First of all, it’s essential to understand what you are preparing for.
For example, are you preparing for natural disasters, accidents, political unrest, economic collapse, personal injury, or something else?
After you have decided what you are preparing for, you need to create a plan of what you will do if this were to happen.
Perhaps the most important aspect of all of this is preparation for self-protection.
Of course, you will want to have the means to prevent violent acts if necessary, which means you may need to have a firearm, but you will want to have other resources for defense as well.
Most people do this
Many folks who first start preparing themselves for emergencies seem to make the same mistake many of us do.
That is, buying gear and supplies, really anything that has the word survival stamped on the label, thinking they’re preparing themselves simply because they’re taking action.
I know I did this so many years ago to some extent, but it’s wrong and a waste of your time and money.
Others begin to think more strategically and stockpile food, water, and other supplies, or maybe even start their bug-out plans because they feel they MUST be ready to evacuate during a disaster.
These are good and necessary actions but still not where YOU should start.
Understand natural disasters
What I really want you to do right now is to understand precisely which disasters you and your family are susceptible to where you live.
This seems straightforward.
After all, earthquakes are in California, hurricanes strike the Gulf Coast, northern states dodge Old Man Winter regularly, and they don’t call parts of the Midwest tornado alley for no reason.
But these are the easy disasters to realize you should prepare for.
Folks are often surprised that there are many more disasters they should be aware of (and prepared for) specific to where they live.
For example, where I live in the Pacific Northwest, we understand that wildfires could be a concern since trees surround us.
People here are only now beginning to realize that we’re due for a major earthquake called a Cascadia event (here’s a good article on the topic if interested) which would strike Seattle and Portland and surrounding areas.
Fewer people realize that this very same megaquake could bring coastal flooding, tsunami waves, and even wildfires which would utterly devastate whatever is left standing, particularly areas near the Puget Sound where I live.
Other disasters that could affect the Pacific Northwest include landslides (we’ve had a few in recent years) and winter storms (these will be worse in some locations).
Heatwaves also (many people don’t have air conditioning here), and even volcanoes could drastically affect us (the Mount Saint Helen’s eruption is a good example).
The point is this: there’s a lot more that can hit us than many people here realize, and, as such, you can’t just focus on the one obvious disaster while ignoring the others.
Granted, preparing for one type of disaster often helps prepare for others, though different actions usually need to be taken depending on what disaster you’re responding to.
That said, it would be less than productive to attempt to prepare for every possible disaster as the list would be long indeed.
So instead, I want you to focus on the top 3-5 disasters which could affect you where you live.
Top three disasters
My top three would be wildfires, earthquakes, and flooding of all sorts since I live near Puget Sound.
If I were to extend my list to five disasters, I would also include volcanoes as there are at least a dozen potentially active ones here and the consequences of a severe winter storm.
Heatwaves are only a concern for me in not having enough water since it can go weeks without rain during the summertime here in Seattle, if you believe that.
Notice that I didn’t include a power outage that is the most likely disaster you and I will probably face day-to-day.
I purposely ignored them as they’ll be covered later.
For now, I want you to focus solely on natural disasters.
Now, the question for you is: which disasters might befall you where you live?
Go research it, write down your top 3-5 and begin to think about what you’ll need to do to deal with them.
Specifically, will you shelter in place, or will you evacuate?
For example, will you evacuate before a hurricane, shelter in place for winter storms, or will your response vary depending on the disaster that hits?
What actions can you take to mitigate damage (e.g., bracing top-heaving objects and securing large appliances for earthquakes) or lessen the impact?
What might need to be done or who needs to be called–to recover after a disaster?
That is, you might call fire restoration services after a house fire or a tree removal service after a hurricane.
This is where you start from the beginning.
To sum it up
Taking the time to prepare for emergencies is an essential part of any survival plan.
For this reason, it is vital to make sure you understand how long it will likely take for outside help to arrive when you are in an emergency.
The faster you can get help when you need it, the better your chances of coming out of the situation alive.