them, not realizing what was happening.
Also, if you live or are going on vacation near the Great Lakes, know that there too you can experience tsunami-like waves that are called “seiches”.
These are usually no more than a couple of feet tall. That may not mean much but if you happen to be on the lake on a small boat then it will matter.
Preppers living in the wilderness have their challenges, too. There are around 50,000 wildfires in the US every year so if you live near a forest and you haven’t given them much thought, it’s probably time.
There are three basic scenarios you will face. One, you only have time to run. Two, you have time to prepare your house and then run.
Three, stay and fight to keep the fire away, possibly with the help of your neighbors and the fire marshals. The more prepared you are in advance, the better your odds will be.
However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your life comes first. Don’t risk it by trying to save your valuables, your pets, or your livestock animals.
Plan ahead to minimize the damage should a wildfire come near your house, have an evacuation plan so you can get the heck out of there at a moment’s notice.
It’s no secret that California is looking at a mega-drought and that people are cutting back on water regardless of whether they live in the north or south.
Probably the best thing you can do if you live there is to simply move out of the way of the impending mega-drought. Here’s an eye-opening article on bbc.com that better explains the situation.
Moving up slope and letting go of heavy equipment except for your airbag backpack are just a few of the things you can do to stay alive in an avalanche. Just keep in mind that, in a lot of cases, it could be you who is responsible for the avalanche in the first place.
Last but not least, if you do get caught in one, you need to use your hands and feet to stay “afloat” and avoid being buried under all that snow. There’s more to it and I’ll update this text when my winter survival article is ready.
After most SHTF scenarios, the transportation system will be frozen, causing supermarket shelves to become empty within about 24 hours, tops.
You need a food stockpile and you need a way to hunt, fish or grow your own food. You also need to keep everything a secret to avoid being slaughtered by others around you who’ll do anything to fill their bellies.
Other Critical Events
Electric Shocks and Electrocutions
Not really a threat to America but a threat to your or your children. I got my first electric shock when I was about 5 years old – that’s when I started respecting electricity and what it can do to the human body when misused.