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Here are five disasters that are most likely to happen to you.

Please note that The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) isn't on the list.  In fact, it didn't even crack the top twenty so those Rambos who think that survivalists/preparedness is all about running through the woods in their Ghillie suits with bandoliers of ammo and their assault AKs will be sadly unprepared for real disasters.

1. A financial crisis.  Your furnace dies in the middle of winter, your hot water heater floods your laundry room, your car's head gasket blows at a most inopportune moment (or any moment since any time would be inopportune), your kid forgets to tie his shoelaces and ends up breaking both arms in a bicycle accident (my son....), etc.  You need to: have an emergency fund.

2. A personal crisis.  A death, a divorce, a job loss, an extended illness, a robbery... you get the idea.  You need to: have an emergency fund AND have all of your ducks in a row (have a Will, Medical Power of Attorney, an updated home inventory, a stocked food pantry, various insurance coverages, etc).

3. A winter storm.  It isn't if but when a major storm will hit your area, and it will probably include massive snowfall, a massive wind event, massive flooding, or widespread ice.  Generally no matter where you live, a storm will come up, almost like clockwork, and leave you without power, without access to food and/or water, and/or with the contents of the first floor of your home floating away.  You need to: have an emergency fund, and all of your ducks in a row, and have an evacuation plan and/or a shelter-in-place plan with secondary options for heating and cooking and saving your valuable, etc.

4. A local hazard will hit your area.  Again, it isn't if but when a disaster common to your area will strike. This could mean an earthquake on the west coast of the US, a tornado in the midwestern portion of the US, or a hurricane on the south/southeastern coast of the US.  You need to: find out what type of major disaster is common to your area and plan ahead.  Besides having an emergency fund and all of your ducks in a row and having both an evacuation and a shelter-in-place plan, you should also do the following: if you live on the west coast tie everything down including your home's frame to the foundation and your water heater to the wall.  If you live in tornado country you need to have a basement or a below ground storm shelter and a weather radio.  If you live in an area that floods have a boat and a way to quickly get your belongings to higher ground, and if you live in a place where hurricanes are common, know when to evacuate and have plywood and nails on hand for boarding up your house...and sandbags too. If you live in an earthquake zone, make sure your door frames are sturdy, have an escape plan or know where you could hunker that provides the best space that would keep you from being crushed. And other things.  Find out what works in your area.  Talk to neighbors who have lived through the local disasters and ask what worked for them.

5. An auto accident. Even the most careful driver is at the mercy of other drivers and their skills. No matter how careful you are, someone will run a traffic light or shoot out from a side street and T-bone you as you drive through a green light.  Someone will tailgate you so closely that when you brake hard for that ball bouncing into the street followed by the child chasing it they will smash into you. Or you'll be sitting still at a red light and they'll plain not see you or the light and smash the back end of your car. Maybe there's ice on the road, and you'll slide helplessly into the parked car at the curb. Maybe you run over a caltrop (not necessarily a real caltrop, but something that catastrophically punctures your car tire - a large nail from a near by construction site will do it). You need to:  have good auto insurance, a valid driver's license, a validly tagged car, a first aid kit, blankets (even if it's warm outside, the shock will drop your body temperature - a blanket will feel good, plus it provides psychological comfort), a road signal kit to signal other drivers so they don't smash into you, a tire changing kit, emergency auto tool kit.

Ramboing it won't help you in any of the above scenarios, and these are the ones you will mostly likely encounter and need most to be prepared for.

Something totally unforeseen will happen.  Although random disasters make the news and the newscasters make it worse and do their best to scare people, they are exceedingly unlikely to occur (nevertheless they do happen on occasion).  You need to: do the general things that will have a positive impact on the likelihood of surviving a random disaster--be in good physical shape, have a daily carry bag with you full of useful stuff, have a range of survival skills pertinent to your local area and situation that you practice regularly, have useful hobbies that could help you in a disaster, give some thought to the worst case scenarios wherever you happen to be and consider logical ways to survive such disasters, etc.

Once you have your plans in place, practice them once in a while, and then enjoy life.  There's nothing so comforting as knowing you are ready if something bad pops up when you're out having fun and living life.

Originally posted to Practical Survivalism and Sustainable Living on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:34 AM PST.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse.

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